Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary YA
Hardcover: 372 pages
Genre: Contemporary YA
Hardcover: 372 pages
ISBN: 0525423273Summary from Goodreads:
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
- Overall rating: 9/10
Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss is blissfully romantic, sweet, and funny! I loved so much about this book, but before I start raving about its excellence, I must make a quick confession. It took me way too long to get around to reading Anna and the French Kiss, and I took my time in picking it up for the silliest reason ever. I had heard so much positive buzz about it that I was afraid it could not possibly live up to the hype. Kids, don't be like me. Don't let glowing reviews scare you away from amazing books. And if you don't own it already, don't wait another second before buying Anna and the French Kiss! It is made of awesome and exceeded all of my expectations. Also, it is under $10 at The Book Depository and Amazon right now. Just FYI. ;-)
What I Liked:- Um... all of the words on all of the pages. Okay, I'll try to be slightly more specific...
- I loved that the characters feel genuine. Anna and her classmates (and former classmates and former co-workers) all have flaws and realistically complex relationships and personalities.
- Every character has a distinct voice. Meredith doesn't interact with Rashmi in the same way that she interacts with St. Clair. And St. Clair doesn't talk to Anna the same way he talks to Josh. If you covered up the names associated with any line of dialogue on any page, I bet you could still tell exactly who said what to whom just by their distinct ways of interacting with one another. I adore that.
- This story is totally in harmony with its setting. Some books have vividly drawn atmospheres, allowing readers to thoroughly immerse themselves in the sights, smells, and flavors of a particular location and time period. Other books have richly imagined characters that pop off the pages and make readers laugh and cry along with them. This book has both.
- The pacing is perfect, so Anna and the reader fall in love with Étienne and Paris simultaneously.
- Anna is such a dynamic character. She grows and changes and learns from her mistakes and keeps moving forward right to the very last page. Her perspective on virtually everything in her life shifts over the course of the year, but she isn't simply redefined by the person (or the place) she falls in love with. She is still very much herself by the end of the book, just a wiser, more independent, more confident, and perhaps more forgiving version of herself. I found her likable from start to finish, and I think she is proof that protagonists don't have to be generically good or utterly bland and static to feel like an 'every-girl' character to whom we can all relate.
- This book is filled with tension, and not just romantic tension. From friendships, to familial relationships, to romantic entanglements, every relationship in this book captures realistic tension and conflict. Even her relationship with Paris itself is rich with tension and conflict. Anna deals with jealousy, frustration, fear, and longing while navigating the streets of Paris and while navigating her increasingly complicated relationships with her old friends, new friends, family, and potential boyfriends. I loved that she doesn't always make the easiest choices or the kindest choices, but she always makes believable choices. I enjoyed following every step of Anna's journey from the moments of frustrated anger to the moments of impressive clarity.
- Étienne St. Clair ... what can I say about that boy? He is a charming and witty history buff who loves his mother. And his sexiness doesn't depend solely upon his more obvious charms like his British accent or his perfect hair, it is in his crooked bottom teeth, his shorter-than-average stature, his tidy room full of books, the way he bites his nails, and his willingness to wear the unfashionable stocking cap that his mum knitted despite his friends' objections. It is also in Point Zero, in his enthusiastic support of Anna's passion for films, in the way he is there for her when she needs encouragement or distraction, and in the way his eyes light up when she says his name. I can't say for certain when he won my undying allegiance, but it may have been the moment he first said "Fo' shiz" and made me burst into laughter in the middle of a quiet room.
- I am such a sucker for best friend romances, and this particular story has so many heart-racing flirtatious moments and so many emotionally intimate moments that it feels like watching two people fall in love in deliciously torturous slow-motion. It is beautiful, sweet, flutter-inducing, heart-breaking, nerve-wracking... and did I mention romantic?
- The plot element that I worried could stand in the way of my being able to fully adore this book, the fact that the boy Anna loves is in a serious relationship with someone else, was handled so honestly (and so painfully) that it did not stop me from loving Étienne or from relating to Anna.
- I loved that the end of this book is conclusive without feeling like the end of Anna's story. Instead, it feels like a wonderful beginning.
What I Wished:- I wished that Stephanie Perkins had already written ten more books because Lola and the Boy Next Door (9/29/11) and Isla and the Happily Ever After (Fall 2012) seem too far away.
Anna and the French Kiss is a sweet, funny, and romantic story about friendship, growing up, and falling in love. If you are a fan of contemporary romance or sweet coming of age stories, then you will want to check out Anna and the French Kiss. If you would like to learn more about Anna and the French Kiss or Stephanie Perkins' upcoming companion novels, please visit her website, blog, or twitter.