{ARC} Book Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

March 3, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnikThe Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
Series: Standalone
Published by HarperTeen on 2014 April 22
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 374
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

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 was torn between giving The Last Best Kiss a 3 or 4 star review.  But in the end, I opted to go for the latter because I really liked the book.  It’s a cute love story with wonderfully developed characters.  Yes, I know that the story is a cliché what with the famous girl humiliating the nerdy guy.  But Claire executed the story in a manner that is poignant, fluffy and sweet. Considering that I prefer angsty love stories, The Last Best Kiss really took me by surprise.  And that alone is a good enough reason for me to be generous with this review.

The Last Best Kiss follows the story of Anna Elliot who prefers to listen to what her friends say rather than following the desire of her own heart.   Three years ago, she met Finn Westbrook and although his physical appearance didn’t come up to Anna’s standard, she still found herself liking him more and more each day.  Yet, she chose to humiliate the poor guy because Anna was too afraid that her friends might hate her for dating a guy who’s not only a nerd but a loser as well.

I really hated the old Anna.  She was not only immature but very superficial as well.  But she redeemed herself by accepting that losing the love of her life was her fault entirely.  She actually owned up to her own mistakes and constantly apologized to Finn for her mistakes.  Following Anna transform from a bitchy 15-year old to a carefree 17-year old was a very realistic experience for me.

The other characters were also adorable and I didn’t have a hard time distinguishing them from one another.  Considering that there are so many of them, I found it very easy to determine who’s talking in a certain scene.  And the way LaZebnik portrayed the teenagers here was perfect. Anna and her friends were just crazy and they’re just basically, well, teenagers.

The other thing that I liked about The Last Best Kiss is the romance.  Claire Lazebnik handled it very well.  The reconciliation between Finn and Anna was gradually developed.  I like that Finn didn’t immediately forgive Anna and he made her work for it.  And I like that Anna continued living despite the regret and the pain that resulted from her mistakes.

I have gripes about this book, however.  I’m not going to give you the full details but Claire used a plot device that everything just fell into place conveniently at the end.  I was expecting that there’s going to be a tension between Anna and a certain friend due to the fact they like the same boy.  But then Claire manoeuvred the whole thing without subtlety.

I also have a slight issue regarding Claire’s tendency to describe in exhausting detail what each character is wearing. I mean, it would’ve been okay if she’s only doing it with the central characters. The problem is, she’s doing it with everyone else.  It made me feel that I’m reading a fashion magazine.

Lastly, some of the sub plots of The Last Best Kiss served more as fillers than a relevant part of the overall story.  I just wished that the author had put more effort in knitting everything together.

Overall, the Last Best Kiss was a pretty decent story with well-developed characters that would certainly speak to the teenager in you.

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