Prom and Prejudice: A (Valentine’s Day) Review

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

Prom is a seriously big deal at Longbourn Academy. It’s everything a girl could dream of and, after winter break, the only thing most girls can think about.

Prom is the farthest thing from Lizzie Bennet’s mind. Yes, she is single but she is definitely not a girl of high standing at Longbourn. A scholarship student, she is the subject of hazing, ridicule, and even outright hatred. All she wants is to survive by keeping up her grades and practicing her piano playing to maintain her tenuous place at Longbourn.

Lizzie tries to put on a strong face for her best friend Jane by going to parties and pretending to have a good time, but like everything else school related it usually ends in disaster. Jane is thrilled when Charles Bingley comes back from a semester abroad. And Lizzie tries to be too because Charles is really nice. But his friend Will Darcy is another story. Snobby, pretentious, and downright obnoxious–Darcy is a complete jerk to Lizzie and drives her to distraction.

Still, there’s something about him. There must be if everyone else likes him so much. But Lizzie still has her doubts. Will Lizzie’s pride and Darcy’s prejudice keep them apart forever? Or will they realize they might be a perfect match in Prom and Prejudice (2011) by Elizabeth Eulberg.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, Prom and Prejudice is a retelling and reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.

Tinkering with a classic is always risky but Eulberg makes it look easy. Prom and Prejudice delivers a charming story that manages to stand on its own while also staying true to the spirit of Austen’s much-loved original.

Narrated by Lizzie herself, Eulberg offers readers a unique view of a story they might already know as Lizzie herself tells readers everything she hates (and perhaps eventually comes to love?) about Darcy. Aside from providing a most excellent title the focus on prom updates the story while keeping all of the urgency and tension Austen herself created. (Setting the story in a boarding school also allows Lizzie to have “sisters” around without them being actually related–so clever.)

Lizzie’s breezy narration and many mishaps, not to mention her myriad misunderstandings, will draw readers in from the familiar opening line right down to the surprise ending. Eulberg creates a delightful story that is both romantic and captivating in Prom and Prejudice.

Novel Novice also has a full playlist for the book!

Possible Pairings: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Exclusive Bonus Content: First and foremost, you all must see Elizabeth Eulberg in person if you can. She is one of the funniest most charming authors I have ever seen. Hearing Eulberg reading from the book was hysterical because she did voices for all of the characters. Her editor, the inimitable David Levithan, was also his usual dynamo self at the release event I attended with my friend Nicole, the Book Bandit.

Second, I wanted to mention the cover. Some reviews have mentioned that it’s too pink or not their cup of tea. I, for one, love it. The pink of the background is actually my favorite color. I also had a prom dress almost like the one on the cover. What I really like is the person holding up the dress is ready to cut the strap. The cover is subtle–very straightforward with the prom dress but also subversive with that small gesture with the scissors. I thought it was a nice counter part to the book itself–a straightforward Jane Austen adaptation but with a clever twist. (And if you take off the dust jacket you’ll find an inlay of a silhouette of the prom dress on the cover. How cool is that?) This jacket, like many others that I praise here, was designed by Elizabeth B. Parisi (she also masterminded the covers for the Hunger Games and Green Witch books).

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