The Last Best Kiss

( 13 )

Overview

Jane Austen comes to modern-day Los Angeles in Claire LaZebnik's imaginative take on Persuasion, where seventeen-year-old Anna Eliot finds out whether there's such a thing as a second chance when it comes to first love. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic contemporary tale.

Anna is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost ...

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The Last Best Kiss

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Overview

Jane Austen comes to modern-day Los Angeles in Claire LaZebnik's imaginative take on Persuasion, where seventeen-year-old Anna Eliot finds out whether there's such a thing as a second chance when it comes to first love. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic contemporary tale.

Anna 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—and he wants nothing 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 . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/28/2014
In ninth grade, Anna and Finn had a sweet, secret romance. Finn, an awkward and scrawny science geek, wooed Anna with his unselfconscious enthusiasm and unusual charm. After Anna's friends ostracized Finn, Anna distanced herself from him, only to be heartbroken when Finn moved away. Three years later a buff, handsome Finn returns to town, and Anna's friends are drooling over him. Meanwhile, Finn gives Anna the cold shoulder, so she turns to her distant cousin Wade as a possible romantic interest. In her latest update of an Austen novel (following Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting), LaZebnik uses Persuasion as the framework for a story of love forsaken, then found again. While romantic entanglements between cousins may have passed during Austen's time, Anna interest in Wade—however distantly related—may sit awkwardly with some contemporary readers. In keeping with Austen's plot, Finn spends the better part of the novel acting coldly toward Anna, which does little to recommend him as a romantic interest for her in the here and now of the story. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alexis Hurley, Inkwell Management. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Anna Eliot has had the past three years to regret her treatment of Finn Westbrook, at the time a fellow freshman, geek, and Anna's secret boyfriend. When confronted with her friends' opinions of Finn, she pretended not to know him and broke his heart. Now he's back, and Anna hopes to get a second chance to apologize and maybe something more, but her former beau is no longer interested. The protagonist has more to worry about besides her romance troubles, however. Her sisters Lizzie and Molly are both off to college, and she is left living with her narcissistic father, who may or may not be dating one of Lizzie's friends. Then a weekend musical festival changes everything for Anna and Finn. A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, Anna's first-person narrative is filled with humor and honesty. While the pair's love story is the main focus, plotlines involving secondary characters are woven together well. References to drugs, alcohol, and sex make this suitable for teens looking for a realistic YA romance novel with relatable characters—especially fans of LaZebnik's previous Austen updates.—Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062252289
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 214,150
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV-writer husband and four children. She has co-authored two books about autism with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel (Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum). Her previous novels include Knitting Under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts, Epic Fail, and The Trouble with Flirting.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Guess who didn¿t realize this was a reimagining of Jane Austen¿s

    Guess who didn’t realize this was a reimagining of Jane Austen’s Persuasion? This lady. I’ve only ever read one of Austen’s novels and it wasn’t that one. I know, I know. I should be ashamed. But I digress.

    This was a cute, quick, easy to read young adult romance. Finn was absolutely adorable, in 9th grade and again when he and Anna are reunited. Ninth grade Anna was shallow and allowed herself to be influenced by her ridiculously superficial friends, as teenagers often do. I’m glad we only get a brief glimpse of 9th grade Anna because I didn’t like her very much and my thoughts on the book would likely be very different if she’d stuck around too long. Twelfth grade Anna is more likable, even if her friends aren’t. Of course, now that Finn’s cute, they all want a piece of him. Ugh. If one thing drives me nuts in books it’s bad friend behavior. This book is riddled with it.

    Anna’s friends, for the most part, drove me up the wall. There were a lot of characters to keep straight and other than Anna, Finn and perhaps Oscar, I really couldn’t be bothered with the others. They were too self-involved for my liking. Anna’s family was a giant mess. The only one of them I liked was her sister Molly. What I didn’t like was the way Molly’s family reacted to her coming out of the closet. Their sister Lizzie and their father were both jerks. I wasn’t a fan.

