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Publisher's Summary

This New York Times best-seller is a funny and poignant coming-of-age story, a dead-on examination of adolescent angst, and a sharp criticism of America’s social structure.

Fourteen-year-old Lee Fiora enrolls at the prestigious Ault School of Massachusetts and is surrounded by beautiful, wealthy students. She immediately feels like an outsider, but manages to carve out a niche for herself. Then everything falls apart when Lee’s private thoughts become public information.

©2005 Curtis Sittenfeld (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Sittenfeld, who won Seventeen's fiction contest at 16, proves herself a natural in this poignant, truthful book." (Publishers Weekly)
“Curtis Sittenfeld is a young writer with a crazy amount of talent. Her sharp and economical prose reminds us of Joan Didion and Tobias Wolff. Like them, she has a sly and potent wit, which cuts unexpectedly–but often–through the placid surface of her prose. Her voice is strong and clear, her moral compass steady; I’d believe anything she told me.” (Dave Eggers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    97
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    150
  • 3 Stars
    105
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    24
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    19

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    130
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    116
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    56
  • 2 Stars
    10
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    6

Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    79
  • 4 Stars
    112
  • 3 Stars
    79
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    28
  • 1 Stars
    23
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Easy & Enjoyable Listen

I look for four stars or more from fellow listeners and the longest read (good bang for my buck). The formula is usually successful, but not fail proof. This book was a good choice for easy listening. It is an introvert's experience (stream of consciouness) through four years of prep school. There are no twists or turns. It's not a thriller, feel good book, or must read. Still, I found myself relating to parts and caring a lot about, Lee, the girl in the story. It was good company. If all my Audible choices proved to be as entertaining, I'd be content.

I like to mix up my listening: historical fiction, light weight "slice of life" stories, and occasionally a classic. I listen for entertaining companionship while housekeeping, doing hair/makeup again (every freaking day of my life) and driving long distances alone. I don't care for fantasy, vampires, or creates from an imaginary world. Murder mysteries don't do it for me either. I'd rather listen to a fictional story about real life possibility. I also read non-fiction books, which are better absorbed visually at my own pace, not audibly.

I have been an audible member since 2003. I just started to write my opinions immediately after listening because I rely so much on other members when making my choices. I hope this helps you.


13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Daisy
  • VINALHAVEN, MAINE, United States
  • 03-09-12

So so

Would you try another book from Curtis Sittenfeld and/or Julie Dretzin?

I thought Julie Dretzin did a great job as the narrator.

Would you recommend Prep to your friends? Why or why not?

Not sure I would recommend to my friends because although a lot of it rang true, the main character was just so self obsessed that it got a little bit old.

What about Julie Dretzin’s performance did you like?

I thought she was good at doing all the characters voices.

Could you see Prep being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I don't know that I can see this as a movie maybe a TV series but there wasn't enough of a plot to make it into a movie, although as I listened imagined the Sugerman character to be a Ryan Gosling type guy. I bet he'd make a good Sugerman. The rest of the characters didn't have a strong enough image in my head to image who would be good portraying them in a movie.

Any additional comments?

I usually like to listen to long books but I got a little annoyed this one with because of the self obsession of the main character. I suppose most high school kids are still uncomfortable with themselves and awkward but the main character was sooooo concerned about how she appeared to everyone at the prep school that I began to feel less sympathy for her and more like she was so self conscious that she was vain.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rachel
  • Atascadero, CA, United States
  • 09-24-10

Re-experience High School

Very good book! I went to boarding school in high school too, as a scholarship student--- very real! By the time you've listened to this book, you'll feel like you could call the characters up on the phone, they are people you KNOW

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Wendi
  • Houston, TX
  • 03-21-12

Sittenfeld has a way with Empathy

What did you love best about Prep?

I loved the way Sittenfeld told the story of a young girls' experience at a prep school. Her inner most thoughts are eloquently laid out for all to read. It's like we're invading on her personal space but she welcomes us in her skeleton closet with open arms and deep understanding. Her prose are so beautiful, just as they were in 'American Wife.'

