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Prep

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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  57,926 ratings  ·  4,690 reviews
Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, Prep, is an insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition.

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 le
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Paperback, 420 pages
Published November 22nd 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 17th 2005)
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Popular Answered Questions
Julie high school. definite sexual content not appropriate for younger than that.
Jennifer Sieminski Yes, it was ok. This book wasn't very exciting since the main character was shy and withdrawn.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  57,926 ratings  ·  4,690 reviews


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Joe
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: PEOPLE WHO LIKE DULL MEANDERING NOVELS THAT GO NOWHERE AND ACHIEVE NOTHING.
I always say that if a writer can evoke complete hatred and dislike for their protagonist from me, then they must be a good writer (Lucinda Rosenfeld's What She Saw... comes to mind). In that regard, Curtis Sittenfeld is an excellent writer (perhaps it's a last name thing) but Prep sucks.

Two reasons why I hated Prep:
1) NOTHING happens. I don't mind episodic novels in which each chapter is a tiny event that comes together as a whole (Peter Darbyshire's Please is an excellent example of this), b
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Sarah
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well...
This book isn't getting five stars because I thought it was a literary masterpiece. It's getting them because it's the first boarding school narrative I've read (ever) that is indicative of the actual experience, or at least my actual experience. Other books (fiction) on the subject, such as Black Ice or Oh the Glory of it All, tend to stick to one of two slants: 1) the narrator is from a poor family, gets a scholarship, and his/her has a wonderful life from boarding school on, fill
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Misa
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Let me first admit that "Prep" was far from perfect. I’m not sure I could argue against many of the bad reviews. At times, I longed for the novel to hurry along. The foreshadowing was clunky. Occasionally I was so bored I wasn't sure I could get through the entire novel.

And then (heavy sigh), Sittenfeld did what I hadn’t imagined anyone could do. She made me relive the most painful experiences of high school with such honesty that it was hard to believe that she wrote the book as an
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Anna
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book makes me want to shout at its critics, "you don't have to identify with the protagonist to like the book!--identification isn't the only reason to read!". But then I want to defend it precisely because it seems so "real." I.e., I identify with it.

Now I say "defend" because the book is marketed as chick-lit (I don't care how much reputable praise you list on the back cover; when there's a pink and green belt cinching your book, you're chick-lit), and I was embarrassed to brandish it on
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Lea
Jul 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: bitter people who want company (this book is NOT for teens)
Shelves: overrated
I loathed this book, really really hated it. I kept reading, hoping for the moment when the narrator would stop complaining, stop blaming everyone else for her misery, but the moment never came. She finished high school, went on with her life, and yet KEPT COMPLAINING about boarding school. It is easy to take pot shots at New England boarding schools, and at high school in general, but this book lacks any humor and the narrator lacks any self-awareness. I don't know that I would have liked this ...more
Charity
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Again, I was shocked by the reviews after hopping on Goodreads. Only this time, I loved it and yet, there were so many haters. Can't a girl get a break? Am I forever doomed to be the outsider? Okay, a little overly dramatic, to be sure. There are MANY more who seemed to have enjoyed it than despised it, but the haters were hanging out at the top of the reviews, so that made it seem worse than the reality.

Yes, I loved Prep...shoot me. I always wanted to go to boarding school. I, in fact, used to fantasize ab
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R.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: shelved
Worst book I've read in recent memory. It inspires in me a feeling I imagine to be familiar to those who have ever seized a pitchfork or a flaming torch and set off to terrorize a neighbor.

I've never read anything with a more loathesome, spineless, vacuous, sad-sack main character. Every single time (EVERY SINGLE TIME) Lee is on the precipice of learning something or connecting to someone or growing as a human being in any conceivable way, she slumps her shoulders and sabotages herself, and we'
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Phrynne
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 4000-books
This was a huge disappointment to me. The only other book I have read by this author is Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I enjoyed that one so much I thought I was in for another treat. Sadly it was not to be.
Although the writing was beautiful and the recounting of life in a boarding school was probably fairly accurate, the main character was seriously unlikeable. And boring. And pathetic. And I could go on but I won't!
The story was totally lacking in any direction or a
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Sita
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, romance
Two stars is way to generous...

I read the entire book. Okay, so I might have skipped huge chunks of it but I read it.

The book is about a girl that goes to a boarding school, she is shy (and quite boring), the book summary explains it. i did not pick up this book because I wanted to read about 4 years of being stuck in a boarding school, that she applied to (But changed her mind).

