Synopsis 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.
Where to start, where to start – firstly this is a read in one sitting book so be warned you won’t want to put it down until that last page is turned. I cannot tell you how much I love this book – Claire LaZebnik manages to capture the themes from the original classic while presenting it in such a refreshing way as to make it more attainable to today’s teens.
Told in first person narrative from Anna’s point of view, her characterization is a stroke of genius on the author’s behalf. Anna provides such wonderful insight into the workings of the teenage mind capturing the need to fit in while struggling to find yourself and your individuality. The insecurity a teen feels at standing out, it takes an emotionally strong person to have the confidence required to go against the norm – even if it is just wearing your hair differently. A large part of growing up is overcoming the fear of not being accepted for who you are; reflected poignantly within the narrative.
At times I wanted to shake Anna for being so cowardly and selfish but I could also empathize with her, the rawness of being an emotional hurricane as a teen still fresh in my mind even at my age You can see that Anna’s actions are hurting her just as much as Finn, to use another weather simile, it was like an avalanche building momentum with each action.
Anna’s insecurities are exasperated by her family situation; constantly seeking approval from her family including a shallow, judgmental father and sister. It is the portrayal of emotions within the story that make it exceptional in a relatable/realistic and often heart wrenching manner. Regret is one of the most difficult and poignant of emotions to deal with, second chances happen so rarely they should be snatched up when the opportunity arises. Anna is a wonderful example of this, the reflection on Anna’s behalf adds depth to the plot as well as to the emotions it evokes.
The Last Best Kiss is far more than a swoon-worthy romance showing that the issues in Jane Austen’s time are still prevalent today only instead of social class being divided by just money it also encompasses the many cliques that make up high school today (jocks, geeks, populars, etc).