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Pride and Puberty

Alix reviews Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik, a teen retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Puberty

BOOK REPORT for Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Cover Story: Oddly familiar
Single White Female: Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy With a Touch of Sass
Bonus Factors: Jane Austen Retelling, Oscar Wilde, Astronomy
Relationship Status: One Night Stand

Cover Story: Oddly familiar

I haven’t seen this before, but it feels like I have. I wonder why?

OH RIGHT. It’s just like the cover that Lee and I made a year ago, making fun of tropes in YA covers. Except ours had a bonus Twilight color scheme and Fancy Dress, so I guess this isn’t the worst it could have been.

Also, it has nothing to do with the book. There is no note-passing in the story, and everyone’s head is firmly attached to their person. Also also, Epic Fail is a terrible name for a book. If you are trying to convince me that this is a book I should read, you are not succeeding.

The Deal:

Nobody likes being the new kid in school. As if it wasn’t stressful enough to move just before her senior year, Elise Benton’s new school is the super posh Coral Tree Prep, home to the children of the rich, famous, and fame-whoring of LA. Worse still, Elise’s highly embarrassing, social-climbing mother is the new principal, and her reclusive father is also on faculty. Elise definitively does not fit in, but her sweet, beautiful sister Julianna quickly befriends some of the high school elite. Without knowing how or why, Elise is suddenly spending a lot of time with Derek Edwards, progeny of Hollywood’s two most famous actors, and douchenozzle extraordinaire. Will these two continue to hate each other based on bad first impressions, or will they find love in the hopeless place that is dating in high school?

Single White Female: Yes

As always, I have replaced my BFF charm with a Single White Female status, based on whether or not I would want to obsess over and emulate the main character until I eventually become her.

Elise is pretty rad, and I would probably want to stalk her in a Single White Female scenario. Only, I don’t have to, because I’m pretty confident that Elise has already SWFed high-school Alix. Look Elise, honey, I know I’m cool, but that doesn’t mean you had to go through my laundry and steal my “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt or tool around quoting Oscar Wilde all the time. Imitation may be the strongest form of flattery, but I see what you’re doing and frankly, it’s a little creepy.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

I think the swoon was on the lower end for me because the tension wasn’t drawn out enough. I felt like Elise didn’t hate Derek strongly enough in the beginning, and it made her come around to him pretty quickly. They had cute moments, but I missed the will-they-or-won’t-they thrill of the original. One of the things that’s great about Pride and Prejudice is that it represents the antithesis of insta-love, but I just wasn’t feeling it here.

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy With a Touch of Sass

For the most part, I blazed through this book without thinking much about the writing one way or the other, but there were still parts that made me stop and smile. Possibly because they’re things that I would have said when I was 17.

“You like Wilde?”

“Sure. He was tortured, brilliant, funny, gay... basically my dream guy.”

“Even the gay part?” he said with the ghost of a smile--which for all I knew was what passed for hysterical mirth with this guy.

“Especially the gay part,” I said. “I’m weird that way."

“How’s that working out for you?”

“I’m beginning to think it’s not a good long-term romantic strategy.”

Bonus Factor: Jane Austen Retelling

YAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WEEK! I’m so happy we’re doing this. We should do theme weeks ALL the time. Except not really, because then it wouldn’t be special. It’s like listening to Christmas music in October. It cheapens the holiday spirit.

Bonus Factor: Oscar Wilde

So, Elise and Derek are both big Oscar Wilde fans. Which is awesome, because do you know who LOVES Oscar Wilde? THIS GIRL. Seriously, Oscar and I fell in love when I was 8 years old, when my dad first read me The Importance of Being Earnest. He would do all these different voices (my favorite was Lane!) and it was magical and I’ve basically read everything Wilde ever wrote, and named my personal blog after one of his works and ok I’m totally swimfanning right now, but the point is, Oscar’s great! And Derek’s first, “Hey, that Elise chick seems hot” comes right after she references the quote, “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Which was, coincidentally, High School Alix’s senior yearbook quote, because High School Alix was a little ridiculous. But so are Elise and Derek, apparently.

Bonus Factor: Astronomy

Derek and Elise have astronomy class together, which, helllloooo night fieldtrip to the beach for stargazing. Yes please.

Casting Call:

Ok, I was GOING to cast 17-Year-Old Alix as Elise, because:

Oh look, it’s 17-year-old-me, hanging out with Oscar, Gay Man of My Dreams. I mean, really. It’s ridiculous. But SOMEBODY already stole my thunder by casting themselves. I asked my high school BFF who to cast as High School Me, and she said:

Emma Stone as Elise Benton

High School BFF is HIGHLY biased, but I’ll take it.

And I’m sticking with my standard Teen Darcy:

Ethan Peck as Derek Edwards

Relationship Status: One Night Stand

We had fun, book, but I only went out with you because it was either you or this other book that seemed like it was into some pretty kinky shit, and I wasn’t down with that. You were cute and charming in a way that I would have been into when I was younger, and I dug that we both love Oscar Wilde. But you and I both know that this was just a fling, so when we pass each other in the book store next month, let’s pretend we don’t know each other.

 

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Alix West's photo About the Author: Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.
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