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Enthusiasm Paperback – September 6, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142409359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142409350
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Best friends Julia and Ashleigh, both avid Jane Austen fans, are looking for a little romance, but Julias approach is much more conservative than Ashleighs. Ashleighs latest craze involves crashing the fall dance at the local boys prep school in search of men and, perhaps, her Mr. Darcy. Julia, whos 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. "There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast. I speak from bitter experience." So begins the wry, engaging narrative in which Julie relates the trials and rewards of her firm friendship with Ashleigh, an enthusiast. Since elementary school, Ashleigh has taken up one craze after another, from military strategy to ballet, from Harriet the Spy to King Arthur, and dragged her best friend along for companionship. But when Ashleigh begins sophomore year speaking Jane Austen's prose and crashing an exclusive prep school's cotillion to dance the Founder's Quadrille, she commits a double fault: she takes ownership of Julie's favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, and she sets her determined sights on the boy Julie secretly adores. Shulman captures the agony and the irony of Julie's struggles to find her own way as she navigates the conventions of a culture that, for all its twenty-first-century trappings, still leaves young women hoping that the young men of their dreams will recognize and return their unspoken affections. While familiarity with Austen's world through her books or, more likely, the movie renditions will deepen readers' appreciation for Shulman's impressive first novel, it is by no means a prerequisite to enjoying this involving and often amusing narrative of friendship, courtship, and (of course) true love. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It is a clean, sweet story that I would recommend for pre-teen girls and up.
Cindy K. Green
The main character was also very likable and different from the general main character-she's thoughtful and seems to value friendship.
M. Waickman
As a Jane Austen fan, I was pleased by the author's homage to Pride and Prejudice.
C. Phillips

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What can you do when your best friend is the most enthusiastic, passionate person you know?

Shake your head, laugh, and run right alongside her as she scurries from one new passion to another.

Ashleigh is an utterly exhuberant sophomore who grabs onto a new interest every few weeks and throws herself into it head-first. Julie, her best friend and next-door neighbor since childhood, has supported and weathered through all of Ashleigh's phases. She is six inches taller and much quieter than her friend, preferring a good book to an escapade.

One day, Ashleigh finally reads one of Julie's favorite books, Pride and Prejudice. Suddenly, Ashleigh decides that life would be grand if it were more like Austen's works. She dons long skirts, uses Victorian phrases, and plans to crash a formal dance at an all-boys school. She talks Julie into coming along with her, though they do not have tickets nor formal invitations.

As luck would have it, a Mysterious Stranger - the cute boy Julie has seen in town half a dozen times but never really spoken to - happens to be there. His name is Parr, and he is quite the gentleman. By the end of the night, Ashleigh is smitten with Parr. Ever the selfless one, Julie doesn't tell her best friend that she likes Parr too. When Ashleigh and Julie get involved in a contemporary musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Parr's school, things get even more complicated - and funny, and fun.

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman is, in a word, adorable. This is a sweet story about friendship, families, and following your heart. The characters are good kids, and you'll root for them. The story is good, clean fun, with a touch of its own slang (ie "ig" or "igsome" for someone or something the girls don't find appealing).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary Dickens on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Polly Shulman's Enthusiasm is an absolutely fabulous book. It is so wonderfully written; it is surprising that this is her first book. Shulman ties in classic literature (such as Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet) with great skill and in a way that does them justice. It is the little details of the plot that make it so you just cannot put it down. Shulman ties them all together in a very Dickensian manner; they are all relevant in the end which makes the moment of realization extremely enjoyable.

Perhaps one of the things I liked the most about the book was the fact that the young females of the book were quite intelligent and sensible. I have found that in most literature for this age group, the author is compelled to make protagonist a total fool that doesn't know what is what, merely to create drama. Shulman does not have to stoop to that low to make the book interesting. She keeps the story upbeat without sacrificing reality.

This book will have you jumping with excitement and delight.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Julie's best friend Ashleigh is an enthusiast who jumps from one craze to the next, immersing herself and those around her into her latest obsession. One summer it was reptiles, another year it was King Arthur. Julie has always followed Ashleigh's crazes, but when Ashleigh reads PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and is determined to model their lives after the novels of Jane Austen, Julie isn't sure she wants to encourage her best friend in her latest enthusiasm. Not only does Ashleigh refuse to wear anything but long skirts and ballet slippers, she insists they must find love interests by crashing the fall formal dance at a nearby private boys school.

Ashleigh's enthusiasm leads the two girls from one hilarious adventure to another. Convincingly narrated by Julie, ENTHUSIASM takes PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as only one of its literary themes. It is modeled less after any specific Austen book or Shakespearean plot than it is the classic themes of mixed identities, secret crushes, and keen social observation.

The book is deliciously light without being trite, and (biggest surprise of all) it actually had some decent poetry in it, including one fabulous acrostic poem around which much of the narrative centers. Touches of poetry appear throughout, including a hilarious first conversation between Julie and her love interest, modeled on the sonnet dialogue that accompanies first meetings in Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET.

In many ways the book shares more parallels with Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY than it does PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Julie plays the pragmatic Eleanor Dashwood to Ashleigh's more emotional Marianne. Like Eleanor Dashwood, Julie hides her true feelings for fear of hurting a friend. Her love interest is more like Mr. Ferrars than Mr.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ashleigh is what you would call an "enthusiast." So when she discovers Jane Austen's pride and joy, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, she becomes a little too wrapped up in the whole idea of finding the perfect someone. Julie, Ashleigh's best friend - and more conservative acquaintance - who just happens to have read "Pride and Prejudice" first, tries to calm her friend down, but when you're dealing with someone as enthusiastic as Ashleigh, that can be a little bit difficult. After all, Ashleigh becomes fascinated with a new craze almost as often as she changes her underwear. Sadly, it doesn't look like she'll be forgetting about this one anytime soon. It's bad enough that Julie must suffer the constant "Miss" and "Sirs" that have suddenly become a large part of Ashleigh's vocabulary, but now Ashleigh is running around in floor-length skirts, and trying to learn to dance like they did during the eighteenth century. As difficult as it is to accept all of this, Julie does what she can. But when Ashleigh decides that it's time for the two of them to find their very own Mr. Darcy, Julie puts her foot down. At least for a minute. Now the two girls are crashing a boys' prep school dance, and facing disastrous results. However, when things turn out better than expected, the two friends are left with two new pals - who just happen to be extremely cute guys. The problem? Ashleigh is crushing on the guy who Julie has liked - secretly - for months, and neither girl can figure out which one of them he likes better. Now, with a little help from Miss Austen, the two girls must try to crack the boy code, and see whether true love potential is lurking just around the corner for one - or both - of them.Read more ›
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