This book had been on my list for a little while now and I actually ended up picking it up in a used book shop in Kenilworth just before I left university. I loved this book; it wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I really did adore it.
Prep follows Lee Fiora, from South Bend Indiana, go through all of the trials and tribulations of a big fancy boarding school, Ault. The book starts when Lee is 14 and follows through her four years at Ault. I did not register for a large chunk of the beginning of the book how young all the characters were! They all seemed so mature and developed! (Nothing to what I was like at 14 haha!)
The book is broken into the four years at the school. My only, and I mean only, criticism of the book would be that it did jump around a little bit. One moment it was Freshman fall, next thing you knew it was Sophomore spring. This did then mean that the story suddenly had progressed a lot, but that might just have been me being pedantic!
Lee is intelligent and overthinks a lot. In some ways I could see a lot of similarities between Lee and myself; I think the way she handled situations could be relatable for many people! At times she is a bit naive; other times she knows exactly what she wants. In so many ways she is a typical teenager, but other times she is so much more than that.
This was very much a coming-of-age book and explores all different themes that we all experience as teenagers. Friendships, relationships, sex, rebelling, parents. The whole lot! It is however all done through the eyes of someone that not so much involves themselves, but observes and sees everything. With Lee sometimes looking back on her life and discussing how she feels about the situation now was also a really nice touch. It gave the book that little bit more depth.
As always, I never like to give away spoilers. There are not so much plot twists here but more things that are inevitable, yet it is still really interesting to see how everything plays out. I was expecting Prep to be very much like Gossip Girl and It Girl, but this was much more about the quiter people of boarding schools, and the ones trying to make something of themselves, as opposed to the privileged students and their scandals.
Sittenfeld's writing is also extremely detailed and indepth. She has been likened to J.D.Salinger, however this is definitely not something I would agree with. (I cannot bare The Catcher in the Rye). Sittenfield's writing is much more thought out and considered with far deeper themes and wide reaching character developments. Not to mention she covers the institution of boarding schools and education within America.
I really only have praise for this book! It was so well thought out and executed that you cannot help but want to see how Lee ends up. Definitely a good Autumnal read as well!
Would you read Prep?