Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date: Jan. 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Lizzie Bennet is attending Longbourn Academy, a top boarding school, on scholarship. Normally, this would be a good thing...if only the scholarship kids weren't hated so much. Add on that Lizzie is also the "new" kid and her life is complete hell. While the other girls become obsessed over prom, designer dresses, and the prefect date, Lizzie tries to keep her focus on school and her part-time job. That is until Will Darcy,who has just returned from his semester abroad in London, enters her life. Handsome Darcy, who Lizzie is drawn to, until she learns he's as snobby and pretentious as the other rich kids; the ones who think her lack of money makes her beneath them. Can Lizzie look beyond a bad impression and found her perfect match? Or will her pride keep her from discovering love?
The Short of It: Very cute. Eulburg does a fantastic job of retelling a classic while adding her own twists. Adaptations can be hit or miss, but this one got it just right.
Plot: It’s no secret that I’m a Jane Austen freak, so to say I was a bit nervous picking up this one is a bit of an understatement. Surely, this could not compare to the original and leave me sorely disappointed, right? Wrong, oh so wrong. Eulburg takes the beloved favorites like Darcy, Lizzie, Bingley, and Jane and transports them into the present. Yes, there is a bit of predictability in that you know Lizzie and Darcy will end up together, but journey is not quite the same. There is definitely echoes of the original story, but Eulburg adds in her own twist and turns and slowly makes it her own.
The only thing that nagged me a bit was the prom emphasis felt a bit out of place. I know that it was the big to-do at the school, but really wasn’t for Lizzie. She was more worried about surviving the year rather than what shoes to wear. I know for some of the secondary characters the prom fueled their motivations, but it wasn’t the meat and the bone of the story. With the title, cover, and even had it opened I thought it would play out much differently than it did. Although, while misleading, I am glad that Eulburg shaped it the way she did.
Characters: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I took an instant liking to Darcy while I wanted to kick Lizzie out of a window a couple of times. Talk about your role reversals. Lizzie jumped to conclusions and was slow to forgive mistakes. I hated how she was unwilling to give Darcy a second chance even though he repeatedly tried to show he was a good guy. She refuses to drop her rich = snobby belief. I understand the girls at school, except Jane, treat her awful, but Darcy missteps are not in the same ballpark. I do like that she is big enough to admit when she is wrong though!
Now that said, Darcy is not without his faults. He does snap judge himself, but he does try to make amends even before he knows how the girls have been treating her. But don’t worry, he still kind of has that haughty I’m better than you attitude, however, his good guyness shines more often than not. Honestly, I may have loved him even more than the Darcy; perhaps because he wasn’t as priggish and I felt as if he were someone I could be friends with. I will say that he has to be my favorite character in Eulburg’s story.
Romance: As with the original, there is a lot of push and pull to the romance. Okay, mainly push. Lizzie’s first meeting with Darcy didn’t exactly go swimmingly and her distrust only grows from there. Darcy tries to show he is interested again and again, but her distrust and self-doubt get in the way. However, even during all this, you know they both really like each other. And despite it all, they really do work together and make a cute couple. I just wish they could have made it work a little sooner.
Writing: This area is pretty straightforward for me. Eulburg delivers a tightly written that delivered almost from page one. I rarely finish books in one sitting, but this was one I kept doing the “one more chapter” thing with until I was complete. The only thing that felt slightly out of place was the opening with the prom scene, but again I think that goes back to my whole prom emphasis point from earlier.
Librarian-Mode: I really do think that Pride and Prejudice/Austen lovers will enjoy this adaption, however, this would also make a good pairing with Anna and the French Kiss and Karma Club. If you want to pair it with other classic adaptations, be sure to look into Prada and Prejudice and Jane.
So, now it’s your turn…have you read Prom and Prejudice? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.