Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm

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Overview

"There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast." Julie knows from bitter experience: her best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast. Ashleigh's current fancy is also Julie's own passion, Pride and Prejudice, and the heroine's quest for True Love. And so Julie finds herself swept along with Ashleigh, dressed in vintage frocks and sneaking into a dance at the local all-boys' prep school. There they discover several likely candidates for True Love, including the handsome and sensitive Parr. And Julie begins to wonder if maybe this obsession of Ashleigh's isn't so bad after all. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781428122130
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 10/30/2006
Series: The Clemency Pogue Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.50(h) x 5.00(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Polly Shulman has written about edible jellyfish, Egyptian tombs, infinity, blind dates, books, brains, centenarians, circuses, and cinematic versions of Jane Austen novels, for The New York Times, Discover, Newsday, Salon, Slate, Scientific American, Archaeology, and The Village Voice, among others. She edits news stories about fossils, meteors, the ocean, the weather, and the planets for Science magazine. She collects Victorian jewelry made of human hair, puts cayenne pepper in her chocolate cookies, and reads forgotten books with frontispieces.

She is an alumna of Hunter College High School, Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, and Yale University, where she majored in math. She has never dared to crash a dance, but in tenth grade she did write a proof for math class in the form of a sonnet. She grew up in New York City, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Nahem, and their parakeet, Olive.

Polly Shulman has written about edible jellyfish, Egyptian tombs, infinity, blind dates, books, brains, centenarians, circuses, and cinematic versions of Jane Austen novels, for The New York Times, Discover, Newsday, Salon, Slate, Scientific American, Archaeology, and The Village Voice, among others. She edits news stories about fossils, meteors, the ocean, the weather, and the planets for Science magazine. She collects Victorian jewelry made of human hair, puts cayenne pepper in her chocolate cookies, and reads forgotten books with frontispieces.

She is an alumna of Hunter College High School, Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, and Yale University, where she majored in math. She has never dared to crash a dance, but in tenth grade she did write a proof for math class in the form of a sonnet. She grew up in New York City, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Nahem, and their parakeet, Olive.

Read an Excerpt

Enthusiasm


By Polly Shulman

Putnam Juvenile

ISBN: 0-399-24389-5


Chapter One

"What good is a heroine without a hero? From what I remember of freshman year, we will be hard-pressed to find even a single gallant at Byzantium High. I despair of finding a pair of them there! But fortunately, I have discovered the answer."

Clearly Ashleigh had finished the research portion of her fad and moved on to the active stage. Now that she had decided to enact a 200-year-old love story with us as the heroines, I was afraid the results would be mortifying.

Without much hope, I tried to head her off. "I thought you despised boy-crazy girls like Michelle Jeffries and those people. You always said crushes were for noodleheads."

Ashleigh drew herself up to her full height, which I couldn't have done in her position-standing on my bed-since my head would have hit the sloping roof; her figure may be more mature than mine, but she's six inches shorter.

"I speak not of crushes, Miss Lefkowitz," she replied, "but of True Love."

True Love! What girl hasn't dreamed of that? Even the shyest among us longs for a soul mate-someone who will understand our hopes and fears, laugh at our jokes, offer us his coat when the afternoon turns cold, charm our parents, and admire us, flaws and all....

Yet if Ashleigh cherished a similar dream, I feared for her peace of mind. For is True Love likely to come to a high school sophomore who dresses in a chorus robe and ballet slippers?

"Okay, but listen, Ash," I said. "You're not planning to go to school wearing that, are you? No guy will even look at you." Me neither if they see me with you, I added inwardly. "Couldn't you please, please, please wear jeans?"

As always, my plea fell on deaf ears. "I see not the necessity of discussing with you, Miss Lefkowitz, the propriety of a young lady wearing Trousers. As you know, modesty forbids us to reveal the shape of the Lower Limbs."

If you do get a boyfriend, he's going to want to see a lot more than just the shape of your Lower Limbs, I argued silently. Fortunately, I reflected, the school year wouldn't start for another week-enough time, I hoped, to make her see reason.

"And don't you think you could call me Julie?" I continued. "We've known each other long enough, surely."

