I had no idea until this book arrived that Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice! I thought the author did a great job of using P&P as inspiration but also being quite creative in making this story one that is believeable and felt mostly realistic in these times.
Elise Benton and her family have just moved to a new and fancy school. They aren't the wealthiest people around and don't quite fit in with the flash cars and designer wear that the other students have. Of course it doesn't help that Elise's mother is the new principal and her father a maths teacher.
How embarassing it is to see your mother when you're trying to make friends at lunchtime. High school is awkward enough as it is, but Elise's mother seems to swoon at the very sight of Derek Edwards - the rather aloof and unfriendly son of two very famous Hollywood celebrities. But when Elise's sister Jules starts hanging out with Derek's best friend, Chase, the four starting spending a great deal of time together with fun consequences. I love that Elise is totally up to being Elizabeth Bennett's modern day counterpart - she's sassy and smart and funny and sticks up for herself. I like that Jules has more of a backbone this time around and also that Layla's circumstances don't go nearly as far as they could have done.
OK, as a love story Epic Fail is one that is familiar. With Elise as Elizabeth Bennett and Derek as Mr Darcy, you can guess how the story ends. But I think the fun in this book is in it's differences to Pride and Prejudice. I quite liked exploring Derek's struggles with his celebrity parents and how isolating and different that childhood would be like. Not being able to trust people, being unsure if people actually like you or are just trying to get closer to fame or your parents. I also love how embarassing parents are not limited to just the Bentons in this tale. It is a truth universally acknowledged that ALL parents are an embarassment to teenagers.
I don't know about you, but I totally love the truly heinous characters in Pride and Prejudice and my only niggle with this book is that it is pretty short and I could see how other characters and storylines were cut in order to focus on Elise and Derek. I love how Wickham's modern character is depicted, as well as Lydia's. But I think I'd have loved a more promiment Mr. Collins and also Mr. Darcy's aunt.
As always, I do love all the misunderstandings and awkwardness behind this story. I thought Epic Fail was a very cute and fun retelling of a great story. I had a big smile on my face at the end of this one.