There are plenty of reasons for readers of young adult books to be enthusiastic about Polly Shulman’s new novel, Enthusiasm! It is full of fascinating characters, funny situations, and even romance. The book is told from the point of view of Julie, who is best friends with always enthusiastic Ashleigh. Ashleigh doesn’t just have interests; for her, they’re always full-blown obsessions. She’s been through phases where she has loved a band called the Wet Blankets, Harriet The Spy, ballet, King Arthur, and a lot more. When Julie lent her friend Pride and Predjudice, by Jane Austen, the newest fad began.
For Ashleigh, the Enthusiast, it could never be just a great book. She’s got to speak like someone from hundreds of years ago, learn ballroom dancing, wear long skirts, and find True Love. As usual, Julie’s got to try and talk some sense into her friend. Sure, they’ll still end up publicly humiliated (as usual), but maybe it can be to a lesser degree. Perhaps she can convince Ashleigh to at least put on some jeans!
No matter what Julie does, however, she still can’t convince Ashleigh to give up the idea of finding True Love–dressing and acting like the heroine from a Jane Austen novel. Ashleigh is convinced they’ll be able to find True Love when crashing a dance at the local boys’ prep school, Forefield Academy. The rest of the story has confusion, romance, comedy, humiliation, and a lot more that will have readers hooked up until the very last page!
It’s a story that teens will be able to relate to, even if their best friends aren’t nearly so enthusiastic as Ashleigh. Everyone’s been embarrassed by a friend, but you’ve still got to stick by them, right? And then of course there’s the fact that Ashleigh has set her sights on the guy Julie’s crushing on. A sticky situation that lots of girls can relate to! Told in Julie’s engaging, witty voice, this entertaining story has every element of a great YA novel that is sure to be popular for a long time to come. I know I’m not alone in hoping for another novel by Polly Shulman that’s as unique and interesting as this one!
Also posted on TeensReadToo.com