After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making?
As a true Austenite, I’m always eager to get my hands on a well-written spin-off or continuation, especially of Pride and Prejudice. And it kills me to hear people say Austen is boring and irrelevant — which is why I’m so excited about Elizabeth Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice! It brings the classic story I love to a younger audience, who may or may not have any experience with Austen.
Eulberg does so many things right. First, there’s the set-up: A private, uppity all-girls school where our heroine, Lizzie, doesn’t really fit in. She keeps herself above the money and prom-centered fray by concentrating on something more meaningful: her piano career. Girl meets boy, Will Darcy, who embodies everything Lizzie dislikes about the upper crust. And yet … Eulberg and Austen show us that appearances aren’t always what they seem. In fact, they rarely are. What’s more, people are capable of change, especially when they’re just testing the waters of adulthood.
Then there are the characters. Those who have read the original Pride and Prejudice will get a huge chuckle out of Eulberg’s take on Mr. Collins, in this case, Colin Williams, who is just as hilariously irritating as his 200-year-old counterpart. Lydia is just as selfish and immature; Jane is sweet and loyal; Wick is a devious, juvy-worthy schmuck; and Catherine … well, you’ll want to throw her in front of an oncoming Hummer limousine.
Which brings us to our main characters, who are so beloved that it’s tough to recreate them and keep an audience satisfied. Not to mention bringing them into the 21st century. Here, Eulberg pulls off a coup de grace, separating her book from the pack of wannabes. Her Lizzie is just as independent, strong-willed, witty and yet loveable as the original. Will Darcy is tall, dark and moody, but devastatingly attractive — and truly melt-worthy when he becomes vulnerable. Prepare to mop yourself off the floor.
I also need to mention that there’s a twist — one that Eulberg added to the story and I totally didn’t see coming. For someone who knows Pride and Prejudice‘s plotline inside and out, this was an awesome surprise!
I tip my proverbial bonnet to Elizabeth for giving Pride and Prejudice a makeover worthy of any prom queen.