Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Review: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

From Back Cover: At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school, while 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 thrown together with Derek. But Elise refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. When will Elise realize that not all snubs are undeserved and not all celebrity brats are bratty ... and turn her love life from an epic fail to an epic win? 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Epic Fail is the charming YA debut of Claire LaZebnik that is based on Pride and Prejudice. I have no idea how faithfully LaZebnik’s characters resemble their original counterparts since I read Jane Austen’s classic story a very long time ago and don’t remember much of it, but even those who haven’t read the story will easily get sucked into Epic Fail.

As there isn’t a huge amount of action, the success of Epic Fail hinges on its main characters and their chemistry. Luckily, LaZebnik nails it. Elise is a smart and witty heroine who refuses to be swayed by popularity, and is intent on judging people for who they are and not their background. Though Derek appears standoffish early on, Elise can’t help but be intrigued by the more relaxed Derek that she hangs out with at a party. That is, until Derek gets the host of the party to kick out Elise’s friend, the charismatic Webster. At this point in Epic Fail it’s still not revealed what Derek’s problem with Webster is, so this action kind of makes him appear like a celebrity brat and doesn’t win him any points with Elise. While being famous seems like it has a lot of perks, LaZebnik does a good job portraying its drawbacks with the character of Derek.

Despite strong lead characters, the rest of the characters in Epic Fail were a tad one-dimensional even if they were entertaining. It was amusing to see Chelsea repeatedly throw herself at Derek for example when it was so obvious that he didn’t want her. The secondary character I loved having page time though was Mrs. Benton. The way she is introduced is pretty funny and it’s impossible not to feel sorry for the Benton girls every time she shows up after because her celebrity obsession with Melissa Anton, Derek’s mother, is just bound to embarrass them.   

Perfect for a light, summer read, Epic Fail is released by HarperTeen today!

Comments About the Cover: I think it’s absolutely adorable! With so many misunderstandings between Derek and Elise, I love how the guy and girl are holding a note with half a heart each.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (HarperCollinsCanada) for free.


  1. Awesome review! This sounds like such a fun escape for an hour or two. And it is great to hear that the main characters had chemistry there is nothing worst than a flat romance!

  2. How did I not know this book was based on P&P?! Epic fail on my part.

    Sounds like fun. Of course Mrs. B always makes quite the impression no matter if in modern times.

    Love the cover too. I'll be on the look out for this at my library.

  3. I love the Pride and Prejudice retellings, I just never get tired of them especially when they seem to be as fun and well done as this one. Too bad the secondary characters aren't as strong as they could have been, but luckily Elise and Derek seem like they're strong protagonists!

  4. I ordered a copy and am waiting for its arrival. It sounds very fun plus I love P&P retellings.

  5. Sounds like such a fun read. The cover is too cute! :)

  6. I've never read read Pride and Prejudice so it's good to know this one can be read as a standalone. And it's extra good that the relationship and chemistry was well done because, like you said, this kind of novel really depends on that.

  7. I love Pride & Prejudice, so as soon as I heard about Epic Fail, I just HAD to read it. I really loved it too... such a cute and fun read for the summer!

  8. Aw, this sounds so cute! I can see through your review how the various characters and situations are taken from P&P and transformed here. I'm looking forward to reading this one a lot now. Thanks :)

  9. Every time I read a review of this book I want it even more! I still haven't picked it up, though. I really should go get it! Thanks for the great review. :)


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