Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review: The Preppy Problem

Title: The Preppy Problem

Author: Stephanie Austin

Publisher: Fawcett / Ballantine

Date: 1984

Length: 157 pages

Quote: “But I am doing what I want to do. I'm doing what every girl wants to do!”

Melissa “Missy” Cartwright is busy holding her position as the queen of the popular crowd when Stephen McRae says he's “not convinced” that she's doing what every girl wants to do. Sure enough, after a few more weeks of being the perfect date to fit into Kenneth “Kip” Morgan's perfect image, Melissa starts to feel just a teensy bit confined by her own act. Why can't she add a few new friends who don't belong (yet) to the popular crowd? (“Intellectuals, not socials,” the preppy crowd at my school would have called them, meaning it as a compliment. At Melissa's school the “social” sub-species of preppies seem to be dominant.) Why does she have to wear only the colors and styles Kip recommends? And could Stephen possibly be more fun to date than Kip is?

This is a clean, age-appropriate, frivolous teen romance, with lots of statements made through fashion choices rather than words. If the styles aren't the ones teenagers wear these days, teen readers should at least have a good time decoding my generation's dress code...and the exercise might even give them some idea how silly their own fashion angst is, as well as convincing them that their parents have survived similar silliness.

A Google search shows that a writer known as Stephanie Austin is still alive, and has a web site through which she can't be contacted, making it hard to be sure that she's the same Stephanie Austin. On the assumption that she is, The Preppy Problem is offered as a Fair Trade Book: $5 per book, $5 per package for shipping; of this $10 we'll send Austin or a charity of her choice $1. Payments may be sent to either address at the bottom of the screen.