Prepping you for book recommendations

Published 2:03 pm Monday, January 4, 2021

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It’s been a while since I’ve made a recommendation from my personal library, but I’m back with a new read titled Prep.

The book follows a young boarding school student Lee Fiora as she navigates her way through Ault Boarding School.

Lee is not a typical student; she is from Southbend, Indiana and is there on scholarship. She struggles to fit in with the elite children whose parents range from Senators to Wall Street billionaires.

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I don’t recommend this book because the writing is particularly brilliant or the story is unlike any told before, in fact, it’s been compared to Catcher in the Rye.

But, I recommend this book because of the feelings it emits from you.

There was a time in the story where I hated Lee; she seemed self-absorbed and even rude to her parents; it was as if everyone should cater to her just because she’s different. Then I realized why I hated Lee and it’s because part of her is so similar to myself during high school.

Lee is so stuck in her head. She very rarely forms a full opinion in fear her classmates may reject her or even make fun of her thoughts.

When I was in in middle school, I thought being in the performing arts productions were very cool. I thought everyone found those kids talented and special. However, when I transferred to my new school in seventh grade, my fellow classmates referred to those kids as “losers or freaks.”

I decided against auditioning for fear of rejection and gave up that passion all together.

When it comes to her parents, Lee is one version around them and then she has an Ault version of herself. And, that’s when I knew as much as I wanted to hate her character, I related so well.

Boarding school is not college. But, in college I made every effort to fit in. I dressed a certain way; I went to parties I didn’t even really care to attend and created a version of myself I thought was very likable to all my Alabama classmates.

However, the day my parents arrived, everything would be different. I would laugh at the same old jokes; I would still annoy my sister and make of my dad for being what we consider close to deaf, although he denies it.

Lee didn’t like Ault, but she wanted to prove to her parents she was doing just fine. She wanted to prove she could make it further than Southbend. I at times did not like Alabama; there were times when I even begged to come home. However, my stubbornness refused to let me. I wanted to show everyone; I was bigger than Albany and my small high school. I could and would succeed on my own.

The most thought-provoking part of the story, though is how she internalizes and reads deeper than surface level.

Lee never sees anything at face value; nothing is ever as easy as just saying “Romeo and Juliet is my favorite of Shakespeare’s work.”

She forms the answer in her head, but auto processes that there may be a follow up question that she wants to formulate an answer to before raising her hand to the original question.

I have done that more times in my life than I can count. I have stood in my shower and played the day’s events over and over in my head, recounting what if I had said something else; would it have changed things?

I think this is why I recommend this book. It makes you take an internal look at yourself. I may have never attended a boarding school and I may never visit Southbend, but I do know that some girl, somewhere has the same thoughts she internalizes, just as I did at that age and still do sometimes.

It’s one of the New York Times bestsellers from years ago, and now I know why. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy and figuring out why too.