Thursday, August 15, 2013

[Review: The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik]

"The Trouble With Flirting"
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Pages: 336
Genre: YA Contemporary, Retellings
Date Published: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format Read: Received from ARCycling 


Franny's supposed to be working this summer, not flirting. But you can't blame her when guys like Alex and Harry are around. . . .

Franny Pearson never dreamed she'd be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she's not, exactly. She's working for her aunt, the resident costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady.

When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can't hurt to have a little fun. But as their breezy romance grows more complicated, can Franny keep pretending that Harry is just a carefree fling? And why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: Flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that Mansfield Park is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, but I haven't read or watched it in forever.  That being said, I was as excited as a small child sitting on Santa's lap when I got my hands on a copy of this book.  I definitely lets you know that it is based on Austen's classic novel, but also takes some different turns.  I mean, there aren't things like marriage proposals or war or affairs that ruin marriages.  I mean it is set in High School for goodness sakes.  But Mansfield itself makes an appearance.  It's like "hey I'm a college called Mansfield, wonder where that name came from..."

LaZebnik gives us all the things that you love about the story, but tweaks it in ways that makes it available and relatable to teens!  Plus, it's just so darn cute that if the book had a face, you would want to pinch its rosy cheeks.  

I loved that acting and the kind of drama that goes with it played a large role in this book.  A whole load of teens from all over audition to participate in Mansfield College's acting program and our main girl Franny ends up going, not as an actor, but for her summer job helping her Aunt make costumes.  Of course Franny and her Aunt don't get along the best, even though they can still tolerate each other.  But Franny doesn't mind much, because she gets to eat with and interact with the other kids in the program, when she's not sewing what they are all going to be wearing on stage, that is. 

She quickly realizes that her old pal Julia and Julia's sexy brother Alex are in the program, which gives her an in to the "it" crowd.  Of course there are a slew of other cool kids that mesh into their group.  Lawrence, Isabella, Vanessa, Marie and our other fellow of the novel Harry.  The friendships and awkwardness that happen during the book were depicted well.  Sure it was a little over the top, but I enjoyed the craziness of all of these guys lives.  The drama world can be vicious and it was a great plot tool.  Plus you got to learn about some really interesting versions and settings for Shakespeare plays.  That's always a plus!

Of course there was a triangle.  Yeah, the love kind.  But, there was even one back in the Austen novel, so it worked really well.  I liked how LaZebnik was able to take a triangle with really adult themes and give it the high school once over without loosing much.  I think it got a little over dramatic at times, but you just had to let it go and then go with it.  Plus, Alex and Harry weren't always what they seemed to be either.  The way the romance was weaved kept you interested in what was going on.  It had the epic summer camp feel to it.  The kind of romance that would be over too soon, but was still worth reading about.

And Franny, well Franny was pretty great, even if she was sometimes really frustrating.  I happen to like when a character frustrates you a bit and then gets all their ducks in a row by the end and you think that they're pretty great by that point.  What's that called?  Character development?  Yeah, that's it and Franny had a lot of that going on with her character!  She made you cringe and then made you want to give her a high five.  All in all I dug it.

So, would I suggest this to Austen fans?  Yes, yes I would.  But even if you've never touched anything of Austen's in your life, it's still a darling book.  It's full of figuring out who you are and what you want.  It's a delightful summer camp story that will make you want to go hang out with a whole bunch of actors and it's just a load of good old fun!

         4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Anonymous said...

I love Austen's literature, that kind of 'shy' romance she depicts in her novels and the English society of her time - I just find all of that beautiful. Usually, I'm not a fan of books based on classic novels, but the way you talked about this one made me curious.

Nicole said...

"Of course there was a triangle. Yeah, the love kind." haha this made me laugh! I fall into the category of not having much familiarity with Austen's work but I do like a cute read, especially in the summer. I'll put this on my summer reading list :)

Shane Morgan said...

Great review. I now am really looking forward to read this one. its been on my shelf for a while now :)

Laureen (Ms. Bibliophile) said...

I've never read Mansfield Park, but this sounds like such a fun book anyway. And there almost always seems to be a love triangle! Still, I definitely want to read this one at some point. Thanks for sharing your review!

Jasprit said...

I never knew that this was based on an Austen novel, I adore her books, so definitely know that I will have to give this one a try especially as you enjoyed it so much. Great review Christianna! :)

Megan R said...

I haven't read Mansfield Park, but now I want to read both it and this one!