Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Paperback: 295 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2 August 2011
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.

As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

Epic Fail is a cute, fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Being a huge Jane Austen fan, I couldn't wait to dig my teeth into this modernized version of such a classic, iconic story. I loved wondering which characters and parts of Pride and Prejudice were going to show up in this retelling.

There were definitely some standout characters in Epic Fail. Elise - our heroine and resident Elizabeth Bennet - was witty, clever and extremely likeable. I liked that you could really tell how much she loved her family. I especially liked her relationship with her older sister, Juliana. Juliana was also a great character and I thought she was the perfect Jane Bennet reincarnation. On the other hand Layla, the youngest sister, was awful. She was spoiled and selfish and an all around brat, not unlike Lydia. Our Mr. Darcy, Derek, was pretty excellent as well. I liked the aspect of Derek's parents being famous and Elise's parents working in their fancy school. It really worked well to create that sense of different classes, for lack of a better word. I think with the celebrity aspect though, it made Derek's initial standoffish-ness more understandable. I mean, how would you like it if people kept trying to push themselves on you or getting all up in your business? I know I certainly wouldn't want that. How could you tell when someone was genuine? So like I said, I can definitely see why Derek wasn't quick to accept people. Also, he's shy, so that didn't help much. I really liked him. Derek's best friend Chase was adorable, but I wish we saw more of him.

Two characters I wasn't quite so fond of were Chase's sister Chelsea and Webster. Chelsea was evil incarnate. The end. As for Webster, I didn't like him from the beginning. He just seemed like a horrible, conniving person to me; not at all someone to be trusted. Then again, I'm not sure if my dislike for these two comes from prior prejudices based on their character model in Pride and Prejudice, or just because they're awful. Regardless, I wouldn't trust them or want to be in their circle for anything.

There were some stellar scenes that I found myself laughing through or swooning over. One swoony scene involved pizza and... oh heck, I can't spoil it! You'll know what I'm talking about when you read it. Though I enjoyed most of the story, I didn't like how the whole Layla/Webster (aka Lydia/Wickham) debacle went down. I seriously think it could have been better, but maybe the author wanted to keep it from being too serious or scandalous or something.

Overall, I really enjoyed getting lost in the awesomeness that is Epic Fail. I can't wait to see what Claire LaZebnik does next! If you're a fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend giving this retelling a shot.

A favorite quote: “I got lost in him, and it was the kind of lost that's exactly like being found.”


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