Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Published: December 2, 2010
(372 pages, hardcover)Summary: 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?
--My thoughts: I'm the first to admit that I scoffed at the cover and title of this novel. In fact, I remember deliberately ignoring it at B&N because i figured it would be a meaningless, forgetful novel. But I couldn't have been more wrong! Anna and the French Kiss was sweet, genuinely romantic, and hilarious! I loved the way Perkins writes, and will definitely be picking up any other novels she writes. Anna was an honest, lovable protagonist and don't even get me started on St. Claire; he was adorable, (almost) perfect, and believable. The writing sounded just like a teenage girl, but less annoying, and simple. And the story line was absolutely outstanding: well paced and (sorry for my lack of diverse vocabulary) realistic. Not to mention I now have an unhealthy obsession with Paris.
--So, Anna starts out your average girl - who just so happens to be moving to Paris for her senior year. First of all, I loved how Anna was actually reluctant to go to Paris. Not many teen girls I know would not want to go to the most romantic city in the world. And second of all, I love the fact that the story is set in Paris! Okay, I'm sorry for being so cliche girly-girl, but I would be stoked to go to Paris. And one of the things I found most endearing about Anna was her total lack of interest in anything Parisian. Another one of the things I loved was how clever Anna was, along with her new Paris friends. Her personality was funny and likable and I just loved hearing her thoughts and her adventures.
--Okay, so obviously romance was a huge part of Anna and let me tell you, it was amazingly well written and executed perfectly. St. Claire and Anna's relationship is anything but rushed, but its always incredibly sweet and overall totally believable and ROMANTIC! Perkins definitely knows what she's writing about, and I can't tell you how many times I was biting my nails, hoping for something to happen. And even when the story got slow, or I didn't agree with the characters' actions, I was never disappointed or bored. The story was perfectly paced and definitely one of the sweetest novels I've read in a while.
--Feel free to skip to the next paragraph. This one is dedicated to how completely and totally in love I am with Étienne St. Claire. Oh my sweet Lord, did this boy have it all. Not only was he English (which meant he said adorably strange expressions and had a swoon-worthy accent) but he was sweet and caring and amazing. He was funny, sensitive, and had his flaws. In fact, my favorite things about St. Claire were how many quirks he had. He was realistic, and i thank Stephanie Perkins for giving me yet another fiction boy to fantasize about.
--I've been gushing a lot. I'll try to slow it down. Normally, I'm not a contemporary romance fan. It tends to be slow, or way too rushed. But Anna's story line was not only believable (here we go with that word again) but the perfect love story. St. Claire and Anna are meant to be, and I really felt the heat and tension behind their friendship. It captured the way friends can get caught between closeness and more-than-friends status in a way that felt honest and vulnerable. Plus, the Paris backdrop made everything seem even more magical and the way Perkins described everything left me wishing desperately I lived in Paris. Lastly, I loved the secondary characters too. I won't get into it, since this review is already too long, but they were perfect(ly flawed) in their own ways.
--I laughed, cried (because I'm a huge wuss) and awww'ed all over the place during Anna. I finished it in one day (not because it's short or I'm an amazingly fast reader) because it was so enrapturing I just could not put it down for the life of me. It was difficult letting go of these characters, even if I was completely satisfied with the ending. From the first hilarious page to the last sigh-worthy word, overall, Anna and the French Kiss was a refreshing, great read, and I'd recommend it to any teen or adult readers looking for a great, unforgettable romance. Two words: Je l'aime!
--Covering the Cover: I gotta admit, I didn't love this cover at first. But I love it now. It's probably just because I love the story so much.
Overall Rating: 5 stars