Reviewed by Mary Johnson (age 14) for Reader Views (4/08)
Cinderella meets Jane Austen. Young Julie Lefkowitz has an enthusiastic friend (Ashleigh Rossi) who jumps from one craze to the next. And this time it’s something Julie likes too: Pride and Prejudice. But as usual Ashleigh takes it to a whole new level. Wearing an old dress and talking as though she just popped out of a Jane Austen novel, Ashleigh convinces Julie to crash a party at an all–boys’ prep school in search of heroes. But, as in all great plans, there are also problems–especially when both girls fall for the same guy, young and handsome Grandison Parr. In the end Julie has to choose between love and loyalty in this comical book titled “Enthusiasm.”
Polly Shulman is a very impressive author. The storyline and characters for “Enthusiasm” are excellent. I will admit I would normally not read a book such as “Enthusiasm.” But, “Enthusiasm” is a book that has a sort of comedic lilt to it that everyone will love. I also am impressed the way Polly Shulman presents the characters in “Enthusiasm.” Every character kind of has his, or her, own back story. I am now very interested in seeing what else will come from this inventive author.
I think this book is definitely for any reader 14-years or older, especially if you like a romantic comedy. But it might be more so for girls. It will even teach kids about being loyal to your friends; know matter how crazy their schemes are. After you start reading “Enthusiasm,” you will soon realize why it is called “Enthusiasm.” What I like is that it also has an ulterior motive– it can also be used for an exercise in reading comprehension because there are discussion questions in the back of the book.
I personally like “Enthusiasm”–it kind of has a twist on “Cinderella Story” (Hilary Duff), without the whole lose your cell phone thing. I don’t want to copy anybody but I think School Library Journal’s quote “A charming romantic comedy!” fits “Enthusiasm” perfectly, without overdoing it. I think what sets “Enthusiasm” apart from other books is that it kind of takes a bit of Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice” and mixes it up with a kind of comedic fairytale. But, of course, it adds a 15-year-old enthusiast to top it off.
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