Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

The Last Best Kiss - Claire LaZebnickPublisher: Harper Teen (April 22nd 2014)
Paperback: 320 pages
Source: Edelweiss
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 3.5/4 of 5 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.


Persuasion lends itself to be adapted in the contemporary (YA) world quite nicely! It’s been a while since I’ve read Persuasion, but it’s easy to make and feel the same connections with The Last Best Kiss. The contemporary take has a really sweet yet poignant atmosphere that I really enjoyed. There were a few things that frustrated me a bit, but it’s more the side characters than the main ones, which The Last Best Kiss still actually does amazingly well with the all side stories.

First of all, I really adored Anna and Finn and all they’re super awkward 9th grade-iness. Finn was so adorable.

You may be smart and like science, but you’re not a nerd.” Then he ducked his head and mumbled something I couldn’t entirely hear.

“What?” I said.

He flushed. “Just … you don’t look like a nerd. Too cute.”

Tell me your heart didn’t melt a little bit there? And so it’s even more heartbreaking when Anna breaks his heart. Despite it being Anna’s own fault, I still really root for Anna, because I mean we’ve all been young dumb teenagers who caved so some sort of peer pressure right? The important thing was Anna actually regretted it, and actually tried to make amends. She didn’t play the victim to just make herself feel better.

The story (like that of Persuasion) actually takes a while for Anna and Finn to have their happy ending. It isn’t just a sudden re-connection, but  it’s watching Finn, despite being angry at Anna, fall for her all over again, as Anna learns to grow and deal with the consequences  of her actions.

On nights when I’m honest with myself, I can admit that Finn Westbrook was the best thing about my ninth-grade year.

But it hurts to think about him, so I try not to be honest with myself too often.

I really appreciated Anna’s growth.

Like I mentioned, this book has a lot of side characters and side stories. For the most part it’s nice to see the friendships and the family stories and all the dynamic. That being said, there are also a few characters that I wouldn’t mind kicking in the butt. For example, Anna’s dad and Ginnnnny. I think Anna sums it up quite nicely with:

People should love whoever they want to love. Even if they’re both annoying. Especially if their both annoying. Because then they’re lucky to have found each other.


Also, Lily. She also frustrated me.

Oscar puts his mouth to my ear. “Here’s the thing,” he whispers. “I love John Green as much as the next gay teen. But the whole manic-pixie-dream-girl thing? It gets a little annoying in real life.

You tell them, Oscar.

I did love Anna’s relationship with her best friends and with her sister Molly. And I liked that we got to see and explore more of the issues around teens these days and not just solely focus on the romance.

Overall, it was a fun and easy read. If you like Jane Austen retellings & Persuasion, this is definitely worth checking out. Props to Claire LaZebnik for making me root for Anna so much that I was actually yelling at Finn for not forgiving her sooner, despite it being Anna’s fault in the first place for the rift. Fact is, people make mistakes,  doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.

[…]But are you sure you’re not just saying that because you’re jealous of him? Maybe a little bit?”

“Anna,” he says, and reaches for my hand, “I’m the guy the rest of the world should be jealous right now.”

{Thanks to Harper Teen & Edelweiss for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Find Claire LaZenik:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the Book:

Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Chapters !ndigo|  Amazon

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik”

  1. Aww yay! I’m so glad you liked this! I agree some of the side characters are annoying, and I wanted to high five Oscar when he said that, because it’s the biggest truth everrr. 🙂 Oh my gosh, I was the same way about Finn forgiving Anna! I understood though, and the eventual happy ending is so much better because we had to wait and agonize. 🙂 Great review Cyn!

    1. Right! Oscar knows what he’s talking about!
      The agonizing makes the happy ending all the sweeter 😉 Thanks Rachel!

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