What other book might you compare Prep to and why?

I would compare Prep to 'American Wife' by the same author because of her beautiful writing style and honest characters. They touched me.

Which character – as performed by Julie Dretzin – was your favorite?

The story teller is definitely the greatest character, I love the way Dretzin performs the voice innocently, and honestly. I loved her voice with all characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I really connected to this book. I too went to a prep school where I didn't really feel that I fit in with all the rich kids. She over thought everything and as she said.. the only time she felt she really fit in the school is when she was away from it.

Any additional comments?

A delightful story and a charming story teller- this is one of my favourite audiobooks!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Pathology report -social anxiety and depression

This is more or less extracts from the diary of a self conscious introvert with big self esteem issues. It doesn't go anywhere and doen't even offer any hopeful images of elite boarding schools. It is a depressing horror saved only by a level of fascinating detail (like watching a car crash) and an excellent performance.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yolkut
  • Bronx, NY, United States
  • 07-25-11

Very Disappointing!

I read Prep because I loved Sittenfeld's American Wife, but Prep was such a letdown! I figured since the author seems to have an intimate knowledge of the prep school world, she would show its seedy underbelly and maybe delve into some new territory. Instead, she stuck to a story easily told in any high school (private or public) e.g. some kids are rich and popular, some kids are not. As an extra hurdle to relate-ability , the main character has a really debilitating fear of social situations, which just hindered the story. Don't waste your time with this - stick to American Wife.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

What made the experience of listening to Prep the most enjoyable?

This book was fantastic. I'd heard about it for years and I'm so happy I purchased it. The detail the author used to describe each scene is incredible. It's the type of book that you could read and love at any age, and it means something different to you at different points in your own life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • Westminister, CA, United States
  • 06-18-12

A very good book

I enjoyed the book. I had never been to a boarding school nor was a scholarship student, but I found this to be a real likeness to what it might have been. I like to mix up my listening and this fit the bill for a light read between my more heavy reads. To me a book doesn’t have to about anything special... just like someone’s life. I loved it. Tina said she said it was not for those over 54.... well, I can say that you can be 70 and still like it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 10-08-12

Overlong Ending Creates Overwrought Tale

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

By the end of Prep, I thought, "Why am I listening to this girl tell her story? She has clearly not grown from the time she arrived to graduation. What is the moral to this story from Sittenfeld?"for the most part, Prep is what one thinks will be a coming of age story about a young girl who is ambitious enough to know to get out of her Indiana town and on to something better. But, in the end, the listener realizes she is so insular, she never unfolds from her shell. This leaves the listener unfulfilled and wishing for some hours of their life back. The long dragged out ending of the ruined what could have been salvaged from this wreckage but by the end, graduation couldn't come soon enough.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tina
  • Honokaa, HI, United States
  • 03-15-12

Juvenile, predictable and boring.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The description of this book is a bit deceiving. I am 54 years old so it may be that is was directed to a less mature audience but that should be indicated somehow in the description. I feel my time and money was wasted on this one. In fact I found it quite irritating because I kept waiting for it to get better but it never did. If you are over the age of 15 do not waste your time or money.

Has Prep turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes. First of all I should have known being written by a man and supposedly from a girls perspective.... that alone is a problem. I once was a 15 year old girl and although it was a long time ago the basic things about how young girls feel and think was really poorly represented.... and in such a bad way. The author makes young girls seem so ridiculous and simple minded and that is really not true.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Julie Dretzin?

She had a very irritating way of doing the mother voice but otherwise she was okay.

What character would you cut from Prep?

Oh so many to count. The author gave far to much useless information and detail about

Any additional comments?

The main character Lee (even that name choice was really lame) was portrayed as a boy-crazy idiot. She had the worst communication skills and it is a wonder anyone had anything to do with her as friends. I realize there are people in the world like that but they are not really fascinating individuals. I have no burning interest in them and I don't know anyone who does.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful