PREP: A Tedious Foray into Adolescence

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.

Ultimately, Lee’s experiences–complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.


I’ve had Curtis Sittenfeld on my radar since the release of her second book, SISTERLAND, which was getting a lot of attention. So I promptly requested PREP through the city library. It arrived, and due to other events which prevented me from picking it up, it languished there for a week before returning to its place among the stacks. Then came a chance encounter at a local thrift store. I can read a book that’s been intriguing me for only $1?  Sign me up!

I remember what I was like in high school and it really isn’t something I’d like to relive any time soon. I never got invited to the cool parties or cared about the latest fashions but I had a few good friends that made it bearable. I saw A LOT of myself in Lee’s awkward encounters. The same thoughts of insecurity and the rehashing every little moment of an occurrence with a cute boy went through my head when I was 16 too. Relating to the character was more of crutch than an attribute for this story. Transplanting Lee to an elite east coast boarding school does not redeem it either. It got real tedious real fast. By the end I was glad that Lee had graduated and realized that the banality of life at Ault really wasn’t that important in the long scheme of things. Most people do come to that realization, so if you’re going to write a novel about “coming-of-age”, at least find a more enticing angle than Lee finding out that boys are sexually overcharged and girls are catty.

If this seems a little harsh, it may be due to the fact that this is the first book in a long while that I really couldn’t stand. I have to admit that Sittenfeld does write a very convincing teenager, and I appreciate the book for that reason. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people that loved high school and look forward to their reunions and they will probably be the ones who find this book to be entertaining. I however, do not fall into that category.

The only dilemma I have after reading this book, is do I give Sittenfeld another chance? Your thoughts?

RATING : 2/5 Stars



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September 4, 2013 · 9:35 pm

Love With a Chance of Drowning

A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche is not someone you would ordinarily find adrift in the middle of the stormy Pacific aboard a leaky sailboat – total crew of two – struggling to keep an old boat, a new relationship and her floundering sanity afloat.

But when she meets Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a humble sailboat and a dream to set off exploring the world, Torre has to face a hard decision: watch the man she’s in love with sail away forever, or head off on the watery journey with him. Suddenly the choice seems simple. She gives up her sophisticated city life, faces her fear of water (and tendency towards seasickness) and joins her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. 

Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning is a sometimes hilarious, often moving and always breathtakingly brave memoir that proves there are some risks worth taking.


Author: Torre DeRoche

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: Paperback, 352

This book was given to me through a work connection. The cover I received is on the right, the cover I would have preferred is on the left. That aside,  I love the title and the fact that this is a memoir, since I don’t get around to reading many memoirs. I knew the premise beforehand and already felt like I would identify with the woman in this story, at least initially. My fear of any kind of boats is deeply entrenched. Even though I usually get on boats if the offer is given, it’s not without a few nervous breaths that I accept.  

I found the writing to be candid and entertaining. Torre knows her weakness is the open water but also sees the importance of following ones heart- even into shark-infested waters. We are whisked onto a sailboat with two people who- even though they have known one another for a short time- already have a strong bond. The description of island-hopping in the pacific islands is enchanting and they meet a few characters along the way that add to the charm of the sailing lifestyle. For a moment it seemed entirely plausible that someday I could own a sailboat and leave all my worldly possessions behind.

Along the way, we learn that Ivan is pretty clumsy and when he gets into one predicament after another, Torre soon finds the strength to take charge. If I had been around such a klutz, I would have fed him to the sharks long ago. But that is the essence of the book.; they soon find that come hell or high water (no pun intended) they must survive together.

Overall I found this to be a very uplifting adventure story with some very positive messages about not backing down from the unexpected.

Rating: 4.5/5

Author Bio: Torre DeRoche is an Australian native and self-proclaimed fearful adventurer. When she’s not at home in Melbourne, Australia, DeRoche is at large in the world, exploring, writing, painting pictures, and snapping photos, as she faces her fears one terrified step at a time. Stories of her adventures can be found at

Purchase : Amazon —  Barnes & NobleBAM

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Where Has 2012 Gone?

I can’t make any excuses for my hiatus. Life has been throwing me all sorts of curves and luckily they sorts of curves that I was hoping for! From intern to employed! I’ve made it into publicity of the bookish sort. I’m helping to rep some great authors in a start up publicity agency in Chicago. It’s great to work beside a great mind in the book business and we are growing!
So with publicity comes networking. It’s important in the quest for our next author client. I’ve already been to two writer’s conferences and there are more on the horizon for 2013. So that means finding the perfect ensemble that says business and fashionable. I’m new tot his whole “fashion” thing but I’m giving it a go.


Peplum Blouse/Target ; Leather Skirt/Forever XXI ; Necklace/Forever XXI

Who says you can’t pair black and Brown!? I tried to balance the black and brown with nude heels, and I’m pretty thrilled with result.


Dressing up means I get to play around with accessories and my new rose gold watch is my new favorite. I love the way it looks with pearls. (Oh, and pardon the stamp from a show the night before. I saw The Devil Makes Three as a Bday present to myself)

So far I’m loving playing the part of publicist. Stay tuned.

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Lady Tickler


This weekend I made my way to the neighborhood Taste of Lincoln Festival and returned with a mustache. As I was debating the purchase of this decorative piece, my friend and I talked about the reason behind the recent ubiquity of these mustaches. You see them on coffee cups, at weddings, on necklaces. We were stumped but it didn’t stop me from seizing my slice of pop-culture to adorn the apartment (hey, it was only $5). The stamp on the back informed me that the wood had been reclaimed from dumpsters around Chicago.   

The next step is deciding where to hang/put it. Perhaps on a bookshelf or the front door? Any suggestions?

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‘Tis the Season for Internships

As a graduate student, there is nothing more prized than the internship.  Though unpaid, it helps gain the recognition from your field that you’re putting in the effort to one day be accepted.  My career path is focusing on publishing.  It is not something you learn in a graduate course.  To know how the publishing industry works, you must get the experience any way possible.

I’ve been racking up the internship interviews with various publishing organizations and that means finding the right professional-looking outfit.  My fitted grey slacks have been the perfect go-to.  I’ve paired the slacks with 3 different shirts and nude wedges and looked great.


{Blouse;Thrifted J.Crew. Belt; Express. Pants; Forever XII. Necklace; ?}

I must have done something right, because I have been offered an internship with the Literary Alliance in Chicago!

Of course wearing the same pants can get old, so I’ve realized my need for more accessories.  I made my way to Charming Charlie after my interview today (you’re lucky if you’ve also got one in your city!).  It was pretty overwhelming trying to pick from among all the accessories, so I decided to keep it simple! I love pearls, as you can see from the above photo, so I couldn’t resist the classic look of a  new pearl bracelet, and a nice rose gold watch to stay fashionable!

I look forward to future trips Charming Charlie to supplement my bracelet collection!  I’m thinking a little more bling 🙂

The end of the semester as an English Literature graduate student also signals a shift in reading materials.  I can finally focus on reading all the popular fiction novels I’ve been wanting to read but didn’t have the time for.  Monday’s trip to the library ended with me picking out Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (a couple years too late, I know).  I’ve been devouring the novel ever since!  Gruen does a brilliant job of recreating the circus culture of the Depression Era.  It has got me wondering whether I should give the movie a try once I’m finished.

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New Kicks and New Tricks

Rarely do I get excited about footwear, mostly because my shoe purchases are few and far between.  Being in a larger city where style can play a big part of daily life, I felt the need to revitalize my closet and treat my feet.  Of course, this means doing so within a budget as a poor graduate student. I made my way to Nordstrom Rack the other day.

I saw these and was instantly smitten.


The brand Miz Mooz is a new favorite of mine since they are designed to be comfy while chic.  I have visions of pairing these small platform sandals with some longer skirts and maxi dresses:

{Courtesy ForeverXXI}

I have been a fan of the gladiator style since it first caught on again a couple years ago.  I have worn down my previous pair from Aldo.  Luckily, I found these BC sandals on sale:Image

They should be able to effectively add some style to my more casual summer outfits.  It’s been cold in Chi-town the last week so they’ve both been waiting patiently in my closet for their first romp.  Did I mention I’m excited about summer?


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Cool in Chi-town

The summer weather made an early appearance, bringing multiple 80 degree days.  I decided to take advantage of the warmer temperatures with a trip to the beach


It’s nice to be able to ride my bike to the beach, and I only had to fight a strong headwind in order to spend a couple hours with friends watching groups of volleyball players.  I’m glad that spring has sprung much earlier and it has afforded the opportunity to unpack my summer clothes a little earlier.  Here is what I managed to put together today before the rainy weather swooped in.



{Blouse: H&M; Belt: Forever21; Jeans: Forever21; Necklace: Macy's}


Oh, and side note to self– I need a full length mirror to show off my kicks.

Have a good first Spring weekend!

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