The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik | Book Review

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

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik | Book ReviewThe Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
Published by Harper Collins on April 22nd 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Girls & Women, Social Themes, Dating & Sex
Pages: 384
Format: ARC, eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780062252296

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 . . .

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik is another one of the books I read while waiting around to go into labor. When I say waiting around, I mean I was due March 30th and so basically that was my last day at work because I expected my child to be born at anytime around then. At this time, I picked all my books based on a whim. I decided on this book because I have a few by this author and retellings of Persuasion are pretty much my favorite.

Claire LaZebnik’s The Last Best Kiss loosely follows Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The main character is Anna Eliot. She was best friends with Finn Westbrook. The two carpooled to school together with Anna’s older sister. Finn would show her cool scientific things on his cellphone each day. Eventually they sort of became more than friends, but secretly. Then Finn asked her to a dance, and he wore the wrong clothes so Anna dumped him and broke his heart.

Now, years later he is back in town. Also, he’s aesthetically pleasing now apparently. So, Anna can’t stop thinking about the relationship that was. Unfortunately, he seemingly wants nothing to do with her. And so, really this story revolves around Anna pining for him in the hopes of eventually winning his affection again.

Anna Eliot is not my favorite version of this Persuasion character. I feel like she’s sort of a douchebag. Okay, so I understand that it is realistic to decide you don’t want to be seen with someone because they show up in a dorky suit. Kids can be shallow like that, however, I am still not a fan. Granted, she does mature when she’s older. Still, how much of that is from Finn now being good looking? I did like seeing Anna’s family life though. Her parents are both pretty self absorbed and divorced. Her dad has custody. Also, he’s dating one of Anna’s older sister’s friends. Anna’s other sister is in college and she’s got a secret which comes into play. Her other sister, FYI is awesome. She’s the best character in the whole book.

Unfortunately, I just was not feeling the chemistry between Anna and Finn. I know that The Last Best Kiss is a contemporary YA romance, but eh. The sparks and feels just weren’t there. I think that I compare adaptations of this story to my favorite, For Darkness Shows The Stars and this just doesn’t compare. Like, there isn’t even the greatest letter ever. However, younger fans are bound to like this, especially as a low pressure introduction to the gist of Jane Austen.

Overall, I am not super impressed with The Last Best Kiss but I am still willing to check out more of LaZebnik’s books. I do think that this book is a good lowkey read if you just want fun and gossip and will they won’t they type of story – minus the tension. It’s especially great for younger readers. However, just know that there are better adaptations out there.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I really liked LaZebnik’s last book, Things I Should Have Known. Sorry to hear this was not the greatest, because the description had me sold.

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