Prada & Prejudice
By Mandy Hubbard
Penguin Group, 2009. 238 pages. Young Adult
Fifteen year old Callie’s best friend has moved away and as a result Callie feels lost in school. She outwardly mocks the in-crowd but secretly desires to be a part of it. Callie takes a school trip to London, ostensibly to pad her college applications, but in reality to ingratiate herself into a top clique. Once there Callie still feels awkward, and in a desperate bid to win popularity buys a pair of exorbitantly priced Prada shoes. Walking on cobblestones in high heels proves disastrous and Callie falls and takes a hard hit to the head. When she wakes up it is 1815. Luckily Callie finds shelter in the mansion of Lord Alexander Thorton-Hawke, the Duke of Harsbury, and finds a friend in his cousin Emily. The Duke happens to be young, rich, and handsome. Callie thinks he is overbearing and pompous. The Duke thinks Callie is too outspoken.
This is a light variation of the Austen time travel genre. It is chick lit for the teen set, similar in tone to Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella. There are funny and awkward moments for Callie as she chafes under nineteenth century restrictions and swoons over Lord Alexander’s pretty eyes and tight fitting jackets. Although readers might be slightly put off by Callie’s shallowness (she’s in London and all she cares about is Prada?) they will also relate to her desire to have a friend and be confident in herself.