Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: The Trouble With Flirting

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. Quoted from Goodreads


Every once in a while, I just want to read a cute, straight up chick-flick contemporary romance, which makes The Trouble with Flirting just about perfect. Plus it's loosely based on Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, which is also an excellent book (I mean, it's Jane Austin, need I say more?).

I absolutely loved this adaption.  I enjoyed Claire LaZebnik's Epic Fail (a retelling of Pride and Prejudice) but I felt it followed the story a little too closely.  Don't get me wrong, it's a classic for a reason, but it made the book just a little too predictable for me.  Mostly I wanted to see how she would modernize a particular scene or idea (like the horror of Lydia's elopement).  The Trouble with Flirting takes all the bones of Mansfield Park and creates a completely different creature, and I loved it.  I loved how it was set at an acting camp and how all the major characters were there, but then she twisted everything in a way that kept things unpredictable.  I won't tell you exactly how she twists the story, but I sort of love what she did with it.

I also really liked Franny (of course, the author had to change her name. I mean, Fanny?  Can you imagine?).  She was smart, rather sarcastic, hard working, with a good voice, and her own insecurities that make up who she is. She wasn't perfect but she was good and sincere and owned up when she made mistakes.  She's the kind of person you could absolutely be friends with.

Then there's her two love interests. I've read Mansfield Park, seen the movie, so it should have been obvious who I was supposed to cheer for, right? But she did such a good job of painting the two characters.  I started totally Team Alex. I mean, he's the equivalent of Edmund in the book, so no brainer.  But then I started to fall in love with Harry.  He was funny, sweet, and a maybe a little overly dramatic and a huge flirt, but I loved reading about him, and I adore what Claire LaZebnik did with both of their very different characters.

But it's not just a book about one girl and two boys.  There are a whole handful of other characters I found to be a lot of fun.  I liked seeing which characters stayed true to Mansfield Park and which were totally different.  For example, I loved how Mrs. Norris, re-imagined as Franny's costume designer aunt, is redeemed   She's still a bit harsh and follow the rules, but she's also a rather sympathetic character by the end.

Basically this is a light, fun, cute book, absolutely a 4 star contemporary romance, and just what I was looking for.  If you like Jane Austen retold or just funny moments and quirky characters, you need to check this out (just ignore the cover.  I don't really thing it's doing the book any sort of service, and it was a much cuter story than the cover portrays).

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