"My dearest Julia, you are right, indeed you are right. After all, in Pride and Prejudice Miss Elizabeth Bennet addresses her bosom friend, Miss Lucas, by the name of Charlotte, and they are no more affectionately attached than the two of us. But please, my dear friend, allow me to continue. As I said, I believe I have the solution to our puzzle of where to find our heroes."

"Our puzzle? It's not my puzzle," I put in.

Ashleigh shook me by the arm, letting her language slip a bit in her impatience. "Will you listen already? In Pride and Prejudice, where do the younger Bennet girls turn for lively masculine company? Why, to the regiment of soldiers quartered near their home. Were we to follow their lead, where better to seek suitors than among our neighboring young men in uniform?" ...

Forefield, an exclusive boys' prep school, rises above the town of Byzantium both geographically and socially. Its main building, once the mansion of the Forefield family, can be seen from most of the town, including my attic window. As a little girl I thought it was an enchanted castle, the home of a witch or a princess. I now considered it the home of gawky boys with crests embroidered on their blazer pockets-that is, of snobs, dorks, adders, or (most likely) snobbish, dorky adders....

"You want to crash the Snoot School Dork Dance? Are you out of your candy wrapper? What could that possibly have to do with Jane Austen?"

"Surely, Miss Lefkowitz, you can see that a gathering of young gentlemen dressed in formal attire, well practiced in time-honored dance steps, and unaccustomed to the company of young ladies-and therefore bound to treat us with modesty and respect-is the ideal place to meet our matches. Can you be blind to the perfection of the plan?"

Perfection! If the plan had any, I certainly was blind to it. In my experience, at least, boys who hadn't spent a lot of time around girls were less likely, not more, to behave themselves.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Time Magazine

"Enthusiasm has the makings of an instant classic. "

