Rummanah Aasi
  Stephenie Perkins' debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, has received nothing but glowing reviews from bloggers and authors. Once again the cynic in me wants to challenge whether this book is worthy of its praise. In the last few months or so, I've been bombarded with this book and wonder if its hype raised my expectations for it. Unfortunately, with Ship Breaker, my reaction to its constant praise is anticlimactic. I thought it was okay/good but I didn't love it as much as others. I was afraid that Anna and the French Kiss would result in the same way. I'm glad to say that it didn't and that it has satisfied my cravings for a well done romantic comedy movie.

Description: When Anna's famous, Nicholas Sparks-like romance writer father gained popularity and wealth, he feels it is time for his daughter to be cultured, which of course means to send her to an elite American boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. Anna hates the thought of leaving her best friend and current crush to travel to another continent. Alone in a new country where she doesn't speak the language and feels out of place, she meets the perfect boy but there's only small problem. He already has a girlfriend, but he keeps giving Anna mixed signals. Is he really interested or is he just being overly friendly?

Review: Anna and the French Kiss is a charming, sweet, contemporary romance. Its vivid descriptions of the culturally and historically rich city of Paris reminded me of my trips to the city itself. The atmosphere is romantic yet the character's introspective attitude and voice prevents this book from being to flimsy or overly contrite.
  Anna is a lovable yet flawed heroine. She struggles to find an identity and her niche amongst her elite classmates. Her love for movies resembles my own passion for the motion pictures. While she is keen to observe the flaws of others, she mistakenly doesn't see what is happening right in front of her which is mostly due to her neurotic, over-analysis of everything and her fear to be alone. Interestingly enough, I didn't think Anna had a distinct physical description except for her hair which she dyes and a wide gap of her tooth. She also narrates the book in the first person present voice, which is very unusual in YA literature that I have read so far. I think Perkins does this purposefully in order to get the reader, which in this case let's be honest, are mostly girls who will see themselves as Anna. I couldn't help but notice my teen self think and be like Anna. A lot of her inner monologues mirrored my own when I was a teen, especially when it comes to trying to differentiate between friendship, people who really aren't what we think they are, a crush, and a relationship that is something much deeper.
  Etienne St. Clair, Anna's boy who is a friend and maybe something more, is dreamy yet three dimensional. He is undeniably physically attractive, but I was more drawn to his lay back, charming attitude and his incredible passion toward history. Oh yeah, he also has a swoon worthy British accent. In addition to these attributes, he is also flawed and has insecurities. Like Anna, he is also afraid of change which may result in him being lonely. He dances around the lines of friendship and interest in Anna, which are very chaste and innocent. We can see how he opens up to Anna as well as build walls around him when times get tough. I love the fact that he is uncomfortable with his height and that he bites his nails when he's nervous. It makes Etienne real and makes me wish I had an Etienne of my own. 
  The wide range of emotions and the development of Anna and Etienne's relationship are the best parts of the book. These characters leap off the page and you can't help but get swept away in their drama, waiting on pins and needles whether or not they will kiss or who will make the first move. The annoying questions we plague our teen-selves such as "Does he/she like me? Are we just friends? Did he/she just smile at me? Does that smile mean something?" can become quite annoying yet it works in this book because I felt that it was natural for Anna to feel those things and not forced. I also loved the book's notion that the idea of home isn't necessarily a place but could also be a person.
  While I really enjoyed this book, I did think that the secondary characters were a bit one dimensional. Anna and Etienne have a circle of friends that they spend lots of time with, however, I didn't feel like I got to know them at all. Some of the plot twists were predictable and stretched out, which is why I gave a 4.5 star rating instead of 5. If you're looking for a uplifting, romance that will bring a smile to your face and warm your heart, then look no further than Anna and the French Kiss. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and some crude sexual humor. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    So glad you liked this one as well Rummanah! I just loved Anna and St. Clair though I agree I wouldn't have minded getting to know the secondary characters a little more:) Can't wait to read more from this author! A very lovely and thorough review, I love reading your thoughts!

  2. Thanks, Jenny. I love reading your thoughts too!

  3. Jules Says:

    Thank you so much for recommending this book. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I read it nearly straight through in one sitting. Perfect. *contented sigh*

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails