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Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Literary fiction

Prep

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Curtis Sittenfeld, on your first book!

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Quick take

An angsty, anxious coming-of-age story that reveals the scandalous lives of elite boarding school students.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen

    Teens

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog

    Underdog

Synopsis

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.

Ultimately, Lee’s experiences–complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.

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Member thoughts

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All (738)
Love (234)
Like (365)
Dislike (139)
749 ratings
  • 31% Love
  • 49% Like
  • 19% Dislike
  • Saint George, UT

    There is just something about Curtis Sittenfeld’s writing that pulls me and makes me feel like I’m sitting in a cozy library. Generally, I find her characters a bit unlikable and a lot fascinating.

  • Magnolia, DE

    Have you ever looked at a book cover after you’ve finished reading the thing and thought it didn’t capture the essence of the book at all? That’s what I feel when I see this cover. A great read.

  • New York, NY

    Anyone who had an adolescent fascination with boarding school, will love this book--and feel grateful they never went! Really sharp insight and observations about class and adolescence.

  • Elmhurst, IL

    Prep is truly what I think of as an all-time great coming of age story. I found Lee's journey thought-provoking and important. It speaks to privilege, being an outsider, and growing up.

  • Hendersonville, NC

    This book resonated with me on many levels and reminded me of the struggle of growing up. The confusion, friendships, love, and heartbreak spoke to my heart.

  • Hagerstown , MD

    I’ve never attended a prep school, yet so much of this book was relatable and resonated with me. I will be thinking of this book for years to come.

  • Norman, OK

    Don’t remember specifics, but I remember really liking it, and it’s caused me to remember the author and read her other work.

  • Mebane, NC

    This book is a perfect ‘young adult’ read. One of my quickest reads, I couldn’t put it down.

  • Mckinney, TX

    This started my love of all things Curtis S. I love her voice and her style. She is so relatable.

  • Carmel, IN

    I love the main character. A long read, but one of my Favs this year!

  • Memphis, TN

    Amazing story. Made me feel that teenage angst.

  • Edmonds, WA

    Such a wonderful look at coming of age!

  • Brier, WA

    One of my favorite books of all time!

  • port washington, NY

    My favorite book of all time.

  • Munising , MI

    Great Book!

  • Cary, NC

  • Takoma Park, MD

  • Steamboat Springs, CO

  • Chicago, IL

  • Briarcliff, NY

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