by First Mate Keira

Title: Enthusiasm
Author: Polly Shulman
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 198
Grade Reading Level: Grade 7+

Summary: When Julie Lefkowitz’s enthusiastic friend Ashleigh falls in love with Julie’s Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, she drags Julie into a wild adventure involving crashing Forefield Academy, an all-boys prep school, Founder’s Ball, in search of a real life Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. When Ashleigh latches onto Julie’s secret crush, Charles Grandison (Grand) Parr, Julia experiences equal measures of heartache and guilt. Jane Austen didn’t prepare her for this.

Why I started this book:

I recently read Polly Shulman’s Grim Legacy and loved it so much I had to check out what else she had written.


  • The heroine’s wry humor is ubiquitous throughout the narrative. Julie is a sweetly shy girl in comparison to her lively and engaging friend Ashleigh.
  • Ashleigh is a bit too presumptuous for her own good and too mischievous for Ned Downing’s! She’s a peach and a little crazy as she bounces from one enthusiastic adventure to the next, but she’s also a good friend and a nice person.
  • I loved how both girls saw their guy as the Mr. Darcy at the end of the book and the other’s as Mr. Bingley. Too funny.
  • I loved how the girls’ friendship doesn’t disintegrate during the time Ashleigh crushes on Parr.  I thought Julie did a good job not trying to rain over Ashleigh’s parade when the girl thought Parr was into her.
  • The multiple Austen references…the obvious Pride and Prejudice, the more sneaky Sense and Sensibility (I firmly believe Parr is more like Mr. Ferrars than Mr. Darcy), and the Mansfield Park when Parr and Downing produced a musical version of A MidSummer Night’s Dream.


  • There’s this boy at the prep school that is very smarmy (think Wickham icky) and hits on all the girls. He tries to corner them and steal kisses from them and does his best to make them all uncomfortable. He should have been reported for harassing the girls but nobody ever did. Luckily nothing goes too far.
  • Not long enough! Haha.

Buy: Enthusiasm

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

[phpbay]enthusiasm polly shulman, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]