Prep: A Novel

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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 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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland.
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More by Curtis Sittenfeld

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“Every bit as smart, sensitive, funny, and genuine as her phenomenally popular novels,”* a dazzling collection from the New York Times bestselling author of Prep, American Wife, and Eligible

“I really loved all the characters in this book. They’re so complex and interesting, and in every story, you’ll find them going through these pivotal moments in their lives.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick)

A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.

Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.

With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

*Booklist (starred review) 

Praise for You Think It, I'll Say It

“[Curtis] Sittenfeld makes writing lively and diverting fiction look easy, though each deceptively simple and breezy story is masterfully paced and crafted. . . . Witty and buoyant, Sittenfeld delivers her characters to her audience with bemused perspicacity and above all affection. . . . Sittenfeld proves adept at quickly establishing characters in whom the reader feels inclined to invest immediately.”—Chicago Tribune

“Perfectly paced, witty and laced with unexpected twists: Every story here sticks its landing. . . . Whatever [Sittenfeld] writes, we’ll read it.”—People

“Razor-sharp, often hilarious . . . A witty, breezy, zeitgeist-y collection.” —USA TODAY
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK)

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Praise for Eligible

“Even the most ardent Austenite will soon find herself seduced.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Blissful . . . Sittenfeld modernizes the classic in such a stylish, witty way you’d guess even Jane Austen would be pleased.”—People (book of the week)

“[A] sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[Sittenfeld] is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity ten miles away. She’s the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened. . . . Not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted. . . . Sittenfeld writes so well—her sentences are so good and her story so satisfying. . . . As a reader, let me just say: Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition.”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review

“A clever, uproarious evolution of Austen’s story.”—The Denver Post

“If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it. . . . Sittenfeld makes an already irresistible story even more beguiling and charming.”—Elle

“A playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”—BuzzFeed

“Sittenfeld is an obvious choice to re-create Jane Austen’s comedy of manners. [She] is a master at dissecting social norms to reveal the truths of human nature underneath.”—The Millions

“A hugely entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable book, bursting with wit and charm.”—The Irish Times

“An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic.”—PopSugar
3.6
91 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jan 11, 2005
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781588364500
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK)

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Praise for Eligible

“Even the most ardent Austenite will soon find herself seduced.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Blissful . . . Sittenfeld modernizes the classic in such a stylish, witty way you’d guess even Jane Austen would be pleased.”—People (book of the week)

“[A] sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[Sittenfeld] is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity ten miles away. She’s the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened. . . . Not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted. . . . Sittenfeld writes so well—her sentences are so good and her story so satisfying. . . . As a reader, let me just say: Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition.”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review

“A clever, uproarious evolution of Austen’s story.”—The Denver Post

“If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it. . . . Sittenfeld makes an already irresistible story even more beguiling and charming.”—Elle

“A playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”—BuzzFeed

“Sittenfeld is an obvious choice to re-create Jane Austen’s comedy of manners. [She] is a master at dissecting social norms to reveal the truths of human nature underneath.”—The Millions

“A hugely entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable book, bursting with wit and charm.”—The Irish Times

“An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic.”—PopSugar
#1 New York Times bestselling author Danielle Steel follows a talented and creative woman as she launches her first television series, helping to recruit an unforgettable cast that will bring a dramatic family saga to the screen.

Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love.

Then, after a chance meeting with Zack Winter, a television producer visiting Manhattan from Los Angeles, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own indomitable grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. And when she shares her work with Zack, he is impressed and decides to make this his next big-budget project.

Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colorful world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life. A cool, competent director. An eccentric young screenwriter. A world-famous actress coping with private tragedy. A reclusive grande dame from Hollywood’s Golden Age. A sizzling starlet whose ego outstrips her abilities. L.A.’s latest “bad boy” actor, whose affairs are setting the city on fire. An unknown ingénue with outsized talent. And a rugged, legendary leading man. As secrets are shared, the cast becomes a second family for Kait. But in the midst of this charmed year, she is suddenly forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know.

The strength of women—across generations and among friends, colleagues, and family—takes center stage in this irresistible novel, as all-too-real people find the courage to persevere in life’s drama of heartbreak and joy.
Dupont University--the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition . . . Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the uppercrust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite--her roommate, Beverly, a Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennial Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus--she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives.
With his signature eye for detail, Tom Wolfe draws on extensive observation of campuses across the country to immortalize college life in the '00s. I Am Charlotte Simmons is the much-anticipated triumph of America's master chronicler.

On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek–one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie’s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?

In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry–a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland.


Praise for American Wife

“Curtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and American Wife is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined.”
–Richard Russo

“What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady’s. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable.”
–Kurt Andersen
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