Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Epic Fail
by Claire LaZebnik
Young Adult Realistic Contemporary
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.73
Published by: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Pages: 295

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

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

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Elise and the Benton family have moved to LA. Her mom has just been named principal of Coral Tree prep in LA. The problem is everybody else at her school is the son or daughter of Hollywood royalty. Her mom is the new principal. It doesn't exactly lead to popularity.

And Derek Edwards is at the top of the pack, but when Derek's best friend falls for Elise's sister Julianna, Elise and Julianna find themselves being welcomed into that top pack.

However, Elise is not attracted to Derek. He is a jerk to social outcast Webster Grant and he thinks her family is embarrassing. Elise has to admit there might be some merit on that last one. Her sister Layla has no bounds when it comes trying to impress people or to fitting in. Then there's her mom who seems to fawn over Derek. Yes, they might be embarrassing but she's not about to let anybody else say that.

It's a retelling of Pride and Prejudice so I'm sure you have a few ideas about this one ends.

Going into this one, I didn't actually remember it was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I just remembered hearing good reviews about it so I decided to give it a shot. Boy am I glad I did.

LaZebnik's YA debut novel is an epic read. This book had me laughing the whole time. I have read several retellings of Pride and Prejudice but few have been as entertaining as this one.

LaZebnik managed to parallel Pride and Prejudice very well, but also managed to make the story her own. LaZebnik did not just rely on readers knowing the characters in Pride and Prejudice, she infused her characters with their own personality.

So why 3.5 stars? This novel was indeed a cute read. It had me laughing and I loved the characters. It was more memorable than chick-lit novels than I've read in a long time. However, it lacked a deeper underlying message to make this one a 4 or a 5. The writing was beautiful, the book entertaining, and it's one I liked more than a lot I've read, but it lacked that after punch to make it unforgettable.

In Summary: LaZebnik's first YA novel has definitely left me excited to read her next YA novel. Her book offers a cute, fun, and comical retelling of Pride and Prejudice that Austen fans will love. What would happen if Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett squared off in high school? Read this book and you'll find out.

The Wrap-up: I really was truly surprised by how much I liked this one. LaZebnik's writing definitely caught my attention and I can't wait to read her sophomore YA novel The Trouble with Flirting. If you like Austen or just like cute reads, then check this one out. 


Danica Page

Up Next: A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman


  1. Retellings aren't usually my thing, but since you said it stands out from the rest I might have to give it a shot! Great review!

  2. I'm really glad to see you enjoyed this! I have read some pretty negative reviews of it which made me put off reading my Kindle copy, but now I'm going to read it because I LOVE books that can make me laugh!


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