I thought it was going to be about a girl who climbs her way up the social ladder, makes lot's of friend
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Maggie
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lee Fiora is an average, middle class girl who feels like she is meant for far greater things than her Indiana hometown. Convincing herself that trading her Midwest family in for a fancy East Coast prep school is the answer, Lee becomes a scholarship student at the wealthy and prestigious Ault School, where she quickly learns that gaining admission isn't the same as gaining acceptance. Prep chronicles Lee's four years at Ault, starting out as an insecure and lonely freshmen, leaving as a love-si ...more
Melki
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Curtis Sittenfeld popped up on my radar after I read two of her stories in The New Yorker - Gender Studies & The Prairie Wife. She's got a book of collected short stories coming out next year - too long for me to wait - so I decided to give this novel a try. I'm glad I did, though I suspect it's not for everyone.

Here we have the tale of Lee Fiora, a Midwestern girl on her own at a hoity-toity East coast prep school. Much of Lee's experiences are universal, and shared by young adults at any school - the difficulty of find
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Jill
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: Leanne
When I went to college I was shocked to meet kids who had actually attended boarding school. I had grown up on a steady diet of boarding school literature, but conceptually, it seemed so preposterous. You went to boarding school if you were European and from the 19th century, not if you were American and born in the early 90s. I befriended one girl who attended a Massachusetts boarding school as a day student. When I asked her about the experience, she shook her head and said, “Never send your k ...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

Sittenfeld impressed me with this story. I wasn’t expecting something as deep as I got from Prep--which isn’t to say I was expecting it to be frivolous, just that it’s more than meets the eye. The setting is a boarding school and all that accompanies that, but Prep isn’t about the petty and superficial drama of wealthy teen snobs. That would make it not worth reading.

Prep is told from the first-person perspective of socially anxious Lee, a lower-middle–class scholarship student attend
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Jessica
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
this book was a complicated one for me. if i could, i'd probably give it a 2 slash 3 for its rating. the best way i can describe it is this: you know when you meet someone and after talking for a little while you start to think, wow, this person is JUST like me, we're totally on the same wavelength! and then each meeting after that you continue to have the same impression UNTIL they say or do something so foreign to your personality that it makes you realize you are NOTHING alike. to the point w ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
I can't decide how I felt about this book.
In some ways I could identify with the main character. The book reminded me a bit of when I went to college in upstate NY.
But, at the same time, the main character was frustrating. She hated her school and where she was, but she didn't do anything about it. I loved my time in upstate NY. But this character was always complaining about how much she hated the school she went to and expressing frustration, but NOT TAKING ANY ACTION.
And the
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Anna
Jul 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: prep schoolers
Having attended a prep school myself, I found the descriptions of prep school logistically were fairly accurate. It was a strange flashback into life with boarding students and the activities/events that surround going to an elite private school that focuses greatly on matriculation into Ivy Leagues.
Despite the vague nostalgia that I felt at times, the protagonist was extremely hard to identify with, although she did have characteristics that could have made her more sympathetic. What I believe
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Kirk
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
I recently read this for an encyclopedia entry I was writing on post-2000 coming-of-age novels, so my assessment, I fear, isn't really fair. On the one hand, I think Sittenfeld is a very talented writer, but on the other, I kept wanting to say GTFU (you know, grow the *#^$ up), which seems very, very ungenerous of me. In the end, I can appreciate what attracted people to this book, making it a surprise success. That doesn't mean the book sticks with me or changed my life in any drastic way---and ...more
Raquel
Jun 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
You know, I started out really liking this book. I thought the writing was good, and I found myself really relating to the protagonist as I used to have many of the same tendencies (not really involving myself in things and instead just hanging out on the fringes of life). But then about halfway through, the book just turned craptastic. Of course the craptastickness involved a boy. It always does. But it just ruined the book for me. It made me just not like Lee, the main character, at all. She t ...more
Michele
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A for Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangst
Prep, a story told by the talented Curtis Sittenfeld, was hard to put down. The narrator, Lee Fiora, an unremarkable girl from South Bend, Indiana, does a remarkable thing. At 13 she decides to apply to East Coast Prep schools and winds up spending an angst-ridden four years at Ault School just outside of Boston, Mass.

("How was I supposed to understand, when I applied at the age of thirteen, that you have your whole life to leave your family?")

This is the story of EVERY/>,
...more
Meagan
Dec 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: new-england
In her ruthless efforts to make a book that depicts how prep school “really” is, Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep forgets that in order for a novel to work things must happen.
Assumedly, the book was supposed to be a coming-of-age novel wherein the fish-out-of-water protagonist Lee Fiora, learns to exceed the repressive bounds of prep school and get over her personal issues. However, this is not the case. Instead the book is horribly lopsided, Sittenfeld spends three hundred pages having the prota
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Amanda Dissinger for TeensReadToo.com

Walking through the typical young adult section of a bookstore, there are usually five, maybe even ten, books about a teenage girl, perhaps from a small town, who transfers from that wee little town to a prep school.

