Prom and prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Penguin, 2011. ISBN 9780143294572.
(Age 13+) Ideal for a quick, easy read especially for those who enjoy a romance, Prom and prejudice gives Jane Austen's Pride and prejudice a modern feel. Lizzie Bennett, a musical prodigy and scholarship girl, finds the elitist attitudes of Longbourn Academy difficult to take. However she knows that she has to put up with the cruel antics of the snooty girls there in order to gain the place she wants in a prestigious university. Everyone is obsessed with the upcoming prom but Lizzie knows that she wouldn't be able to afford an expensive designer dress and shoes even if she had a partner to accompany her. Meanwhile Lizzie's friend Jane is desperate to have Charles Bingley, from the nearby Pemberley Academy, as her partner. Lizzie likes Charles, but is not so impressed with his moody friend, Will Darcy, whom she believes is a snob. There is however a spark of attraction!
I felt very familiar with the story having read Austen's wonderful original and watched many film and television adaptations. I really enjoyed the way Eulberg adapted it for a current teen audience and had fun comparing the original scenarios with hers. Of course, there is only one outcome for Austen's heroines and that is marriage. This is a far cry from having a partner for a prom. In the original, Elizabeth Bennett's birth and social class is not high enough for Darcy, whereas not having enough money is the stumbling block for Lizzie in today's world. Darcy is still the brooding, gorgeous hero who manages to rescue his friends from disaster. Lydia is just as embarrassing to her sister Jane in the 21st century as she was in the 19th while Charlotte is content to have the boring Collins as a partner as long as she goes to the prom. Wickham continues to ply his wicked wiles with Georgina and Lydia, lying to get what he wants.
The novel examines today's emphasis on wealth and material goods and having the right connections. It also looks at the importance of getting to know people and their motivations before making judgments.
I really enjoyed this engaging romp, which is sure to be popular with girls, who may go on to read the much more demanding original.