By Elizabeth Eulberg
Available now from Scholastic Point
Now available in paperback, PROM & PREJUDICE is a cute, clever update of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennet is a scholarship student at Longbourn Academy who has a disastrous first meeting with her best friend's boyfriend's best friend Will Darcy at a joint-school dance. Elizabeth Eulberg's second novel follows the original closely, but makes several wise changes. For instance, Mrs. Bennet is no longer an embarrassing matchmaking mama, but a hard-worker who made sure her daughter's talent was nurtured.
Perhaps the greatest change is that Lizzie is now a talent piano player. The musical element gives PROM & PREJUDICE its own heart. I spent my teen years in Fort Worth, home of the Cliburn. Reading the reportage in the Life & Arts section of the newspaper gave me an appreciation for piano writing.
Wisely, Eulberg does not attempt to go full vernacular. Even more wisely, she does not attempt to copy Austen's. Darcy and Colin speak the most formally, but Eulberg has enough control of the language to differentiate between Colin's pompousness and Darcy's awkwardness.
PROM & PREJUDICE won't disappoint Austen fans and will also appeal to those who find Austen too musty. (It is an unfortunate truth that that second group exists.) It won't eclipse the original, but Eulberg injects enough personality to allow PROM & PREJUDICE to stand on its own.