I often joke with my students that I’m really a middle school girl living in the being of a 44-year-old, bald father of three. I read way too much young adult fiction with female protagonists. They laugh, but I make a valuable point – reading is about perspective. Reading books from different narrative perspectives allows us to walk in a very different pair of shoes. Elizabeth Eulberg allowed me another walk in the shoes of a remarkable high school young woman. She first accomplished this with her debut novel Lonely Hearts Club. Prom and Prejudice avoids the sophomore jinx.
Prom and Prejudice addresses many issues that plague today’s society – prom and other school events spinning out of control, the perceptions we have of those with money and those without, and the inner confidence we all must summon when things look like they aren’t going our way. In Prom and Prejudice, Eulberg communicates all of these through Lizzie, a scholarship student at an exclusive boarding school. Lizzie is looked down upon because she doesn’t have money. Scholarship, from the perspective of the many blue bloods that inhabit the boarding school, is synonymous with “slumming it.” Lizzie views her classmates in the same way; she can’t stand their formal nature and guarded style. Therein lies the conflict. Lizzie wonders if she’ll ever be good enough to be accepted, but in reality, she doesn’t want to be accepted because she is so very different. I think you probably see where this is going, though. We aren’t all that different, although money (in this case), race, gender, and other issues tend to keep us apart.
I thoroughly enjoyed Prom and Prejudice and I look forward to more of Eulberg’s work.