Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Trouble with Flirting | guest review from Sam

My first review of this year's AIA was Claire LaZebnik's Epic Fail, and it so charmed me that I'd intended to read her Mansfield-inspired The Trouble with Flirting. Unfortuately, I simply ran out of time and wasn't able to track it down or pick it up; fortunately, twitter-peep Sam Marchello was more than willing to pick up the ball I dropped.
Sam is a fellow YA junkie, Japanese Literature buff, and Labrador Retriever lover. You can check out her bookish adventures over at 'River the TSUNDOKU,' with her partner-in-crime River. Or you can follow her on twitter @merrygodown and watch her be a terrible enabler at people.
But first, you should totally see what she has to say about The Trouble with Flirting.

The Trouble With Flirting is my first foray into Claire LaZebnik's work, and I have to say: she managed to win me over. As a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, I feel like LaZebnik does a great job of breathing life into the characters with contemporary style. While I do not hate Mansfield Park, I admit to the fullest that I found it to be Jane Austen's most difficult book to read. However, I feel like you get all the selfish, neurotic behaviors highlighted splendidly in this novel, just as you do in Austen's classic.

Let's me throw this out there: I didn't feel like anyone is truly likeable in Mansfield Park and this definitely gets carried over into The Trouble With Flirting. Selfishness and popularity are the true motivations of a lot of the characters, except for Franny (Fanny) Pearson. Franny just wants to enjoy what life has to offer and not constantly be reminded that because she's poor and at the bottom of the food chain.

I loved LaZebnik's portrayal of the cast. She reminds us how horrific, selfish and self-absorbed a lot of the characters are, but she humanizes them in such ways that you hate them, but you also understand their motivations and mannerism a touch more clearly. Franny seems like less of a doormat compared to Fanny, as she is able to speak her mind more and push herself to become a stronger, more well versed person, unlike Fanny inMansfield Park, where it takes a good chunk of the novel before she truly finds her balls. I admit though, I love the growth that Austen gives Fanny, because you understand and see how truly hopeless her situation is, unlike Franny, who doesn't recognize that it's hopeless, but rather she refuses to let it become that.

I will admit, I wasn't huge on Alex or Harry. Although there's a love triangle in this story, it's one that I found myself enjoying. Franny is not perfect, she has two boys to choose from, one who is her middle-school crush, and the other who is a notorious flirt. Truthfully, I HATED Edmund in Austen's classic, and I never liked that he simply "realizes he loves Fanny" (to me that comes across more like he simply settles for her), but here we see LaZebnik give Harry a bit more personality, and he doesn't just settle for Franny, but he grows to love and accept who she is. Alex comes across more of a doormat compared to Harry, but I think LaZebnik justifies that behavior for him considering Isabella is kind of a diva, wanting the world to bend over backwards. I love how at the end of the novel Isabella exposes who she really is, and it's so perfectly handled that I actually liked her character a lot in the end.

This may be my first Clarie LaZebnik's work, and first Jane Austen retelling, but I know on both accounts it won't be my last on either front. I feel like LaZebnik did an amazing job being completely true to the source material, while also taking liberties when necessary to make Mansfield Park work in the confines of her story. It has its slow moments, but once the story hits its stride, it soars. I loved LaZebnik's portrayal of characters, I loved how she incorporated it into a contemporary story. The Trouble With Flirting is such an engaging and fluffy read, and I look forward to checking out the rest of Clarie LaZebnik's books.

336 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by HarperTeen
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.

Click the pic to be taken to the Austen in August Main Page! Thanks to faestock & inadesign for the images used to create this button.


  1. Wonderful review! I would love to read this one! I don't hate MP either, but it still at the bottom of my JA list! :) I'm off to listen to my audio book of MP, so I can possibly join the group read. Life is a little busy at the moment though. :/

  2. I haven't had a chance to start this series of books either, but after reading both your reviews I know I'm missing out. I am a Mansfield Park fan so this is just an added incentive to read this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sam.

  3. Great review Sam! I still haven't read this one yet! It sits here beside me. I haven't finished Mansfield Park either. It would be a re-read, but still I don't remember it well enough. I did watch the BBC production of it recently.

    I enjoyed Epic Fail by this author so I really think I'll like this one especially as it sounds like its a character driven novel. You focus on them so they must be well written. I like that you could tell it was a rewrite as well. Since I'm focused on Mansfield Park, I think I'll be able to pick out the story line as well. But, I can't tell from your review which guy she ends up with. Guess you did that on purpose! Still sorry we couldn't do something together!!!


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...