Customer Reviews

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Enthusiasm 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Julie is just an average girl, trying to lead a normal life. That¿s kind of hard, especially when her best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast. She brings Julie on a wild ride, waiting in line at 10:00am for a concert ticket when they give out tickets at midnight, wearing flower flannel nightgown to the mall, and many other absurd actions that make Julie embarrassed. There is one passion that Julie keeps to herself though; Jane Austen¿s famous love story Pride and Prejudice. However, Ashleigh¿s new obsession just happens to be Jane Austen. Since Julie is the loyal friend that she is, she somehow another found herself crashing an all-boy¿s prep school dance. Since Ashleigh believes they must dress resembling to the characters in Austin¿s book, Julie finds herself wearing high heels and a vintage frock. There, she meets her own Mr. Bingley, Grandison Parr. However, when her best friend also falls for Grandison Parr, Julie doesn¿t know what to do. Will she be willing to break her best friend¿s heart over a boy or will she have to suppress her love for Grandison forever?
This suspenseful romance is sure to grab any teenage girl¿s attention. As the phase of dating and boys comes along, most girls can probably relate to Julie¿s situation. I believe this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to induce themselves in a breathtaking romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very entergetic. There was never a dull moment! I felt like i was in the book felling thier feelings and knowing what there next move was.
Anna Pardo More than 1 year ago
I lovelove Love r These types of books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, super cute- a great light read.
taramatchi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here it goes...I probably should have given it 3 stars since it was very predicable... to the point I could have just read the first 4 chapters and predicted the end.But I gave it 4 because the book was so charming. The main character could have been modeled after me when I was in high school/college. Much of her choices mirrored mine, and I even had a mysterious stranger once upon a time. The author did a wonderful job depicting the teen angst of trying to guess if a boy li...more Here it goes...I probably should have given it 3 stars since it was very predicable... to the point I could have just read the first 4 chapters and predicted the end.But I gave it 4 because the book was so charming. The main character could have been modeled after me when I was in high school/college. Much of her choices mirrored mine, and I even had a mysterious stranger once upon a time. The author did a wonderful job depicting the teen angst of trying to guess if a boy liked you or not, and what to do if your best friend liked the same guy.Now if I was 16, it would have definitely gotten 5 stars. It was so much like "Clueless" there is even a joke about the movie's plot right in its pages. I loved "Clueless" when I was in high school.. and well I hate to admit this but I still have the DVD.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashleigh is an Enthusiast, the personality type that jumps into an interest wholeheartedly, much to her best friend Julie's embarrassment. Now, Ash is into Jane Austen. She's not just reading the books, which would suit Julie just fine as Pride and Prejudice is her favorite book. No, Ashleigh wants to dance a quadrille, wearing dresses only, and - most importantly - finding True Love. Ashleigh's plan: to infiltrate the upcoming boys' school dance to meet their very own Mr. Darcys. And of course, she's going to drag Julie along.This was a fun teen romance that could appeal to teen lovers of Austen as well as those who have never read the books (or seen the movies). While there were some nods to Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice that I picked up on, Julie and Ashleigh's story stands well on its own and doesn't need any prior familiarity with either to be enjoyed. I liked Julie as the narrator, and could relate to her love and loyalty towards Ashleigh as well as her exasperation with some of Ash's more drastic schemes. Julie's romantic troubles were believable, if somewhat predictable and quickly wrapped up, but it was a nice, quick light read that I would easily recommend.
ut.tecum.loquerer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quick fun read. The author is actually quite good at faux-Austen dialogue. The hero is a bit of a paragon, but who doesn't want that in fiction?
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book completely engrossed me. Being a Jane Austen junkie myself, I could completely sympathize with Julie when her best friend, `the enthusiast,¿ hones in on her favorite author. The characters in the book are so life-like that I found myself laughing out loud at the troubles of being a teenager.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read ENTHUSIASM shortly after its release in 2006 and, when I went searching for audiobooks for a recent roadtrip, I felt compelled to bring it along. Before I'd even finished the first disc, I remembered just how much I adore Polly Shulman's debut. I was so engrossed that I compeletely missed one of my exits and continued onward for about half an hour before I noticed. In fact, when I realized my error, I didn't even mind... it meant my trip was extended and I would have an entire extra hour before I'd have to give up ENTHUSIASM! Enthusiasts like Ashleigh are high spirited, stubborn, and, sometimes, crazed. When Ashleigh zeros in on the one thing Julie is actually passionate about, in her quiet, reverent way, she knows there's no use trying to dissuade her. Ashleigh plans on finding love. No, not just love, but true love, like Elizabeth Bennett finds in the scowling Mr. Darcy. I didn't have a friend like Ashleigh in high school, but I imagine my attitude would have been similar to Julie's. Though Julie often complains about Ashleigh's shenanigans, it's clear to the reader that she's fiercely loyal and loves Ashleigh despite her eccentricities. ENTHUSIAM celebrates a healthly relationships between best friends. Hurrah! I definitely don't take issue with the books that showcase dysfuntional friendships, but they do seem to crop up more often than than the former, so I'm always excited to find a relationship like Julie and Ashleigh's.It's difficult to discuss the romance in ENTHUSIASM with out spoilers, so I'll keep it brief. Swoon. To be back in high school experiencing my first kiss... This aspect of the novel was absolutely adorable. Julie's enthusiastic adventures are sure to keep readers (or listeners!) of all ages entertained.