Typically, this prep school is in Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Typically, the girl starts out struggling, tries to fit in with the popular crowd, misses her hometown, faces many moral problems, and meets a handsome, prom
...more
Christine
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
the book that traumatized me for the weekend: Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep. Ms. Sittenfeld writes very well, maybe too well- I have to say, she did a fine job planting the image of the drama in my mind, but now it's burned too well, and since the images/ideas aren't exactly the sort I want to keep in my head, I wish I didn't have to remember it. The main character isn't my favorite person, but the reader is still compelled to understand her.

The freaky points are: a) I used to want to go
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Jenny
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
after re-reading 7.08:

Sittenfeld is a genius. The voice of Lee Fiora is so poignant and so real — she is so screwed up, but Sittenfeld shows this to us perfectly, in small bites, with a background (and the perfect characters for foils) that out her screwed-up-ness crisply and in heartbreaking detail. Lee speaks from a gorgeously flawed teenage place — somewhere intensely familiar, somewhere achingly wrong about so many things — and her foibles translate so well for me. This reread (n
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stephanie
i hated the main character after the first chapter, and really could have cared less what happened to her. i have a hard time liking books where i can't find redeeming qualities in the characters i'm supposed to care about. also, i agree with the author's parents that the last chapter should have been cut. i might have liked it better then.
Sondra
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I struggled for a few days on what to write in a review for this book. Because I came away with feeling the book was awkward, yet I liked it, but yet I did not. And so is the life of PREP...

PREP is about a young girl from the midwest who attends a fancy New England Prep school in I think the decade of the 1990s -- this by the lack of emailing, cell phones, phones in rooms etc. I don't recall the date ever being given.

Our main character is complex. And with that it was hard for me to
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Dorothy
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Every time I pick up a book, I expect to be taken on a ride. Sometimes it's a short drive into the city for dinner, consisting of laughs and entertaining conversations, leaving me full and content by the time I reach home again. Other times it's a fast-paced roller coaster, ups and downs twisting my stomach in knots, exciting me until the very last page. My favorites are road trips, the ones that take forever and a day to get through, but every adventure is new and you get to know the characters ...more
Alex
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I went to prep school. Briefly. In Massachusetts. It was a place with a chapel and a headmaster who knew everyone's names.

When I tell people that, they're like whoa, really? Because, I assume, me and the place described in this book don't seem to go together very well - which, good point, we didn't - and then they say what was it like? And I should just hand them this book and say it was like this.

It was exactly like this, down to such uncanny details that I looked it up to make
...more
David
Aug 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
On the plus side.

It's compulsively readable, even when you want to reach in and strangle the angst-ridden, preternaturally detached, protagonist.

On the minus side.

After a while, you just want to reach in and strangle the angst-ridden, preternaturally detached, protagonist.

Full disclosure: My high school years were spent at a Catholic boarding school. The first year away from home was miserable. I'm familiar with detachment as a survival mechanism, but Lee Fiora, the pro
...more
Emily
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2005
I am very pleased to report that Prep, a first novel by Curtis Sittenfeld, has finally been published. This is a book that I desperately wanted Imprint X to buy, back when I read it under its original, cleverer title (CIPHER). Nearly two years later, it was finally published in hardcover by "little Random."

The new title doesn't do the book any favors; it underlines the superficial side of the story. The novel covers Lee Fiora's high school career as a boarding student at the prestigi
...more
Dorotea
Disorganic writing, if I wanted to read about a mediocre girl I’d just look at my life.
Boarding schools are one of my favourite trope. Yet Prep was absolutely boring. I kept waiting for an interesting twist: is she gay? will she murder someone? Nothing as such happens. Actually, nothing happens. Ever. This is like the most typical high school story ever – girl has few friends except a close one, has a crush on a popular boy, feels out of place most of the time. I suppose it deserves praise for b
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
2017 Reading Chal...: Prep 1 34 May 05, 2015 10:20AM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Prep di Curtis Sittenfeld 1 9 Nov 09, 2013 04:45AM  
Comparison 1 90 Feb 20, 2012 07:16PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 9/2010: Prep: Assassin (p. 66-116) 7 28 Sep 22, 2010 10:30AM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 9/2010: Prep: Kissing and Kissing (p. 285 - 403/End) 1 31 Sep 11, 2010 02:14PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 9/2010: Prep: Spring Cleaning (p. 247-284) 1 14 Sep 10, 2010 04:23PM  

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3,761 followers
Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (due out April 2016) as well as the bestselling novels Sisterland, American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Curtis's writing has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair,Time, Slate, Glamour, and on public radio's This American Life. A graduate of Stanford University and the IFair,, ...more
“I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.” 2181 likes
“There are people we treat wrong and later we're prepared to treat other people right. Perhaps this sounds mercenary, but I feel grateful for these trial relationships, and I would like to think it all evens out - surely, unknowingly, I have served as practice for other people.” 114 likes
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