Author: Claire LaZebnik
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: August 2, 2011
Challenge: Completely Contemporary Challenge
Summary: 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.
Guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how much EPIC FAIL by Claire LaZebnik was exactly the book I needed to read when I read it. I had been kind of bogged down with SERIOUS and needed something light, adorable, and swoony. EPIC FAIL was all of those things, and it was plain delightful. ALSO! I had no idea until I started reading it that this book is, in fact, a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. HOLLA! In fact, if you’ll notice from the summary, each of the characters shares the same initials as their original story counterparts. That Claire LaZebnik is clever, guys! But mostly, she’s great at writing endearing, sweet, fresh characters and stories.
There isn’t too much to say about EPIC FAIL in terms of analysis and deep thinking. It’s not that kind of book. THANKFULLY. I know I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate good contemporary confections, guys, because not only are they fun and sweet, but when they’re good, they’re often some of the most welcome books I read, if they aren’t always the most anticipated. Claire LaZebnik‘s book was a very welcome surprise, and that was mostly because of the great relationship between Elise Benton and Derek Edwards, and because even though I know the story, everything seemed fresh and young and fun.
If you know the story of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, nothing in EPIC FAIL will be much of a surprise to you. There are a couple of twists to the original story, but really, what made this book so enjoyable to me wasn’t only the nods to Jane Austen’s classic. These characters, this setting, these relationships shine on their own, and Elise and Derek bring their own personalities and modern sensibilities to the party. Their interactions are full of tension, the good and bad kind. They definitely butt heads, but they also connect, too. They have those kind of interactions where all they have to do is hold hands and you get a little bit of the tingles. I LOVE THAT.
I enjoyed, too, the spin on Darcy’s wealth and prominence in EPIC FAIL by having Derek be the son of two mega-famous movie stars. I loved how confident but also uncomfortable Elise was when she got glimpses of that world. It was so genuine and fun. And I really enjoyed the story taking place in Los Angeles. Is it me, or do books often take place elsewhere? For me at least the setting and the vibe was a really nice change. I mean, these kids were going to the beach in SHORTS in OCTOBER. Seriously. If I went to the beach in October, I’d be wearing two or three layers.
EPIC FAIL by Claire LaZebnik was a solid contemporary, friends. It had been lingering on my kindle for AGES and I needed to pick up something light and fun, and EPIC FAIL was exactly what I needed. Blew the serious right on out of my head. I can’t wait to read more from Claire LaZebnik, guys. She knows how to get her cute swoon on!