The Last Best Kiss - Young Adult Novel by Claire LaZebnik

The Last Best Kiss

When it comes to love, is there such a thing as a second chance?

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. Back in freshman year she was too embarrassed to admit to her friends that she liked skinny, nerdy Finn Westbrook. Then his family moved away, and all Anna had left was regret.

Now it’s senior year, and Finn is back. Anna can’t believe her luck—maybe now she’ll get the chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But he obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and while this newly confident, adorable Finn is happy to flirt with all of Anna’s friends, he makes 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 . . .

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

“The Last Best Kiss is an adorable YA contemporary that’s got a lot to love. With an appealing romance that delivers on the swoon, laugh out loud moments between friends, and heartwarming and heartbreaking family moments, you’re in distinct danger of reading this book in one sitting like I did.”

- Paper Cuts

“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.”

- Book Angel Booktopia

“Of course, a major theme of The Last Best Kiss is second chances: If they should be given & how. I really liked the exploration of this theme. It could have felt cheesy or cliche, but it never did, because Anna and Finn behaved like real people. I could see the intense and vulnerable conversations Anna and Finn had in The Last Best Kiss happening in real life. In the end, though, The Last Best Kiss was just adorable. It was a tad more serious than LaZebnik’s other retellings, and it was always happy or cute, but on the whole it was just an adorable story.”

- Book. Blog. Bake