Sunday, 4 May 2014

Review: Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

As can be easily deduced by the title, Prom & Prejudice is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Set at an elite private school, Lizzie Bennett is a scholarship student among trust fund kids who immediately see her as an unfit 'connection' to make in their "high society." Will Darcy is exactly as Jane Austen portrays him — exceedingly wealthy, rude, full of pride, and a man with whom we could live happily ever after!

SummaryAfter winter break, the girls at the very prestigious, very wealthy, girls-only Longbourn Academy are suddenly obsessed with the prom, which they share with the nearby, equally elitist, all-boys Pemberly School. Lizzie Bennett, who attends Longbourn on scholarship, isn't exactly interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be—especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Will Darcy, Charles's friend, who's as snobby and pretentious as his friend is nice. He doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. It doesn't help that Charles doesn't seem to be asking Jane to be his prom date, or that Lizzie meets George Wickham, who tells her that Will Darcy sabotaged his scholarship at Pemberly. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk who looks down on the middle class—so imagine Lizzie's surprise when he asks her to the prom! 

Will Lizzie's prejudice and Will's pride keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? From Elizabeth Eulberg comes a very funny, completely stylish prom season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

Much like modern adaptions such as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night into She's the ManProm & Prejudice is the perfect tool not only to get young readers interested in Jane Austen, but it's an excellent way to help readers to understand the plot. With an understanding of the plot, the student can better appreciate the story and not get lost in the words. Eulberg handles Austen's masterpiece beautifully, keeping the story as close to the original as possible, but with a few decisive changes so as to make it her own.

I noticed that a lot of the characters' dialogue sounds like it's reminiscent of the regency era. However, I feel like it kept the story from being cheapened by modern slang or colloquial language. Eulberg preserves much of Austen's language and the original traits of her iconic characters. Even if the names weren't all the same, any reader could pick out who is who.

I enjoyed Prom & Prejudice more than I expected to. I picked it up because I love Elizabeth Eulberg's novels. She's an incredible writer and her books are easy to sink into on my daily commute. It got me in the mood to watch Pride & Prejudice again, so part of my weekend has been devoted to watching the BBC production, featuring a very handsome Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. The lake scene, anyone?

Teachers, if you're looking to give teen girl readers a stepping stone to understanding Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Eulberg's Prom & Prejudice is an excellent way to do just that! It's like Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen him — an odd, but undeniably effective and enjoyable combination!

For ages 13 & up.

3.5 Stars

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