Romancing YA - Claire LaZebnik

by 1:00 PM 6 comments
Welcome to Romancing YA!

Big massive humongous shoutout to Hannah Reads Books for helping me organise such an amazing event! Unfortunately she is having blog problems and couldn't be a part!

Our next stop for the Romancing YA event, on this blog, is Claire LaZebnik!

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Valentines Day Plans

My characters rarely celebrate Valentine’s Day on the pages of one of my books.Valentine’s Day feels like something you celebrate when you already know what your feelings are, and to me, that’s when the story gets less interesting. If you know that the person you like likes you, you’re kind of done. It’s all the moments leading up to that discovery that are exciting.

But let’s enjoy the destination instead of the journey for once. I’m going to swoop down and visit the main characters of my first three YA novels—Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and the upcoming The Last Best Kiss, and see how they would celebrate Valentine’s Day together once all the drama has passed and all that’s left is the love.

Elise and Derek (Epic Fail). Derek has all the money in the world to spend on Elise, which is why he would never just run out and grab an expensive gift for her—it wouldn’t be meaningful. But because they both spend their lives surrounded by other people—Elise with her enormous family, Derek with the household staff and his parents' fawning fans—he realizes that nothing would be more romantic than a truly quiet, truly private dinner, just the two of them. He spends the afternoon cooking and sets up a small table and two chairs out back, near their pool. He strings Christmas lights in the trees and lights a candle on the table. When Elise comes, he leads her out there, sits her down, and serves her the food he cooked himself. And when their wonderful, quiet, intimate dinner is over, she gives him her present: a scarf she knit herself, in his favorite shade of blue. He didn’t come from the kind of family where people knit you things, and he loves it. They end up in his parents’ screening room, watching It Happened One Night, which Derek tells Elise is the most romantic movie ever made. She’s sure he’s right: but even though the movie’s playing in front of them, they don’t actually waste their time together watching it.

Harry and Franny (The Trouble with Flirting): Funny, flirtatious, and mischievous, Harry is of course determined to make Valentine’s Day special. He and Franny live in different states but that doesn’t stop him from driving the eight or nine hours from LA to Portland to surprise her at six o’clock on Valentine’s Day—exactly the time he told her to be home so they could FaceTime. She’s stunned and delighted to see him at her front door, where he presents her with the biggest velvet-covered box of chocolates she’s ever seen. He whisks her off to dinner at one of the best restaurants in Portland, and then they go for a late night romantic walk. When he brings her back to her house, she says she made him a package of small gifts and homemade treats—but mailed it. It’s probably waiting at his house right now. “It’s all your fault,” she says. “I planned ahead so you’d get it today. And now you ruined everything.” “I’m sorry?” he says and she throws her arms around him and tells him she wants him to ruin every holiday from now on exactly like he did this one. 

Anna and Finn (The Last Best Kiss—due out April, 2014): Anna tells Finn she’s going to take him to his favorite place, but it has to be a surprise. Right after school, she drives him downtown, ending up at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. Finn says, “You were right. This is my favorite place." They have a snack in the basement cafeteria and then wander up to the insect room to look at all the enormous, exotic bugs. Finn gets so excited describing the way they eat, mate, and die to Anna that she has to hide her laughter: he’s like a ten-year-old in his enthusiasm. Later, they sit in the rotunda (Finn points out that this is where Peter gets bitten by the spider in the first Spiderman movie) and Finn gives Anna her gift: iridescent earrings made from the wings of a silver beetle. The museum is closing, so they leave and go to their favorite taco place where they eat messy chicken tacos and then after that they go for frozen yogurt, because frozen yogurt has been a big part of their relationship from the very beginning. And then Anna takes Finn home—but they spend a long time saying goodbye before he finally gets out of her car.

So I know what my characters would do for Valentine’s Day. I just don’t know why my husband and I will do for ours. Any ideas?

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The Last Best Kiss - Claire LaZebnik

Released: April 22, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
SynopsisAnna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

~ Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ The Book Depository ~

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The Author...

I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, went to Harvard and moved to LA.  (My name was Claire Scovell for a large part of all that.)  I’ve written five novels for adults, Same as It Never Was, Knitting under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, and Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts.  I’ve also published two YA novels with Harper Collins: Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting (due out in winter, 2012/3). With Lynn Koegel (who’s absolutely brilliant), I co-wrote  Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Lifeand Growing up on the Spectrum: A guide to life, love and learning for young adults with autism and Asperger’s.  I contributed to an anthology play called Motherhood Out Loud, and have been published in The New York TimesSelf, Vogue and other magazines.
I live in the Pacific Palisades with my husband Rob (who writes for “The Simpsons”), my four kids (Max, Johnny, Annie and Will) and too many pets to keep track of.

~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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Mad Claire

Claire Blennerhassett

Reader, Blogger

Twenty-something | book-blogger | tea-drinker | procrastinator | wannabe-writer | student


  1. I did nothing, but it was fine anyway!!

    I LOVE Anna and Finn's date - it's so sweet and different and I love how it's laid-back:)

    Thank you :)

  2. I stayed home a read!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. I acted like the loner that I am and stayed in all day mostly due to the snowpocalypse and read! I pigged out on cookies and hot chocolate and enjoyed being out of school for practically an entire week!


  4. I went out with a group of friends to a new restaurant. Best. Food. Ever.

  5. I stayed in with my BF and made dinner. It was really relaxing.Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. I asked my hubby to bring me Sonic (fast food). Lol He did, and also brought me roses & candy. We stayed in & watched TV. Lol


Ooh yes, comments puh-leaaase :D