Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik (The Trouble With Flirting)
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.
I read Claire Lazebnik’s The Trouble with Flirting a few months ago and was happy to see that I had found another author who might give me fun and fluffy contemporaries. Luckily, this book increases the chances that I’ll return to her books whenever I want fluffy fun!
My thoughts of the beginning are a bit fractured because my reading of the beginning was a bit fractured as well. You see, I read this book during my finals week, so there were a couple days where I didn’t actually read anything, including this book. So, there was a short break in the midst of the first chapter. I wasn’t in the greatest mood because of all the stress involved in the fun fun-ness of finals, so I wasn’t in a big reading mood to begin with. So, the fact that I was able to keep pushing through when it was seriously a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” is a very good sign for this book, at least in my opinion.
There’s the romantic arc, there are some side plots, but overall I don’t think there was a huge, overarching plot. Like I said, this is a fun and fluffy book – if you’re looking for a mystery or a strict plot, looking elsewhere. Anna grows as a person, as do other characters, and that character growth is the main “plot” along with the romance, I suppose.
There are plenty of characters to like (or not like, I suppose) in this book! Anna is an interesting character, not too unusual but interesting to read about and from the point of view of. The love interest, Finn, is pretty adorable – he’s a bit of a nerd, but he’s partially outgrown that (at least in outward persona) by the time he shows up in this book. Anna has an interesting host of characters, like a full-of-anxiety best friend, a manic pixie dream girl who’s called out for it (there’s even a John Green reference – it made me kind of giggle), and Anna’s oldest sister, who comes out early in the book and has a small plotline about her girlfriend and acceptance and second chances. Secondary characters are often the best parts of contemporary books, and I’m definitely a fan of these secondary characters, but I was also a fan of Anna, so good characters all around!
There’s a part of the book where the main group goes to a music concert, which was really interesting to read about. I’ve never been to a music concert, so I don’t know how realistic it was, but as a music concert virgin, I thought it gave an interesting description that helped give me a sense of the place. Other than that, much of the setting is pretty normal and interesting enough.
The Adult Situation
I’m torn between saying the adult situation in this is good or bad. Anna’s parents definitely aren’t good parents, but it’s also part of the story, not thrown in so that Anna can go off and have fun adventures without adult supervision. She lives with her father and he plays the bigger role in her life as a result, but that just means that we get more of a chance to see him be a bit of a rubbish parent. He doesn’t connect with his daughter at all, and that’s a part of her identity, so I think I can forgive the poor adult situation because it is acknowledged and is part of the story.
Well, I liked Anna and the adorable Finn, so of course I thought the romance was adorable as well! It was a little predictable, with romantic drama and obstacles that you know are going to be fixed and resolved so that they can get together, but that’s what I was looking for with this book. I wanted a fluffy, fun, and romantic book, and that was what I got.
I can’t remember how close to the end it was, but there’s a particular scene near-ish the end that had me on the edge of my seat, which I was not expecting from this book. You see, I read a large portion of this book while I was stuck at school waiting to catch a shuttle to return home. I was trying to keep an eye on the time so I made sure that I went outside to catch the bus so that I didn’t have to wait another two hours, like I had already been forced to because the bus didn’t wait an extra minute. Anyway, I was so sucked into the story and trying to read faster to see what would happen that I sometimes had trouble watching the time (although I still managed to catch the bus, luckily). So, again, that’s a very good sign for a book. There were some predictable stuff, sure, but like I already said, that’s what I expected, so I didn’t mind at all.
So, all in all, this was a nice fun and fluffy book, as I’ve said many, many times in this review. So far, LaZebnik is two for two with this kind of book, with one more book that I need to check out, so there’s a good chance that she’s a new go-to fluffy author of awesomeness!