Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review: The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

Franny's supposed to be working this summer, not flirting. But you can't blame her when guys like Alex and Harry are around. . .

Franny Pearson never dreamed she'd be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she's not, exactly. She's working for her aunt, the resident costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady.

When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can't hurt to have a little fun. But as their breezy romance grows more complicated, can Franny keep pretending that Harry is just a carefree fling? And why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: Flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.

I haven't read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, the novel on which this book is based, but I have to say I really enjoyed this regardless! The Trouble with Flirting is a really cute novel, and I loved the humour in it. With its comical misunderstandings and light romance, this novel takes on the style of Shakespearean comedies, which I found to be really appropriate since the students at the summer program are acting out different Shakespeare plays.

Franny runs into her old friend Julia Braverman while at the Mansfield Summer Theater Program, and she's thrilled to find someone she actually knows. She's even more thrilled with she finds out that Julia's twin brother, Alex, is also attending the program. Franny's had a crush on Alex since the 8th grade, and no matter how much she tries to deny it, she hasn't gotten over it. There's a new guy in town, though - Harry Cartwright. Easily the best-looking guy at the program. But Franny's only got eyes for Alex, until she notices Harry's keen interest in her. The Trouble with Flirting is a hilarious but dramatic novel about love and heartbreak.

Honestly, I don't usually read books like this, since I'm not a fan of chick lit. But I loved this one, mainly because I adored the characters. I could really relate to Franny on account of the whole college issue. In fact, all the students seem to have college credit on their minds. Since I'm kind of in the same situation, I really got them. Moreover, this book isn't at all predictable. I won't say any more about that, in case I give anything away!

Franny is an awesome protagonist - she's fun and amusing, and at the same time hardworking and determined. She's not flawless, and I liked that about her, because I've read a lot of YA books with unrealistically perfect heroines. Franny gets jealous, she makes mistakes, but in the end she gets back on the right track. There were a few moments where I felt pretty annoyed at her, though. The times when she was with Harry but would never take him seriously, acting like it was all a big joke. I guess Harry's reputation made her think that way, but I wish she'd seen his sincerity from the start.

Speaking of Harry, I loved that guy! He's probably my favourite character in the book. He was definitely the funniest. Yeah, he's got a reputation, but he doesn't lead girls on. He lets them know that what they have isn't serious. He's honest about it, and I admire that. I really liked Alex, too. He's more mysterious, and the little things he does for Franny are incredibly sweet. Although, he's going out with Isabella, Harry's best friend, throughout most of the novel, so his indecisiveness about the two girls got on my nerves. But he's still awesome!

Julia is another character I really liked. She's Alex's twin, and they look very alike - dark hair, blue eyes, incredibly gorgeous. Julia initially has a thing for Harry, and she flirts with him excessively, along with a bunch of other girls. When Harry decides that he wants to pursue Franny, Julia moves on to another guy, Manny, who thankfully is a lot better for her. I liked Julia because she was always there for Franny, even when she was jealous of her blooming relationship with Harry. Isabella is a character I have mixed feelings about. Beautiful just like the rest of the girls, Isabella is definitely the most ambiguous one. I couldn't seem to figure out whether she actually liked Franny or not. She develops a relationship with Alex right at the beginning of the book, and she knows how envious Franny is of her. However, Franny is surprised to learn that Isabella is actually quite insecure. She finds this out when Isabella's jealousy shows through her facade, after Alex buys Franny some books she wanted as a surprise for her. Isabella's relationship with Harry is also quite confusing. They're best friends, but have never had romantic feelings about each other, even though they could be the poster couple for a movie. They don't hide anything from each other, and Harry's seen to be very protective of her. I guess their relationship is more like something between a brother and sister, but somewhat deeper. Still pretty confusing, though!

There is a helluva lot of jealousy and misunderstanding in this book, so get yourselves ready for that! I loved how everything was so confusing in the middle but it all worked out in the end. For most people, anyway. The Trouble with Flirting is a great summer-y sort of novel, and is actually quite reminiscent of a few Meg Cabot books I used to read. I will definitely be checking out LaZebnik's other novels, because I loved her writing in this one. I finished this book in a day, that's how into it I was! It's well-paced and interesting, making you want to turn the pages as fast as you can.

*Thank you to Claire LaZebnik for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

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