Have you ever read a book that made you wonder if the author got into your head, somehow exposing your wishes and worries? That's how I felt Sunday night as I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing Prep in only the third sitting.
Prep follows Lee, a girl from the midwest, through her high school years at a boarding school on the East Coast. While Lee is a scholarship student, most of her feelings of isolation originate from her fear that she can't fit in. Lee's journey through school reminded me a lot of my high school and college experiences--the great friends I made, sometimes lost and sometimes kept; the wonderful roommates I had; and the fear I often had that everyone was watching me.
I grimaced when Lee pushed away the object of her affections, settling for a private affair rather than the possibility of a relationship. I gasped when I saw heartbreak on her horizon and wanted to stop her when she pushed him away again. I know how rare second chances are. But don't think that this book is about romance--it is about growing up, knowing your place, and finding out you didn't know your place at all. We all see skewed reflections of ourselves in the funhouse mirrors of adolescence.
After I finished the book, I laid in bed exhausted but held my eyes wide open. The dim shadows of my bedroom were the only thing keeping me from closing my eyes and waking in Lee's life or even worse, waking up back in my teenage years. As I lay there, I knew that reading a book that touched me so personally should have taught me something. More powerfully I realized that the lessons Lee learned as the book ended whispered of epiphanies I've had in my life and lessons I still struggle to hold onto.