laruby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A contemporary, high school version of the classic Pride and Prejudice, this book is a fun, light read. It chronicles several months in the life of Julia who goes along with the enthusiastic whims of her best friend, Ashleigh. Ashleigh's current craze is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and in this story they each set about finding their own teenage Mr. Darcy's with great enthusiasm.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up Polly Shulman's Enthusiasm on the glowing recommendation of a fellow LibraryThinger. It was touted as a fun read inspired by Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice ¿ and I guess I'm a sucker for descriptions like that. But any book that cites Pride & Prejudice as a primary influence is already set up to fail, and this is no exception.Julie's best friend, Ashleigh, is an Enthusiast. From candymaking to King Arthur to the Little House on the Prairie, Ashleigh's bursts of enthusiastic interest usually include Julie being dragged along for the ride. Which is all right, until Ashleigh becomes enthusiastic for one of Julie's enjoyments ¿ Jane Austen. Overnight Ashleigh decides to think, dress, and behave like an Austen heroine, and this of course includes attending a ball to meet young gentlemen. Julie is doubtful about Ashleigh's scheme to gate-crash a dance at a local boys' prep school, but somehow it all turns out happily and the girls find themselves striking up quite a friendship with some of the young men they meet there. Unfortunately, they fall for the same one ¿ and Julie undergoes a Fanny-Price-like martyrdom at the hands of her best friend (not that Shulman refers to anything in Austen's body of work outside of Pride & Prejudice). How will it all end??? Rather predictably, as it turns out.I didn't like the way that Jane Austen is used to justify the girls' obsession with boys, and how being boy-crazy is presented as normal and healthy and necessary. I didn't like the casual, no-commitment kissing with an older guy who was already in a relationship with someone else. I really didn't like Parr coming up into Julie's bedroom and sharing her bed for the night (funny how it was so utterly impossible to get more blankets to stay warm, or turn up the heat or something). It reminded me of that awful scene in one of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books in which Bella must snuggle up to Jacob (to keep from freezing to death, of course!) while Edward looks on and reads Jacob's thoughts. Um, yuck? Not surprisingly, Meyer's endorsement appears on the front cover of Enthusiasm.The writing is all right, nothing special. It starts off well ("There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast"), but the Austenesque tone is not sustained. I laughed at a couple missteps (like the "bevy of guys" (6), ha). Overall I have to confess myself disappointed after all the rave reviews. In short, I didn't hate it but I was glad to be done with it. With apologies to the Enthusiasts ¿ I don't see myself ever revisiting or recommending this book.
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This modern YA novel cleverly honors Jane Austen, not by aping her style or pretending to be a sequel, but simply by showing us modern girls who are... enthusiastic... about Austen's work and who have no trouble getting into romantic twists and turns, like Austen's characters. The entire novel is a friendly homage, not only to Austen's novels, but also to the many editions, retellings, films and other manifestations that have sprung from Austen fandom over the past two hundred years. By presenting us -- the likely readers of such novels -- with, essentially, echoes of ourselves (for some of us, our MUCH younger selves) as the main characters, Polly Shulman has created an instantly affecting novel. The two main characters are indeed a couple of Everygirls, with just a little more of the socially acceptable, positive traits than most of us have at age 15. The narrator, Julia, laments that she is too tall, too gawky, while her best friend, Ashleigh, is short and curvy and bouncy, on many levels. Ashleigh is the Enthusiast mentioned in the first line of the novel -- "There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast" is a clever little homage in itself, of course -- and when she discovers 'Pride and Prejudice', a book that has long been quiet Julia's favorite, she decides that they both must start living the novel, as much as might be possible in 21st century New York. What ensues is a fun, sweetly romantic adventure between friends. Boys are, of course, involved very quickly, and become the source of trouble between these two friends -- though the trouble is not so dramatic nor so over-the-top as in other teen literature currently oiling the shelves.In fact, much of the trouble comes, as with Austen's work, from misunderstanding and miscommunication; in using those themes delicately, Shulman has created a kinder, gentler YA novel -- one that feels refreshingly light and even more refreshingly empty of zombies, vampires, fallen angels, or, in fact, anything trendier than Austen herself. There are a few points where the adult reader must roll her eyes, of course, since much of the novel is completely predictable -- teenage girls, fictional or not, have acted much the same way for many generations and it isn't hard to guess who likes who or who will end up with who -- but the experience of the story is pleasant, often funny, and satisfying. In addition, Shulman's characters occasionally express themselves in literary forms and through literary references, so English majors of all stripes will chuckle at the charm of the oft-silly but always entertaining allusions.While there is nothing exceptional about the writing, nor anything unusually brilliant about the plot, I still must express a hearty recommendation for this charming novel. It is especially perfect for Austen fans who might enjoy a flash of pleasant nostalgia -- a reminder of what it was like to first discover Austen's novels, as a young person -- as well as for young ladies who would like a modern pathway to their own such discoveries. In short, 'Enthusiasm' is quite satisfactory.