Book Review: The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

Posted March 21, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnikThe Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HarperTeen on February 26th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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.

4 Stars

The Trouble with Flirting came to me highly recommended by Christina, claiming it was one of those sadly underrated but wonderfully fluffy contemporary reads that I would be likely to like. And she was NOT wrong. This book was super enjoyable and was just what I needed to cheer me up.

The Trouble with Flirting is a modern day YA retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Now, I have not read Mansfield Park, so I can’t say anything about how it was adapted and whether it is close to the original or not. *shrug* But basically, in this retelling, Franny is a high school student in between her Junior and Senior years, who goes to a drama camp to help her aunt who is the seamstress for the various productions the camp is putting out. While she actually has an interest in acting, she’s just there to earn money, because otherwise she would not be able to go to college, as she comes from a poor family.

Now what I can comment on is the drama aspect of this. I was actually in drama club in high school, and I was in a musical production, and I just loved how those people are portrayed. It was extremely realistic, and I frequently flashed back to my high school days and friends I had in those circles who were so similar to the characters in the books. I just instantly connected with the book in that way, and I thought it was hilarious.

The thing about this book is that it’s filled with drama. Almost every character is involved in a different love triangle – and sometimes two different ones. It’s extremely close to what the title implies – everybody flirts with everybody, and the natural consequence is that everybody gets jealous. Normally I would not be able to stand that in books. It’s so much drama llama, but for some reason in this book it just worked. I think it’s partially because of the type of people involved: theater people are just very loose and close with each other, so that made sense to me. And the way that Franny stood within the drama also appealed to me. While she is involved in her fair share of drama, she’s very grounded and independent. She didn’t go there looking for a relationship, but she wouldn’t say no to some summer fun. She looks at the drama the others create and tends to be the voice of reason for her friends. So I just shrugged off the drama and enjoyed the show. It was definitely entertaining.

Now then, I have to talk about the main romance. After all, Franny is involved in her own love triangle. I loved how it built up though, because it took a while for both sides to really set their foundation. I quickly, rapidly heavily fell on one side, however. Oh, my god. Heavy, heavy shippy feels. Everything that Harry did was so funny, light, and yet deeply sincere. I just got him from the first page, and though I could relate to Franny’s hesitance, I was cheering for them very early on. I absolutely adored their scenes together and did quite a bit of swooning. Just yes. Yes yes.

Then aside from the slight abundance of drama, my only other hesitance was how Alex kept being set on a pedestal as the “nice” guy. First off, that makes him extremely boring to me, and second off, no. What he did makes him pretty much the exact opposite of a nice guy, whether he knew what he was doing or was just really naive. This happens a lot in YA, and it annoys me every time.

Summing Up:

Yup, Christina knows my taste in books well, at least as far as contemporaries are concerned. This was super fun and enjoyable and HELL YES to this romance. I am willing to forgive the drama llama in this rare case. I was actually tempted to read Mansfield Park after finishing, however, Christina kept me from making that horrendous mistake by explaining why The Trouble with Flirting‘s ending rocked so much harder. In any case, I’m very excited to read LaZebnik’s other Austen retellings because if they’re anything like this one, I’m in for good times, swooning, and giggles.

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

Fans of fun, flirty books with their fair share of drama.

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3 responses to “Book Review: The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

  1. That GIF you included? PERFECTION. I have yet to read a Claire LaZebnik novel, but this sounds delightful. I do really like that it is set at a DRAMA CAMP (!). I was involved in theater all throughout high school and college, so I think I’d be able to find it relatable too!

  2. YAY! I love being NOT wrong. It’s a great feeling.

    Um, so basically it is and is not close to the original. LaZebnik takes a lot of liberties, which would normally be annoying, but is perfection in this case. Because, in the actual book, Fanny ends up with the more boring guy who also happens to be her cousin. The Harry guy is admittedly worse in MP, but at least they weren’t related. Also, Fanny Price had no backbone. She was awful.

    Bahaha, yeah, I guess there is a lot of drama, but that’s also Mansfield Park. Also, Franny is not a drama llama really. She’s involved but I think she had a nice, inner monologue, rather than one like Elena’s from TVD.

    Alex is totally the Duncan or the George.