Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Contemporary
Format: Purchased Paperback
Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken–and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?
This was such a cute book with romance, angst, friendship, and a theme of loneliness.
I’ve heard a lot of rave about this book for a long time now, and I was always curious as to what all the hype was about so I finally got to it and now I understand.
This was a really cute YA contemporary that held my interest from beginning to end. The plot was pretty straightforward about love and relationships, but it also dealt with friendship and loneliness as a bigger encompassing theme.
The story follows Anna, a seventeen year old girl who is sent off to study abroad for her senior year of high school in Paris. Where any other teen would be excited, Anna wasn’t because of her crush on a coworker, as well as leaving her friends and family behind. But, she goes anyway and slowly starts to make friends at her new school.
And of course the main love interest is introduced pretty early on and the first thing Anna notices is his hair. And then she slowly starts to notice other things about him – his crooked bottom teeth, his height, his nail biting habit, his eyes – and it’s like her heart knows nothing else.
It was cute and filled with angst and longing and I could totally understand this thinking back to my teenage years.
Anna, as a character, was actually fairly fun. I like how the story was narrated in first person through Anna’s eyes and that she enjoyed so much around her as time progressed. I thought that incorporating her passion of movies was actually nice because it’s not very often you read about a girl in YA who’s into movies like that (she wants to go to college for film review, which is neat). I thought that at times she was a little obsessive over whether or not Etienne St. Clair actually liked her or not, or if her feelings were weird, but I think part of that was just her growing a bond and friendship with him.
She had her own family drama going on: her father is a rich author who’s made cheesy novels and had movies based off of those novels; her mom and little brother live in Atlanta Georgia; her best friend babysits her brother, etc. When she describes some of the things that happens around the holidays I think that she’s just complaining, but then again, we were all teens once and we all did the same thing, so I couldn’t fault her for it.
Otherwise I thought that she handled a lot of situations pretty well and that she and the relationship she formed with Etienne was natural and progressive, albeit a bit strenuous.
Etienne is an American/French/British dude who was born in America, raised in London, but has a French name. It was kind of confusing at first, but he grew on me soon enough. I thought that he was fun and charming and flirty, and that he was a really great friend. He could come off as overly protective sometimes, but he had feelings for Anna and wanted to defend her in certain situations (and that’s totally fine because in certain situations I was glad that he did). Though his back and forth thing with his girlfriend and his feelings was irritating, I got that with what was going on in his family life he didn’t want to be alone and change things so suddenly.
I liked that he asked Anna permission before kissing her and didn’t force anything and it was all natural and flowing. That was probably my favorite part because it was SO long awaited. So cute.
I thought that the friendships that Anna formed were important, too, and even though they weren’t seen in depth, there were still bits and pieces that shone through that showed that her friends do care about her and that even if they make mistakes that things can be mended. I wish that the friendships could have been seen just a little bit more in depth, but I did enjoy the bits we got.
I really enjoyed this book and thought that even though a lot of it was angsty and whatnot, that it was worth it in the end. Though there was fighting and bickering, all friends fight every now and then, and eventually they make up.
I think that the point of the loneliness is that, when you’re young and in love, that feeling can really encompass everything in your life and it can be hard to function when change is introduced. I think that Perkins handled that theme well and that it was shown in a way that seemed realistic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and though my biggest peeves were probably the back and forth drama with Etienne, I think that this was a really great and solid YA contemporary.
I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and recommend it!