“But the only truth I know is what I feel when we’re together.” p. 338
Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Books (Penguin)
Anna’s father has decided that she should spend her senior year of high school at a boarding school in Paris. Anna, who doesn’t speak any French and who just wants to spend one more year with her friends in Atlanta, is not happy. But then she meets Etienne St. Clair and suddenly Paris doesn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately, Etienne has one slight flaw – a girlfriend.
I read this book simply because I couldn’t escape the gushing that everyone in the whole world had for it. I had to know what the fuss was but I was skeptical. I probably wouldn’t have picked up the book on my own. The title seemed cheesy to me and it didn’t look like anything more than your standard YA love story. I was wrong.
This is how Anna won me over:
- The Setting: I’ve previously discussed my love for books that take place at boarding schools. And this one goes one better. A boarding school in Paris. A city I’ve always loved to read about (and am now even more excited to visit this summer).
- The Characters: Anna was a fantastic teenage narrator. She seemed real without being annoying. She was neurotic without being crazy. She analyzed everything to death – something that my high school journals will suggest is normal. Josh and Rashimi are the high school couple that is always fighting yet still together that I’m sure we all knew. And Etienne St. Clair. So charming. Such a wonderful love interest. And that name! Don’t you just want to say it over and over (in the proper English fashion of “Sin Clair)? The only main character I could have done without was Meredith. She always just seemed to be there. Not really doing anything.
- The Writing: Stephanie Perkins is talented. The writing was Good. She was able to capture the way teenagers speak without crossing that irritating line where adults can’t read any more. But even better, she was able to capture that feeling of being a teenager. There is a scene in the book in a movie theater. Anna and St. Clair are sitting next to each other, shifting in their seats because they are both so aware of the other person. I reread this section immediately because Perkins did such a fantastic job of capturing that energy and focus of knowing that the person next to you is less concerned with the movie and completely obsessed with where you are placing your arm, hand, leg. A scene like that can make you want to go back to high school.
All I can say is that everyone was right. This is about as good as a YA love story can get. Ben kept teasing me for the smile I had on my face as I read. Thank you, fellow book bloggers, for your gushing.