Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm

4.2 55
by Polly Shulman
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"When someone asks for a reading suggestion, Enthusiasm is the first word off my tongue." --Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight

"There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast."
Julie knows from bitter experience: her best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast.…  See more details below

Overview

"When someone asks for a reading suggestion, Enthusiasm is the first word off my tongue." --Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight

"There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast."
Julie knows from bitter experience: her best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast. Ashleigh's current fancy is also Julie's own passion, Pride and Prejudice, and the heroine's quest for True Love. And so Julie finds herself swept along with Ashleigh, dressed in vintage frocks and sneaking into a dance at the local all-boys' prep school. There they discover several likely candidates for True Love, including the handsome and sensitive Parr. And Julie begins to wonder if maybe this obsession of Ashleigh's isn't so bad after all. . . .

Fans of Jane Austen and Meg Cabot, and Maureen Johnson alike will swoon for Polly Shulman's charming novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite the fact that Julie Lefkowitz is often exasperated by her best friend Ashleigh, "an Enthusiast," the 15-year-old loyally tolerates and often takes part in Ashleigh's various crazes. Ashleigh's current interest is the book Pride and Prejudice, and her latest scheme is to crash a formidable boys' school to attend a dance and find a 21st-century version of Mr. Darcy for herself, as well as a suitable companion for Julie. Dressed in vintage gowns, the girls do manage to slip into the dance and hook up with two agreeable young gentlemen. The problem is that both girls become smitten with the same guy-the shyer, more refined of the two boys. What follows is a sequence of witty exchanges, comic errors and miscommunications that could be taken right out of a Jane Austen novel. When all four characters get cast in a play, opportunities for passionate encounters abound; love triangles emerge and eventually evolve into appropriate romantic pairings. Those familiar with Jane Austen's writing style and themes will most appreciate the many overt and subtle references to the 19th-century author. If a couple of episodes seem a little over the top (as when Parr-allegedly-gets locked out of campus and climbs through Julie's window to share her bed for the night), readers caught up in this debut novel's romantic whimsy and humor will willingly suspend their disbelief. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Julie and Ashleigh are best friends and near opposites. While Julie is quiet and bookish, Ashleigh is excitable, and in the words of Julie, an "Enthusiast." Ashleigh bounces from obsession to obsession-for books, music groups, and fashions-while Julie is content to watch from the sidelines. When Ashleigh becomes preoccupied with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, she engineers a plan to infiltrate the local boys' prep school's fall formal dance, where she is certain both girls will find their own "Mr. Darcys." Equal parts romance and farce, this novel is an enjoyable read. Ashleigh is an irrepressible character and is drawn in sharp contrast to sober narrator Julie, who begins each chapter with a nineteenth-century style summary: "Chapter 7: An unglass slipper; a farewell to forefield; I eat the pancakes of anguish." Although the primary plot line follows Ashleigh's lead as she convinces Julie to sneak into the dance and audition for a play, the secondary plot is more realistic and involves Julie's relationship with her divorced parents and her father's new wife. The ultimate resolution to the girls' romantic conflicts will not be a surprise to readers familiar with the genre; however, Julie's wry voice and self-deprecating humor will make the conclusion more satisfying. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 208p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Amy S. Pattee
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Best friends Julia and Ashleigh, both avid Jane Austen fans, are looking for a little romance, but Julia's approach is much more conservative than Ashleigh's. Ashleigh's latest craze involves crashing the fall dance at the local boys' prep school in search of men and, perhaps, her Mr. Darcy. Julia, who's not sure about this idea, reluctantly goes with her. There they are befriended by two boys, one of whom happens to be the Mysterious Stranger Julia had previously spotted in the mall. The four teens establish a friendship, and, for the first time, Julia feels the crush of friendship guilt: she longs to get to know the Mysterious Stranger, but Ashleigh has proclaimed feelings for him first. This frustration is exacerbated when the girls receive parts in the boys' school play and the four see one another almost every day. Julia begins to receive small gifts and love notes, but cannot allow herself to believe they could be from the boy she wishes had sent them. Add to that another suitor for Julia and she is completely confused about love in the 10th grade. She has a cool head on her shoulders, however, and pulls through without melodrama and experiences her satisfying first (and second) kiss. A charming romantic comedy.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two best friends experience confusion in love in this nifty little spin on Pride and Prejudice. Julie can't contain the swiftly changing obsessions of Ashleigh, so she goes along with them as best friends do. Ashleigh's latest craze is Jane Austen. She decides to crash the school dance at the exclusive boy's school in town, in an effort to meet Darcy and Bingley. The scheme works, and Julie falls hard for handsome Parr. Ashleigh, meanwhile, chooses Parr as her fanciful Darcy. Julie suffers, but can't see that Parr is equally attracted to her. Comical misunderstandings ensue in this innocent who-will-wind-up-dating-whom farce. Shulman manages to lift the story above standard fare with clever plotting and quirky, often elegant writing that should please the literary crowd while keeping romance lovers engaged. Several cuts above the usual fare. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"When someone asks for a reading suggestion, Enthusiasm is the first word off my tongue." —Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga

"Enthusiasm, like Pride and Prejudice, bubbles over with romantic misunderstandings and comic confusion." —New York Times Book Review,an Editors' Choice book

"Enthusiasm has the makings of an instant classic!" —Time magazine

"A fanciful romance . . . delightfully wholesome." —Newsday

*"Wry [and] engaging . . . an impressive first novel."—Booklist, starred review

"A charming romantic comedy!"—SLJ

"Witty exchanges, comic errors and miscommunications that could be taken right out of a Jane Austen novel. Readers [will be] caught up in this debut novel's romantic whimsy and humor."—Publishers Weekly

"Equal parts romance and farce, this novel is an enjoyable read. Julie's wry voice and self-deprecating humor will make the conclusion satisfying."—VOYA

 

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101118825
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/06/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
579,405
File size:
346 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Enthusiasm


By Polly Shulman

Putnam Juvenile

ISBN: 0-399-24389-5


Chapter One

"What good is a heroine without a hero? From what I remember of freshman year, we will be hard-pressed to find even a single gallant at Byzantium High. I despair of finding a pair of them there! But fortunately, I have discovered the answer."

