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Enthusiasm
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About 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.

Reviews

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.

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.

"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

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