    All in all, I thought this was a cute book. I had some problems with the characters, but those problems didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. I liked seeing shallow Anna grow into someone who was more complex person who learned from her mistakes and thought about how her actions truly affected others.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    U ppl r sick

    OMG WHAT THE HELL OS WRONG WITH U GAWD!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    Question

    Could you describe Britney's character again, please?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Cale Fox

    (No that's not me, that's Kato... Yeah I know him. Besides I swear with *'s and talk in first person, that b*tch ain't me, but I know him. Sup, Kato)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Tomas

    He slams her hips back down with force, his co<_>c penetrating deeper than before, filling them both with rae pleasure as he gasps and brushes his lips to hers

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    To Mason, in the book below

    ((Can I RP Becca?))

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Michael

    (Okay, repost what you said before)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Michael

    He sprints into the bathroom, barging into Samantha's stall without realizing it was in use. He dropped his pants and boxers, then turns around and sees Samantha, his eyes widening. His thick eight inch cock is erect from the need to go to the bathroom, he reaches back to unlock the door but finds it jammed, and the stalls are too low to crawl under.*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Samantha

    "Annie? What are you doing in there?" She opens her stall, straightening her skirt. "The teacher's been looking everywhere for you, you dummy." She lightly rasps on the door of her stall. "C'mon, open up... Are you okay? I was worried something bad happened... Nevermind the fact I also reaaaally had to pee." She giggles.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2014

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
    17-year-old Anna has never gotten over the boy that she dumped in ninth grade because her friends thought he was below her. Now Finn is back though, and Anna is upset when he doesn’t seem to have forgiven her, and is instead flirting with her friend.
    Will Finn ever forgive her? Or will he just date her friend instead?


    This was an okay YA contemporary romance, but it just dragged a bit for me.

    Anna was an okay character, but I really wished that she had a bit more of a backbone. She couldn’t possibly admit something that made her slightly different from her friends, even when it was something important to her, which really annoyed me.
    Finn was also an okay character, but I really wished he’d just get over himself, and forgive Anna. Okay, what she did wasn’t very nice, but if he really liked her he should have stopped trying to punish her and started trying to find a way to be together.

    The storyline in this was okay, but for me it was just too slow. It was all talk and no action, and it seemed to take forever for anything to happen. I wanted more excitement, I wanted more dilemmas and awkward situations, and instead we got wonderings and other inconsequential stuff that didn’t really move the story along.
    There was romance, but it was quite brief really, we got a little bit at the beginning and a little bit at the end, and that was it basically.
    The ending was okay, but it just took so long to get there, that I was kind of glad that I was at the end.
    Overall; okay story, but the pace dragged a bit.
    6.25 out of 10.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    3.5/5 stars This was a cute read about learning from your mist

    3.5/5 stars

    This was a cute read about learning from your mistakes and learning about who you are and what really matters in life. I definitely agree with the blurb above about Claire having an authentic teen voice, and I feel she did a commendable job of creating a realistic story about first loves, heartache, and learning from your mistakes and not being so quick to judge and dismiss because of the fear of what others will say.

    Pacing: The pacing on this one was a bit off. I felt we got off to a really strong start, and then kind of went downhill towards the middle where things seemed a bit linear and boring, and then really went strong again toward the end. I just felt a bit of a disconnect in the middle of this novel, as things weren't really happening fast enough to move the initial plot forward.