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the book jacket description, I had expected that ENTHUSIASM would follow the general plot of Jane Austen¿s Pride and Prejudice. However, Pride and Prejudice is merely the starting point for this charming book.At the start of their sophomore year, best friends Ashleigh and Julie are obsessed with Jane Austen¿s world. That is, Julie had always loved Austen, and Ashleigh, who was famous for her constantly changing wild obsessions, decided that it would be her latest craze. However, Ashleigh takes Austen to another level, wearing Victorian clothing, speaking like the characters in the books, and setting off on a quest to find the ever enigmatic True Love.Like all of Ashleigh¿s crazy plans, this latest quest involves the friends crashing a formal dance at the all-boys¿ boarding school, Forefield Academy. There, they are rescued from the clutches of a rule-loving teacher by C. Grandison Parr and Ned. Ashleigh believes that the two young men are, in fact, their True Loves¿the Darcy-like Parr for Ashleigh and Ned, the Bingley of the story, for Julie.Julie feels the same way¿just not exactly as Ashleigh had imagined. Julie finds herself falling in love with Parr, but she keeps her feelings to herself, not wanting to be disloyal to Ashleigh. Keeping silent turns out to be harder than she thought as the four friends participate in a school musical together and Julie must see Parr every day. Will Julie ever find her True Love without losing her best friend?In the style of most teen romances, Julie and Parr¿s circling may have readers frustrated at the characters¿ obliviousness and awkward situations. ENTHUSIASM is a nice read, but Parr doesn¿t have anything on the real Mr. Darcy, of course.
jessidee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Jane Austen. I have read all of her completed novels at least twice. I've read quite a few JA para-lit novels, and this is by far the best of the bunch. It includes allusions to not only P&P, but Emma, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and even a little Mansfield Park, too. Although she borrows from Austen's characters, Shulman does a great job of making them (and the story) fresh and unique. There was never a doubt in my mind as to the ending (it is, after all, a romance, and a YA one at that), but getting there was so much fun! I wanted to read it all over again after I finished, and I probably will at some point in the future. I'm loathe to give out any details of the book, because I want everyone to discover it for themselves, but I will say that musical theater (more specifically, a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream) comes into play. There are also sonnets, chocolate turkeys, fun new words (like "igsome" - "ig" for short - which is used to describe something/someone bad), romantic mix-ups, and all the usual high school drama.I bought my copy through Scholastic's Book Club, and if it's ever made available again I'll probably buy a few more. Even if you're not a fan of Austen, I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy this book - it's just that wonderful.
framberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to disapprove on principle of any book that promotes the idea of finding true love in high school, but Enthusiasm has enough redeeming qualities for me to pass it on to my students. The heroine, Julia, and her friend, Ashleigh, are charming if flat characters, as are their respective love interests. Nothing particularly bad happens, few big discoveries about self and life are made, but the story is well written and amusing. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From Julie¿s point of view, she¿s always been on the voice-of-reason side of Ashleigh¿s obsessions. When Ashleigh grabs onto Pride and Prejudice, one of Julie¿s favorites, and bullies Julie into crashing the all-boys prep school¿s dance, Julie is a bit resentful when, in her enthusiasm, Ashleigh falls for the one boy Julie¿s been secretly pining for. Julie tries to keep her feeling secret to avoid hurting Ashleigh, but finds it more and more difficult as her Mr. Darcy seems to be showing interest in her¿ I loved this ¿ it¿s so heartfelt and sweet and well written, and now I want to go out and read Pride and Prejudice¿
Twilight-fan_4life on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was really cute. It was fresh, funky and funny.It was a little annoying and you could really kind of see what was happening but it was an okay read.I don't think I'd read it again but it was nice to read the first time.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun teen romance that was neat little twist on Jane Austen. Julie's friend Ashleigh is always having these phases, or 'enthusiasms.' Suddenly Ashleigh discovers Jane Austen, and decided to go all out. Julie finally persuades her not to wear long dresses to high school, but agrees to go along to a boys' school dance, where they can meet their Mr. Darcys.Like I said, it was a fun book. Ashleigh reminds me of several people I know, but fortunately, not quite so obsessed. And just about every reader will spot where the story is going almost from the beginning. The fun is in seeing HOW we get there.Julie is a good character, with a complicated family, complicated emotions, and I really wanted her to get what she deserved. Recommended for teens or adults.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because on the cover, Stephanie Meyer, author of Twilight, recommended it. Julia and her best friend, Ashleigh, crash a dance at a boys school, and there Julia meets the boy of her dreams. Unfortunately, her friend feels exactly the same way, so Julia keeps quiet.
nmartone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. It started off a bit slow, then took off. Very sweet, very innocent story that makes your heart smile with memories of first loves and crushes. Great book!
JaneB1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashleigh is an enthusiast and her best friend Julia struggles to keep their friendship alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Allissaidabove
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review is just about te sameple! The sample is horrible! All it says is credits, copyright, and when it finally got to the actual book it didn't say that the book had even started and there was only a sentence in the novel that remained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago