by Claire LaZebnik
Claire grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, went to Harvard and moved to LA. (Her name was Claire Scovell for a large part of all that.) She has written five novels for adults, Same as It Never Was, Knitting under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, and Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts. She has also published two YA novels with Harper Collins: Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting (due out in winter, 2012/3). With Lynn Koegel she co-wrote Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life and Growing up on the Spectrum: A guide to life, love and learning for young adults with autism and Asperger’s. She contributed to an anthology play called Motherhood Out Loud, and has been published in The New York Times, Self, Vogue and other magazines.
She lives in the Pacific Palisades with her husband Rob (who writes for “The Simpsons”), her four kids (Max, Johnny, Annie and Will) and too many pets to keep track of.
source: Claire’shomepage (adapted)
The front office wasn’t as crazy as you’d expect on the first day of school, which seemed to confirm Coral Tree Prep’s reputation as “a well-oiled machine.”
- 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, new-girl-on-campus 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. 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.
A lot of girls were influenced by Jane Austen’s love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Now they will be influenced by the love story of Elise Benton and Derek Edwards.
Claire LaZebnik was able to write a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s probably best known novel. Epic Fail is set in a California High School with lots of rich and famous kids but also some shallow people, including Dr. Gardiner, the new principal and mother of Elise and her older sister Juliana. The story is told from Elise’s point of view and mostly deals with her and her older sister Juliana’s lives and their relationship with Derek Edwards and Chase Baldwin, who fell for Juliana.
The other family members of the Benton family are the two other sisters Layla and Kaitlyn and their parents. Layla is the sister who always manages to embarrass Elise and Juliana; a talent she inherited from her mother while Kaitlyn and the family’s dad play a minor role during the whole novel. But Elise and her father have the same very deep connection like Lizzie Bennett and her dad.
Epic Fail is a wonderful book that managed to provoke the same feelings I had while reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I liked and hated the same characters and I think this is an incredible accomplishment. I found it extremely fascinating how Claire managed to create these character and how character flaws can turn a likeable person in one you really dislike (yes, I am talking about Webster Grant).
I can highly recommend this novel! It is a quick read and the story really sucks you in. It is a perfect story for all of you who are still in high school or can remember this time well because it perfectly tells teenage problems, highs and lows in their love relationships and typical high school problems.
It is just the right story for all of you who like reading Young Adult novels and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and if you haven’t read any YA novels and think about giving them a try - start with Epic Fail.
Epic Fail is available at Amazon for $9,99/ EUR 7,30/ £5,49 and for your Kindle too. You can also buy it at Book Depo for $9,04/ EUR 6,84/ £5,65.
Two further things I can recommend when you love Jane Austen are:
- the TV mini series “Lost in Austen” and
- the Youtube-Channel “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”