    Storyline: I really enjoyed the main storyline of seeing how Finn and Anna changed from when they knew each other freshman year to now. Things can change a lot in 3 years and they certainly have. Anna feels horribly for how she treated Finn and has never really gotten over that. Finn, on the other hand, has spent his time hating Anna (or trying to anyways.) She humiliated and hurt him and that's not something he can just easily let go of, even with her apologies. I did like that we got to see what happened between them initially, but it also made it hurt that much more seeing how they acted towards each other now, knowing they really had something special. I didn't realize how great of an impact Anna's family would have on this book. They play a pretty significant role, which I didn't expect. I expected the book to be more about Finn and Anna trying to mend fences and build bridges with one another, but we really don't get that until the last half of the book. I think that's what lost me. Sure, I expected some animosity on Finn's end when he returned, but I didn't expect him to shut her out as long as he did. I thought they would slowly incorporate themselves back into the others' lives and form a new relationship from there. Instead, Finn ends up giving a lot of his attention to Lily, a friend of Anna's. I haven't read Jane Austen's Persuasion, so I'm not really able to make comparisons between the two.

    Characters: There are SO many characters in this novel, aside from Finn and Anna. You have Anna's sisters and her father, and a pretty large group of friends, as well as a few other characters thrown in also.

    I'll start with Anna, as she's our MC. She's a sweet character and I really did like her, even though she made some bad choices at the beginning of the book concerning Finn. But you know what? I GET IT. I really do. I remember being in a similar social situation as Anna my 8th grade year. It was very hard to finally say, you know what? Eff it. I'm going to hang with who I want and I don't really care what anyone thinks of me. At 15, insecurities run high and Anna didn't want to hurt Finn, but she was so undecided as to what she should do. She knew if her relationship with Finn came out in the open her friends would make fun of her and she was too afraid of the fallout that might come after. Face it. Being a teenager is PETTY. She hated hurting him and has carried that guilt to this day. He completely surprised her and she found herself enjoying hearing his random facts and seeing his pictures he'd pull up on his phone. Now, she's caught because she still cares about him, but he won't give her a second glance.

    Finn was a great character. I was a little angry at him for not giving Anna a second chance right away, but he was hurt and I get that. He returns looking completely different. Instead of his bulky glasses he has contacts and he is taller, leaner, and more athletic looking. Simply put: he's pretty hot! Even though Anna sees this, she isn't superficial about it. She doesn't pine over him because he's cute now, she genuinely misses the way this sweet boy made her feel and the excitement he would have to show her things. He was a bit harder to read, as he doesn't wear his feelings on the heart of his sleeve. He's pretty into Anna's friend Lily, who marches to the beat of her own drum and is unique and exotic in her own way. He is drawn to that in the beginning, liking that, here was a girl who did what she wanted and didn't care what others thought of her.

    I didn't really like Lily to be honest. She seemed too over the top for me. It was more of a cry for attention, than it was she was an actual individual. Her twin sister, Hilary, is a bit more subdued and is also crushing on Finn pretty hardcore.

    Lucy, Anna's best friend, was sweet and made me laugh at how obsessive she was about her grades and school work. I like her dedication but there were some points where I was like, girl. Loosen up! Oscar was also a lot of fun. I felt for him, as he always seemed to be feel like the odd man out because he's into guys. Still, he provided some good comedic relief.

    Anna's family gets the award for most dysfunctional. Neither of their parents really wanted to be parents, so their mom let their dad have full custody of the girls, only seeing them occasionally. Anna's dad doesn't really click with Anna or her oldest sister Molly, but instead focuses his attention on Lizzie, the middle daughter. Lizzie is a bit stuck up and I didn't really care much for her at all. She's very self-involved. Molly, is the exact opposite. Her and Anna are close and I liked seeing the two be there for another during some hard times. I didn't like Anna's dad at all. He pretty much ignores her except for when he needs her to be present for a function. I hated how he acted around Ginny, Lizzie's friend, and now an assistant volleyball coach at Anna's school. That was one really messed up relationship (if you can even call it that).

    Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was a cute read, despite the lull in plot I felt towards the middle of the book. This book really does a great job of showing how different Anna's life is like without Finn in it and how she regrets letting him become the one that got away.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Last Bes

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
    Publisher: HarperTeen 
    Publication Date: April 22, 2014
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: eARC from Edelweiss




    Summary (from Goodreads): 




    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.




