Saturday, April 19, 2014

[Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik]

"The Last Best Kiss"
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Series: None
Pages: 320
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Retellings
Date Published: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To The Last Best Kiss,

Well you were cute, weren't you?  At first you started off a little slow and a little strange for me.  I was worried that I wouldn't care for you at all, but then you threw in a music festival, a shout out to a place I practically grew up in and a fantastic gay boy named Oscar (who made me think that he was named after my spirit animal Oscar Wilde).  I enjoyed the love story immensely, but some of the friend and family antics that you presented got on my nerves.  Maybe it's my fault for never really connecting with Persuasion to begin with, but you just weren't my favorite.  That being said, you weren't my least favorite either.

-The White Unicorn

To be honest I've never connected with Persuasion.  I love Jane Austen's stories, but this is one that no matter how many times I watch the movie/read the book I can't remember the plot.  That could have created some of the disconnect that I had with this book.  I couldn't remember the original and so I went into the book reading it as it's own story.  I know that I'm going to be one of the few, but that's just the way it is this time around.  

I actually really enjoyed the love story between Anna and Finn.  It was my favorite part of the novel, which in this case is a very good thing.  They are pretty darn adorable.  I dig relationships that seem to start from complete indifference and head into "butterfly inducing" love.  In this case they liked each other a long time ago, but it went sour, then Finn shows back up and doesn't give Anna the time of day, but of course, because this is their story that all changes over the course of the book.  I knew where the story was going and yet LaZebnik still gives you that "will they or won't they" feeling with her writing.

I also thought that Anna's art was a really cool element in the story.  The way that LaZebnik writes Anna's feelings on her work and the work itself are fascinating.  I loved the sound of her paintings.  In all honesty if they looked like what I saw in my head I'd want them hanging on my walls.  I also liked how Anna really learned how to stick to her guts through her art.  It wasn't her strong suit at the beginning of the novel and it caused her all this grief over Finn, but her art gives her the confidence to stand up for herself and have her own opinions.

I wasn't a huge fan of the Eliot family.  Anna's dad drove me nuts and Lizzie wasn't any better.  Molly was pretty great though and I liked how her and Anna's sister relationship worked.  It seemed real and authentic.  On the other hand neither Mr. Eliot or Lizzie were authentic to begin with, which was how it was obviously supposed to be.
Anna's group of pals kind of drove me nuts.  Sometimes they were awesome and sometimes I didn't know why she would ever hang out with them.  But needless to say, LaZebnik knows how to write authentic teenage friendships.  It was really nice to see that no matter what, in the end they were all there for each other, even if I didn't enjoy all of their antics.  

In the end this book was a cute, fluffy read that also manages to touch on some pretty big social issues that a lot of high school kids deal with on the daily.  

 3 Unicorns = I liked it but it had it's issues! 

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Not sure if I want to pick this one up, it seems like you were middle of the road on this one. Nothing really jumping out at me from your review that is saying... Go get it Ashley! haha Thanks for the thoughts on this one :)

Ashley @ The Quiet Concert