Monday, August 1, 2011

Epic Fail ~ Claire LaZebnik (ARC) review

Epic Fail
August 2, 2011
304 pages

Epic Fail, Claie LaZebnik's YA debut is a Pride and Prejudice inspired bit of super cute, enjoyable fun. It's not easy starting at a new high school. Especially when that new high school is a private high school in Los Angeles full of super rich kids, often the children of celebrities - and you're not.

Especially when your mother is said school's new principal. And possibly a little star struck.

But the Benton girls are going to have to figure it out because they're starting the year Coral Tree Prep.

Having movie star parents everyone knows-or at least knows of, Derek Edwards is treated like royalty at Coral Tree. When Elise's sister beautiful sister falls for Derek's best friend, Elise gets stuck with Derek.

But she refuses to fall at his feet like every other girl in the school just because his parents are famous, instead befriending the outcast Webster Grant.

Will Elise realize that maybe there might be a reason Webster and Derek don't get along? Or wil she blindly take sides and allow her love (and social) life to be an epic fail?

Epic Fail is really cute. You can see that overall it was inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but it's not a retelling that follows things scene, just modernized with updated dialogue and setting. That inspiration, however, does supply a lot of twists and turns to the plot keeping things a lot more eventful than a simple girl-meets-boy-girl-falls-for-boy-the-end.

Despite the girls going to a school full of super rich teens, Epic Fail doesn't turn into Gossip Girl. Possibly because it's so focused on the Benton girls who come from something else (money & value wise) -or the P&P inspiration- but it's enjoyable to have the setting and some of the plot points it allows without lots of drinking and sex and all out extravagance. (And in a way that didn't seem like it was missing or didn't fit the story - any of that would actually have seemed out of place.)

Elise and Juliana are great female main characters. They're well written, strong, have depth, are well rounded and developed and you can connect with both of them. Having the two sisters be the two main characters is great, too. It brings something else to their relationship and with the girls starting the new school it gives them someone they already know, someone familiar.

This was Claire LaZebnik's first YA novel and I do hope she writes another - I enjoyed this one a lot; it had humor, romance, and great relationships.


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