Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Children's Playground

Children's Playground
Wednesday, 21 September

Epic Fail  by Claire LaZebnick
(In a sudden departure from the usual theme I thought I might explore a few popular teenage books in place of the children's classic I've been reviewing till now. I would recommend this book to readers over 12 and under 99)

I loved this book. It's a great modern rendition of Pride and Prejudice that has kept its own identity separate from the old classic.
The idea isn't new, but thi author knows how to keep her writing fresh. A short synopsis of the story is as follows:

Elise moves to LA with her three sisters and parents. Her mother is the new principal of an expensive private school and her father is the new maths teacher. Her sister Juliana is our Jane from P&P, Layla is Lydia and Kaitlyn is Kitty. On the very first day the two eldest sisters meet the stand-offish Derek (Darcy), the charming and good-humoured Chase (Charles Bingley), and the spoilt Chelsea (Caroline). Elsie also meets Webster. Derek is the son of a famous Hollywood couple. Everyone wants to be his bestfriend. Elise sees this, and also notices how coldly he treats them all, as if he couldn't be bothered to acknowledge them), and decides she wont be one of his sychophants. It's here that her prejudice starts (much like Elizabeth's). If you've read P&P, you'll enjoy the new mould in which LaZebnick has cast these characters, if you haven't then expect a sweet, well-paced, light romantic story about misconceptions and true love. =D

A few more points:

~ Claire LaZebnick hasn't tried to bring the 19th century English country romance to modern day L.A. Instead she has cleverly picked the twists and turns of P&P and weaved them into a lovable YA romance that -while it reminds us of Austen's best- has retained its own individuality.

~ Derek is not Darcy. Their thinking is too different as are their reasons for remaining aloof from the sychophants around them, Elise is, however, very similar to Elizabeth. And her bewilderment at Derek's cold behaviour towards Webster (Wickham) is both similar and different from Elizabeth's outrage. LaZebnick has successfully brought back to us the voices and personalities that had charmed us in P&P, and given them a new story to tell.

~ The thing is, Epic Fail is a light hearted romance set in an exclusive private school in L.A. It doesn't pretend to be anything more. This book is already gaining popularity and will continue to do so on its own merit, even amongst the vast number of readers who've never picked up Austen's novel.

~ It's a good story, and the only con I have to report on it is that the last chapter of the book doesn't have a feeling of conclusion to it. It's almost like someone ran out of page to write or something. There's the happy ending of course, but that comes almost two chapters before the ending. After that the author seemed to try and recreate the last pages of P&P, where Elizabeth and Darcy converse, her father shows skepticism over her belief that Darcy is misunderstood and Darcy shows great forbearance towards her family.
While in P&P, it felt like a wrap up, here...I expected a final turn in the plot or something like that.




Morning said...

interesting review, Thanks for the thoughtfulness.

Unknown said...

fabulous job...