April 7, 2012

Book Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

At First Sight: Elise Benton and her sisters just moved to California, where their parents took teaching positions at Coral Tree Prep - an expensive high school, well known because many Hollywood stars send their kids there. 

Elise doesn't much care for the change and she's still reeling from the cultural shock of moving from Massachusetts to California, and she doesn't have a high opinion of her new classmates. 

And Derek Edwards - the son of two Hollywood A-List stars Kyle Edwards and Melinda Anton - doesn't help to improve that opinion. Derek is always frowning and acts like having to talk to people is a huge chore and imposition... yet he's still insanely popular. But Elise would be glad not to cross paths with him ever.

But when her older sister Jules and his best friend Chase become inseparable, Elise and Derek end up spending a lot of time together. Time Elise would rather spend with Webster Grant, the social outcast of Coral Tree Prep. 

Second Glance: When I heard Epic Fail was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, I immediately wanted to read it, I've always loved Darcy and Lizzie and I thought this book was going to be awesome. Sadly, Epic Fail turned out to be more "Pride and Prejudice inspired" rather than and actual retelling. 

At first, I quite liked the book, I thought Elise was rather funny, and the setting - an affluent Prep School, (in)famous for catering to Celebrities' kids - seemed to be working. But then.. things kind of started to go off track. 

Elise and Jules' younger sisters were annoying and over the top, Layla - a.k.a. Lydia from P&P - didn't have one single hint of charm, she was an annoying, popularity hungry brat. And if one can say anything about Lydia from P&P is that she was popular and could be charming when it suited her. Webster was cartoonish too. Practically everyone was... and I had a hard time liking them, let alone sticking to the story for long periods of time.

Elise, while I found her funny at times, was  just too... passive, and crazy and lacked some of the wit and bite I was expecting. 

Also, in my book, any P&P re-telling gets points deducted when they cut off Mary or Kitty (though Kitty is in this story in a very small capacity). 

Bottom Line: Epic Fail was not the book for me as I failed to connect or even like the characters all that much. I felt he P&P story line was overly simplified and the story loss something in the process. I will say that I thought Claire LaZebnik writes with a nice sense of humor, and that was my favorite part of it all, the writing - even if the characters fell flat - and I think I would like to read more books by her in the future.

Favorite Quote: "The sandwich lady does owe me a huge favor."
That actually caught Derek's interest. He looked up. "Really?"
"Oh, year."I said. "Bur it's a long story - involves this knife fight in Brussels, back during the war. She was smuggling. I was a double agent for the resistance... The usual." 

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