Clearly Ashleigh had finished the research portion of her fad and moved on to the active stage. Now that she had decided to enact a 200-year-old love story with us as the heroines, I was afraid the results would be mortifying.

Without much hope, I tried to head her off. "I thought you despised boy-crazy girls like Michelle Jeffries and those people. You always said crushes were for noodleheads."

Ashleigh drew herself up to her full height, which I couldn't have done in her position-standing on my bed-since my head would have hit the sloping roof; her figure may be more mature than mine, but she's six inches shorter.

"I speak not of crushes, Miss Lefkowitz," she replied, "but of True Love."

True Love! What girl hasn't dreamed of that? Even the shyest among us longs for a soul mate-someone who will understand our hopes and fears, laugh at our jokes, offer us his coat when the afternoon turns cold, charm our parents, and admire us, flaws and all....

Yet if Ashleigh cherished a similar dream, I feared for her peace of mind. For is True Love likely to come to a high school sophomore who dresses in a chorus robe and ballet slippers?

"Okay, but listen, Ash," I said. "You're not planning to go to school wearing that, are you? No guy will even look at you." Me neither if they see me with you, I added inwardly. "Couldn't you please, please, please wear jeans?"

As always, my plea fell on deaf ears. "I see not the necessity of discussing with you, Miss Lefkowitz, the propriety of a young lady wearing Trousers. As you know, modesty forbids us to reveal the shape of the Lower Limbs."

If you do get a boyfriend, he's going to want to see a lot more than just the shape of your Lower Limbs, I argued silently. Fortunately, I reflected, the school year wouldn't start for another week-enough time, I hoped, to make her see reason.

"And don't you think you could call me Julie?" I continued. "We've known each other long enough, surely."

"My dearest Julia, you are right, indeed you are right. After all, in Pride and Prejudice Miss Elizabeth Bennet addresses her bosom friend, Miss Lucas, by the name of Charlotte, and they are no more affectionately attached than the two of us. But please, my dear friend, allow me to continue. As I said, I believe I have the solution to our puzzle of where to find our heroes."

"Our puzzle? It's not my puzzle," I put in.

Ashleigh shook me by the arm, letting her language slip a bit in her impatience. "Will you listen already? In Pride and Prejudice, where do the younger Bennet girls turn for lively masculine company? Why, to the regiment of soldiers quartered near their home. Were we to follow their lead, where better to seek suitors than among our neighboring young men in uniform?" ...

Forefield, an exclusive boys' prep school, rises above the town of Byzantium both geographically and socially. Its main building, once the mansion of the Forefield family, can be seen from most of the town, including my attic window. As a little girl I thought it was an enchanted castle, the home of a witch or a princess. I now considered it the home of gawky boys with crests embroidered on their blazer pockets-that is, of snobs, dorks, adders, or (most likely) snobbish, dorky adders....

"You want to crash the Snoot School Dork Dance? Are you out of your candy wrapper? What could that possibly have to do with Jane Austen?"

"Surely, Miss Lefkowitz, you can see that a gathering of young gentlemen dressed in formal attire, well practiced in time-honored dance steps, and unaccustomed to the company of young ladies-and therefore bound to treat us with modesty and respect-is the ideal place to meet our matches. Can you be blind to the perfection of the plan?"

Perfection! If the plan had any, I certainly was blind to it. In my experience, at least, boys who hadn't spent a lot of time around girls were less likely, not more, to behave themselves.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

What People are saying about this

Time Magazine
"Enthusiasm has the makings of an instant classic. "
From the Publisher
"When someone asks for a reading suggestion, Enthusiasm is the first word off my tongue." —Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga

"Enthusiasm, like Pride and Prejudice, bubbles over with romantic misunderstandings and comic confusion." —New York Times Book Review,an Editors' Choice book

"Enthusiasm has the makings of an instant classic!" —Time magazine

"A fanciful romance . . . delightfully wholesome." —Newsday

*"Wry [and] engaging . . . an impressive first novel."—Booklist, starred review

"A charming romantic comedy!"—SLJ

"Witty exchanges, comic errors and miscommunications that could be taken right out of a Jane Austen novel. Readers [will be] caught up in this debut novel's romantic whimsy and humor."—Publishers Weekly

"Equal parts romance and farce, this novel is an enjoyable read. Julie's wry voice and self-deprecating humor will make the conclusion satisfying."—VOYA

 

Read More

Meet the Author

Polly Shulman is also the author of The Grimm Legacy (a Bank Street Best Book and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Finalist) and its companion novel, The Wells Bequest. She has written for many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Discover, Newsday, Salon, Slate, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Archaeology, and The Village Voice. She has never dared to crash a dance, but when she was in high school she sometimes wrote her math homework in rhyme and meter. She majored in math at Yale and grew up in New York City, where she lives with her husband in a tall old building guarded by gargoyles.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >