Two Minute Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Monday, April 14, 2014
Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Genre: contemporary, young adult
Series: N/S
Pages: 320
Published: expected April 22 2014
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3.5/5

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.

This was a pretty cute, fluffy, contemporary/retelling read. Though the ending was a foregone conclusion, it's no less enjoyable getting there with the likeably flawed Anna and the broody but endearing Finn. Even better, The Last Best Kiss works equally well as an independent story and a loose retelling of Jane Austen's popular and well-loved novel Persuasion. Updating the premise for the modern day and scaling down the characters to teens was a smart move, and The Last Best Kiss makes for a great one-day summer read.

The secondary cast have more potential than actual dimension. There are a few close exceptions (Molly), but for the most part, the two main characters garner all the characterization. Anna's evolution is neatly handled and believable -- she ends the story a better person, but she's still far from perfect. There's not much to discuss with a book like this -- either you enjoy it for its cute and adorable factor, or you don't. For me, it was an enjoyable and easy read and would recommend it to those looking for the same.

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