Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Release Date: August 2, 2011
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age group: YA
Pages: 295
Buy the book: Amazon - The Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

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.


The Benton sisters and their family have just moved to Los Angeles. The mother of the family is the new principal of the school and the father works as the teacher. They are not rich or famous, like so many of the kids at Coral Tree Prep school. When Juliana, the oldest sister of the group, forms a crush on one of the popular boys, Chase, it is inevitable that Elise, only year younger than Juliana, also gets to know Chase and the people he spends time with. One of those people is Derek Edwards, the son of famous movie stars - tall, dark and handsome, but for some reason very moody and not very nice.

The first time they meet, Derek seems very snobbish and not very welcoming. But as they are pretty much forced to hang out together more, Derek seems to open up and show some type of interest towards Elise. But Elise has no room for Derek's surprise smiles and compliments - she feels like she has no idea how to read Derek who is seems to run hot and cold. When she meets Webster Grant, a guy who is charming but not part of the popular kids, she warms up for him much rather than for Derek. Especially after she hears about the shared history of Derek and Webster. But as events unfold, Elise notices that she might have been wrong about both Derek and Webster, and she has to decide what to believe and who to fall for.

Epic Fail is a modern YA-retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Since Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time, I was really looking forward to reading this one. Epic Fail is an extremely fast read - I read it on one sitting and I think it took me a bit over 3 hours to go through it. The ones who have read Pride and Prejudice/seen the film/seen Bridget Jones, the story is familiar - you know from page one what is going to happen. But it was interesting to see how this story was constructed. I really liked Derek (Darcy) as a son of film stars and I think the strict teacher parents were great modern versions of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. I also really liked Elise - she is a lot like I would imagine Elizabeth Bennet being in the modern era.

There definitely was chemistry between Derek and Elise, which I really liked, because I think that is one of the crucial parts of the P&P story - the chemistry between Lizzy and Darcy. I liked the fact that Elise was curious about Derek and acknowledged the fact that he is very attractive, but she is not obsessed with him like all the other girls in the school. I also liked the fact that once Elise starts to fall for Derek, it is because of his personality and who is as a human being, not because of his famous connections.

Epic Fail did not change my life or anything like that, and I probably won't go back to it, but if you are looking for a fast, romantic and funny summer read, Epic Fail is a really good option for that. And for fans of Pride and Prejudice it is a nice way to enjoy the story once again with a different set of characters and settings. 


  1. Eeep, I mean this one sounds interesting and all that but I'd rather remember the P&P as Jane Austen put it. This one seems to capture some elements of P&P but just the fact that I already know what will happen doesn't seem appealing to me. I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall. Great review :)

    1. I get what you mean. But I personally like to relive the story again and again, and the adaptions and spin-offs etc. are perfect for that. I used to be OBSESSED with modern retellings of Austen's work, but now I only read them once in a while. I feel the Lizzie-Darcy dynamic is so used these days in romantic comedies etc. that you kind of always know what is going to happen in the end. But if the work is well done and it is interesting to see how the conclusion is reached, I am in ! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I like the idea of a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice! But I'll read the original one first.. I know, I know, don't judge me.. anyway, great review! :)

    1. There are so many of these out there - Bridget Jones is probably the most popular one. But yeah, read the original one first, you won't regret it. BEST BOOK EVER! :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Yay! I have a whole page on my blog dedicated to Mr. Darcy. I really loved this book. I thought the author did a great job. I love retellings of Jane Austen. I love them!!! If you're interested in more modern retellings of Pride and Prejudice, I recommend Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg and Fall for you by Cecilia Gray.


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