Prep

Prep

4.8 20
by Jake Coburn
     
 

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Nick and his friends have everything: expensive clothes, beautiful apartments, rich friends. The island of Manhattan is at their feet. But underneath this picture-perfect world of private schools and private parties lies a gang world filled with drinking, drugs, casual sex, and graffiti. And Nick wants out. He's had enough of the life, and he's in love with his

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Overview

Nick and his friends have everything: expensive clothes, beautiful apartments, rich friends. The island of Manhattan is at their feet. But underneath this picture-perfect world of private schools and private parties lies a gang world filled with drinking, drugs, casual sex, and graffiti. And Nick wants out. He's had enough of the life, and he's in love with his best friend, Kris, even though she's oblivious to his feelings. When Kris's younger brother becomes a gang target, Nick thinks he can help, even if it means putting his own life at risk.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"When you have money and everything still blows most of the time, you don't want to spend your life just making more." This sentiment drives the Manhattan private-school students in Coburn's debut novel to emulate the thuggish nihilism they see on MTV, creating tiered hierarchies of gangs, talking like rappers but wearing Rolexes and Ralph Lauren shirts. Narrator Nick, a reputedly legendary graffiti artist, has had enough of this scene and tries to get on with his life-and more specifically, to tell his best friend, Kris, that he has always loved her. Kris's drug-addled mess of a brother, Danny, runs afoul of the vicious MKII gang, and when Nick intervenes, he finds himself in the crosshairs of the MKII also. The two plot threads never quite mesh. The relationship between Nick and Kris is artfully conveyed, painful and bittersweet. But the sound bites of upscale white-kid ghetto-speak sound hollow ("That Nippon place is whack... sushi's mad dry by the time it gets here"), at times coming across as parody. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Life in the prep school is not all study and work. Instead there is another world, one of gangs and violence where parties with drugs, sex, and heavy drinking are the norm. Nick travels in this hardened world of prep school gangs and must come to terms with witnessing his friend get hurt in a brawl while he stood by and watched. Nick is also in love with Kris, who plays hot and cold with him, until she finally rescues him from police arrest after he is involved in a fight. The romance between Kris and Nick is an interesting twist as it is Kris, the female, who seems to hold the power over Nick and keeps him captive with her on again, off again interest. Profanity abounds in the novel, and although may be relevant to the character, often interferes with the reader's ability to empathize with the character and his problems in a prep school gang. Although an interesting read on a subject not often written about, prep school gangs, the book should only be considered by mature high school readers. 2003, Dutton Books, Ages 15 to 17.
— Mindy Hardwick
KLIATT
Nick attends prep school in Manhattan and comes from a wealthy family; but, like Holden Caulfield, phonies and doubts beset him, and danger lurks at every turn. The evil underbelly of the prep school world is revealed here in the "blue-blood thugs" who imitate gang culture and run tough crews wearing North Face jackets, looking for action and "street cred." Drugs, drunken hookups, house-destroying house parties and violence are all part of an evening's entertainment for them. Nick, a former "tag" (graffiti) artist who withdrew from the scene in horror when a friend was nearly killed, has tried to stay away from these gangs, but when the younger brother of the girl Nick secretly loves runs afoul of them Nick finds himself involved, "throwing down" (fighting) in self-defense in a climatic scene in a church. This first novel by a young writer is based on his own prep school experiences, and it may be a real eye-opener for some. The prep-school thugs even copy the language of gangs: for instance, "So your bitch ass thinks you can just walk away from everything?" Profanities are numerous. Readers will empathize with sensitive Nick as he makes his way through this nightmarish world of privileged punks, mourning his dead father and pining for a girl, and (one hopes) they will be shocked and disgusted by the behavior of the preppy gangs. This is a raw, convincing portrait of a disturbing and little-known subculture. KLIATT Codes: SA;Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Penguin Putnam, Dutton, 176p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This novel focuses squarely on the world of Manhattan prep-school teens with too much money, too little family, and too few morals. These young men beat and cut one another for fun, territory, or girls, and generally use violence to gain reputations, power, and control. Nick, a famous ex-tagger, is haunted by the memory of the knife that nearly killed his friend Kodak, and ignores the recruiting efforts of various gang members. He is secretly in love with his best friend, Kris. When her younger brother gets in trouble, Nick tries to intercede and is once again drawn into the gang circle, though he's not sure that he's ready to fight. Prep does an excellent job of revealing the darker side of growing up rich, including drugs, easy sex, and drinking. Coburn's brief sentences and often-raw gang slang create a cadence and reflect the movement of the novel through four suspenseful days. While some of the gang members seem to be from central casting, the main characters are exceptionally well drawn and sympathetic.-Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142403075
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/28/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
4.35(w) x 7.05(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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