YA Friday: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Friday, July 01, 2011

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA
Publisher: Dutton, 2010
Source: Library

Anna and the French Kiss starts off with Anna Oliphant furious at her father for making her go to boarding school in Paris. I did have to get over the fact that I can't imagine not wanting to go live in Paris for a year, even if I did have a potential boyfriend and a fun best friend, but anyway... she is dreading the school year and counting the days until she can go home. Until she meets Etienne St. Clair - handsome, charming, (short), British... and taken, by a college girl, no less. However, as Anna begins to maneuver her way through the City of Lights, a friendship grows between her and Etienne that maybe... maybe... maybe? could turn into something more.

I can tell you right now that I was not expecting the effect this book would have on me. I'd heard it was cute, and romantic, and fun. I knew it would be a fun, light-hearted little read. I didn't realize that my face would be glued to the book for the next several hours and that I would finish it in a sixteen hour time period (not that it took me 16 hours to read it, but there were 16 hours from the time I started to the time I finished - and that did include sleeping time). I usually try to be analytical in my reviews, but this is probably going to be a gush-fest. Maybe I will inspire another article about why bloggers are unprofessional (sorry, fellow bloggers, if this reflects badly upon you).

Gushworthy Thing #1: Paris itself. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you are probably aware of my obsession. I love this city, and Stephanie Perkins does a fantastic job of making it come to life. My family heard audible squeals as Anna & co. went to different sites that I had loved during the movie we were watching together "as a family" (don't worry, it is normal for me to read through those). I felt as if I was reliving the city through Anna and Etienne's little adventures. The scene that most stands out in my mind is when they went to Pere Lachaise, the giant cemetery, on Halloween. It is a gloomy place, but gloomy in an elegant, austere way.

Gushworthy Thing #2: The romance. I am a sucker for boy-girl-friendships-that-turn-into-love. When I was younger I always used to wish I had a Best Guy Friend that I could fall in love with someday. (This did happen with my husband, so dreams do come true!) Anna and Etienne's friendship is endearing and sweet. I love that they rely on each other and bring their problems to each other. And I love the romantic tension that pervades everything they do together. I personally do not have the talent to evoke it - I can only refer you to the book itself. It is wonderful in a butterflies-in-my-stomach, can't-sleep-at-night-because-I-can't-stop-thinking-about-you kind of way. This is the ultimate crush book, and reading it took me right back to high school.

Gushworthy Thing #3: Anna herself. I loved this character. She is quirky and unique, assumedly pretty due to the fact that multiple boys like her at SOAP (School of America - Paris), but uniquely so, with a gap in her teeth and a streak in her hair. She has her own interests, loving to write movie reviews on her blog (oh, girl, I can relate) and even going to movie theaters on her own once she becomes more comfortable with Paris. She defends her friend Mer even though they are in a fight. She sticks up for herself. I think Anna is a believable teen, but also one worthy of emulation in many respects. She isn't perfect, but she isn't afraid to be herself, something I think teens need to be reminded of (I know I did).

I also have one Non-gushworthy Thing: Etienne's relationship with Ellie. I really would have liked more information in this part of the story. Etienne is obviously compelled to stay in that relationship for a long time, telling Anna at one point "we've been through loads together." However, we don't ever get a glimpse of what those "loads" are. We rarely see Ellie, and when we do, it isn't in a positive light. I would have like a little more detail about why Etienne stayed in the relationship, and what was so great about Ellie - because Etienne was a fantastic character, and I'm sure there was something good that kept him in the relationship for so long. I also would have liked to see into why she separated herself from her friends so much. There was a slight issue made about Ellie being Rashmi's best friend (another of Anna's group of friends) and how she never talked to them anymore, but I never understood why. This nagged at me a bit throughout the book.

However, overall this book was a delight, a fun adventure as charming as the love interest himself. This really is the perfect beach read, so I recommend you pick it up immediately.

4 stars

PS: Kicking off Paris in July! Hooray!


  1. I totally enjoyed this book. Like you I was glued to it from start to finish!

  2. The best thing about bloggers is our "unprofessionalism"! ;)

  3. I haven't read this yet, but sounds as a sweet, enjoyable read. Great "unprofessional" review:)

  4. Wasn't this such a fun read. I am planning on reviewing it at some point this month for Paris in July too.

  5. Helen's Book Blog - It was so fun! I can't wait to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. I'm so jealous of everyone who got ARCs!

    Ellie - Yay, I'm glad you feel that way too. I love when bloggers get personal, although many people complain about it.

    Pepca - Thanks! It is such a fun read, definitely a good one for vacation.

    Marg - I'll have to look at your review!


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