    What I Liked:




    The first thing I thought when I finished reading this book: I really want to read Persuasion now. Honestly, I thought I had read Persuasion at some point - apparently not. But now I want to read it, so see from where this book got its roots. I absolutely adored this book! It's really cute and sad and wonderful and poignant and did I mention wonderful? It's worth repeating. I've never read any of this author's books, but I must say, I really liked this one!




    Anna's love life is a bit of a disaster - in her freshman year, she broke Finn's heart, and he moved away with his family. Three years later, he and his family moved back, and he won't give her the time of day. Now she is heartbroken, and she knows it's her fault that he hates her. It's not his fault that she refused to dance with him three years ago, because she cared too much about what others thought. Or that, three years later, he becomes interested in one of her friends, Lily. Or that she wants him back, but there is nothing she can do about it.




    I recently read To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, and let me tell you, that book BLEW ME AWAY. I'm not one for contemporary novels, but that one was so good. It's amazing how I chose that one, and this one, as two of the spring contemporary novels that I would give a chance - and I ended up loving both of them. That made me really happy.




    This one deals with Anna and her broken relationship with Finn, her relationship with her sisters, and her relationship with her father. I like how many sub-stories this book had - it made this book less about the romance (which is automatically the first thing that one thinks of when one looks at this book), and more about the story and journey of a girl. 




    For the majority of this book, the relationship between Finn and Anna is not a happy one. It's not like Finn is particularly pleased with Anna - she broke his heart and made him look like a fool. And Anna knows better than to hope that he is not angry with her. Finn acts very polite but distant with her - nothing more personal than that. This was sad, but at the same time, I totally understand Finn.




    And yet, I found the progression of the second-chance relationship really beautiful. It's very subtle - not much can really happen physically, when Finn is practically dating Lily (a friend of Anna), and Anna is trying not to show her continuing interest in Finn. But eventually, it becomes clear that Finn never really lost interest in Anna, despite the fact that he is interested in someone else.




    As for characters, I really liked how well LaZebnik characterized and developed each one. There are SO MANY, but all of them were unique in their own way. Like, I'm able to tell you something different about each character - that's not always easy! My favorite was probably Lucy - I can relate to her the most, in terms of relationships and academics.




    I like how LaZebnik has the family life as a major part of this book. Anna and her father are practically strangers. Her mother doesn't put much of an effort to be in her life. Anna's oldest sister, Molly, is in college, as is her second older sister, Lizzie. Molly is a great big sister, but Lizzie seems a bit shallow and preoccupied with silly things (in my opinion).




    LaZebnik incorporates a very real and authentic teenage voice - her writing style really lends itself to how a teenager would seem in real life. Of course, every teenager has a different voice, but LaZebnik really captures a teenager's personality and being in this book. Honestly, I would never do some of the things that the teens in this book partake in (including Anna), such as smoking weed (oh, but how you've tried, Victor), but LaZebnik definitely has a good grasp what goes on in a typical teenager's mind. 




    I'm pretty pleased with the plot of the story - I was never really bored or disinterested. I definitely want to check out Persuasion, after reading this book, to see how the two match up.




    What I Did Not Like:




    The only that sort of bothered me was the way how everything wrapped up perfectly. I can't say anything without giving away serious spoilers, so I'm not going to describe exactly what I had a problem with, but the climax and ending seemed a little too perfect, in terms of how things ended for Finn and Anna. Like, things happened a little too conveniently, right? Or maybe not, I don't know. Maybe it would have happened for Finn and Anna anyway.




    Would I Recommend It:




    Hmmm, well, this is another contemporary novel that I really enjoyed, so YES! I'm in a shock, a little, because I don't usually enjoy contemporary novels (and yes, I do read a good amount of them each year). Maybe the cute yet subtly deep ones are the ones I like. 




    Rating:




    4 stars. I'm so glad I chose this one, of all of Harper's spring contemporary novels! I told myself that I needed to take at least one contemporary novel from their uploaded spring contemporary titles.. This was the perfect one, in my opinion!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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