ARC Review – The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

18602796Title:  The Last Best Kiss

Author: Claire LaZebnik

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: 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….

Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I love Jane Austen. I used to be someone who use to hate Jane Austen, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found a larger appreciation for her novels than when I was younger and forced to read her in high school. It’s crazy to go from hating an author to loving them, but growth is always an import aspect to consider as a reader.

Persuasion is one of the few Austen novels I liked, but didn’t love. I appreciated a lot of what the story represented and Jane Austen writes some wonderfully ugly socialites. Last year I readMansfield Park and wasn’t fond of it, though I saw its merits. I also read The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik, a re-imagining of Mansfield Park and I was in love with it. So it was fitting that when I got an ARC for The Last Best Kiss, I knew what to expect.

LaZebnik makes Austen accessible. She makes the works easy to understand, and they are even enjoyable not knowing what the original work is that she is borrowing from. Anna Elliot is in love with Finn Westbrook, and after one kiss, the two are separated. Broken up with and alone, Anna refuses to forgive Finn for leaving her (petty, I know) and embarks on trying to find her place in the world when the only boy she has ever loved has ditched her.

There’s a lot of things about that description that I can see being a real turn-off for a lot of people, but this is a retelling ofPersuasion and that is very much a part of the story. While I wasn’t huge on Anne in Persuasion, Anna just reminded me of one of those pretty-ugly girls who actually starts to get it together when she realizes how much she’s being abused by her socialite “friends” (if you can call them that). Interestingly, she doesn’t pine for Finn — she’s downright pissed. But there’s a part of her that knows Finn was taking hold of his own dreams, and it keeps her from entirely hating him completely.

I loved the chemistry between Anna and Finn when they were together. There wasn’t this lovey-dovey nature with them, in fact, it’s a lot of aggression and heated conversation. Yet, they respect each other and understand that they worlds they come from are so different and yet you know what? Screw those worlds of difference! Who needs them? And let’s face it: Anna treated Finn pretty badly, but it’s hard to convince yourself to simply unlike someone when they are the only thing you can think about.

There’s a lot of wit and humor in this book, and I think it’s one that can be appreciated even without having read Persuasion. I didn’t quite find this one as memorable as The Trouble With Flirting, but all of the components for a fun and fast read are there. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a genuinely funny contemporary read that has a romance that isn’t quite what one would think on the surface. Overall, there’s lots of fun to be had in The Last Best Kiss.

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