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Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Literary fiction



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_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog



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 ratings (2,031)

  • Leah R.

    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.

  • Hailey L.

    Plano, TX

    This book was really an insight into the life of someone with extreme anxiety and it resonated with me. I related to Lee a lot of the time with her overthinking. It was a great look into teen life.

  • Lina V.

    Bella Vista, AR

    I loved this book! I always found boarding schools to be fascinating, so I enjoy reading about them even as an adult. They have a secret society type feel and I love a peek behind the curtain.

  • Emily d.

    Cincinnati, OH

    I love how detailed this book was and how intimately I felt like I knew the characters at the end of this book. This book shows every angle of the beauty and awkwardness of being a teen.

  • Chloe W.

    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.