Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is a book about love and written with lots of amour .
About Anna and the French Kiss
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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Let me first start the review by saying ‘AWWW’ getting straight to it Anna and the French Kiss is the sort of novel that makes me ‘squee’ and type in unnecessary capitals. Do you like to read about kissing cute boys? If you answered the question with a yes, then is for you!
Review of Anna and the French Kiss
Basically the story is of Anna Oliphant who is enraged after her father demands that she goes to live and study abroad at the School of America in Paris for her senior year. Anna can’t speak a word of French, misses her best friend Bridget and little brother Sean, and just wants to go home. But then she bumps into Étienne St. Clair. Can this boy be just what’s needed to change her mind?
Excuse my cheesy, cliché, and frankly uninspiring synopsis. I doubt there’s a description that will make this not sound like your average teen romance novel, but I assure you it isn’t. Anna and the French Kiss reminded me why I love reading — because I love that feeling of becoming completely absorbed in a story, caring deeply about its characters, and never wanting it to end.
Anna and the French Kiss is a debut novel by Stephanie Perkins which encompasses everything that could be asked for in a contemporary romance. It has the spark between two people, a slow and rich relationship build, great side characters, hilarious dialogue and writing, and a subtext of important and deep issues.
What starts the book off with a bang is the protagonist. Anna is an every-girl with a heart for cinema and a lack of knowledge in French. She’s not a farcical personality, and her character doesn’t rely on obvious traits to come across as unique. Her voice in the writing is so humorous and delightful that she comes off as just simply a good character. She’s not majorly spunky or shy or mean or kind. Anna is simply Anna. Her character is so well defined which is such a pleasure to read.
St. Clair is just as enjoyable and complex a hero. Short, sexy, and intelligent men are hard to come by in YA and romance, but for St. Clair, it works. He’s written with an air of wit and eloquence about him, yet he’s still so much a teenager and has his own set of problems like Anna. The way he would interact with her and try to be moral despite his feelings for Anna growing made for excellent tension and showed how his character was legitimate. I particularly found his need for a sensitive friendship to be a big turn-on.
Most teen romance novels focus on the Love-Now-Questions-Later mentality. Anna and St. Clair blatantly have crushes on each other, but they start off as friends. There are countless scenes where this relationship slowly builds and expands over time, but it never feels rushed. Their fun quips and scenes made me feel warm inside.
Anna and the French Kiss is one of the few books I’ve like where the romance isn’t part of the story — it IS the story. I adored Étienne St. Clair instantly. Although we get to find out a lot about Anna outside of her complicated relationship with Étienne — her personality (e.g. her OCD), her attitude towards her friends and family, and what she has a passion for in life — Étienne is constantly at the center of the story. Even so, we still get to see Anna shine. She’s a fantastic protagonist: feisty and extremely funny. I enjoyed how believable the relationship was. Anna and Étienne start to fall in love after getting to know each other for months and it’s was beautiful thing to read.
The plot of this book basically boils down to romantic misunderstandings, which are, naturally, my favorite sort. Can the whole book be solved by one, good, honest conversation somewhere around page 40? Yes. But these characters are human. That’s why it takes every single character a whole damn novel to get their crap together. And it’s so much damn fun. The dialogue is witty and charming, the characters are all intelligent in the way that real teenagers are.
Part of why this book is so appealing is that it really does have a wish-fulfillment element. There’s enough conflict and character development and excellent writing to prevent it from being fan fiction, or something, but it’s still the kind of book you want to live in. You want to be Anna so, so badly. Basically, I’m hoping one day I hit my head hard enough that I hallucinate living in this novel, because again: why is this not my life?
After this looooog review all I can say is I cannot explain just how…enraptured I was by this book. I really can’t. I can go on and explain every little detail I picked up, but it’s so hard. It’s like the textbook definition of an awesome book. Your mixture of the romantic comedy and the romantic drama into such a fun journey between two meant-for-each-other characters in this is flawless. This is one of those books that I wish I could have written simply because I admire it so much. Go grab it now!
“Why do I care so much about him, and why do I wish I didn’t? How can one person make me so confused all of the time?”