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I Belong

Review: The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

Title: The Trouble with Flirting

AuthorClaire LaZebnik

GenreYA Contemporary


Publication Date: February 26, 2013

FormatPaperback, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0061921270 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061921278 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Delightful retelling of the classic Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

Opening Sentence: When Jasper Snowden’s parents divorced, Jasper got to stay in his bedroom in the big house he’d always lived in, while his parents took turns living there with him.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Franny Pearson never dreamed that she would spend her summer at Mansfield Summer Theater Program.  She has always had a love for acting, but this program is for wealthy children and she is certainly not one of those. Luckily (or not so lucky) for her, she lands a job as an assistant costume designer, working with her Aunt.  Sewing the costumes is not only making her money, but it is also giving her a chance to hang out with her long time crush, Alex Braverman.  Franny fell in love with him in middle school, but hasn’t seen him in years.  Being reunited has brought back lots of fond memories for Franny, it’s too bad Alex doesn’t seem to feel the same way.  He is too busy being smitten with the very sophisticated and beautiful Isabella Zevallos. Isabella is from L.A. and came to the program with her best friend, Harry Cartwright.

Harry is gorgeous and flirts with anyone and everyone.  So when he starts to flirt with Franny, she thinks nothing of it.  Harry is a fun distraction while she waits around for Alex to notice her.  Then when things with Harry start to heat up, can Franny keep pretending that everything is all fun a games?  And why is Alex suddenly starting to pay more attention to her now that she doesn’t seem as available?  What’s a girl to do? Pick the notorious flirt that has somehow wormed his way into her heart, or choose the sweet boy that she has crushed on forever?

Franny is a sweet girl with a great sense of humor. She is full of snarky comebacks and fun banter.  But underneath all that sarcasm, she has an insecure side.  Her family life is not ideal, and she has never really had much luck in the boy department.  She tries to protect herself so she doesn’t get hurt, but she realizes that it is better to put yourself out there and take a chance.  She was such a cute character, and I found her really easy to connect with.

Alex is a really great guy.  He is good looking, and is always trying to do nice things for others.  He is someone you can rely on.  Alex is just one of those people that try to please everyone, which isn’t always a good thing. The relationship between him and Franny starts off friendly. They take long walks filled with deep conservations about their hopes and fears.  It was sweet, and full of stolen moments.  I actually really liked Alex, even though he was a little clueless at times.

Harry is strikingly good looking, and he knows it.  Full of confidence, swagger, and charm, no girl is able to resist him.  The few people he lets himself care about are very important to him, and he is very protective. When he wants to be, he can be really sweet and caring.  For most of the book he is flirtatious and never serious until he sets his sights on Franny.  Their relationship is full surprises and butterflies.  He sweeps Franny off her feet, but she doesn’t trust that anything with Harry could ever be real or lasting.  Personally, I loved Harry. His character has a lot of depth that I wasn’t expecting and really enjoyed.

This was a delightful retelling of the classic Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.  I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, and unlike a lot of people, I actually really love the original tale of Mansfield Park.  LaZebnik did a brilliant job integrating the original plot with her own twists and surprises.  I thought that the characters were fun and engaging.  The romance was endearing and very well developed. The writing style is appealing and easy to follow.  This was a light and quick read that I was able to finish in one sitting.  I would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a cute, fast contemporary novel.

Notable Scene:

“I’m sure you’ll have plenty more opportunities—I’m the world’s biggest klutz.”

“Well, I’m not going to hope that you get hurt, but if you do, remember that you’re my damsel in distress, and no one else is allowed to carry you.”

“I don’t remember signing that contract,” I say.

“All the more reason to promise me now.”

“What if you’re not around when I get hurt?”

“Send word. I’ll come running.”

“How big an injury does it have to be? Because sometimes I do this thing when I stand up too quicly and my ankle kind of twists a little—“

“Sounds serious,” he says gravely. “You don’t want to put weight on that. I’d carry you the next time that happens.”

“What if I skin my knee?”

“I’ll carry you.”

“Chipped Toenail?”

“Not worth taking a risk. I’ll carry you.”

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Trouble with Flirting. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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