Book Review – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
January 10, 2015
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?
This isn’t normally a book that I would pick up to read (and I actually had the opportunity to get a signed copy at the Anderson’s Young Adult Literature Conference last September, and I chose not to…..which will probably horrify a reader or two), but it has gotten so many rave reviews out in the book blogging world that I thought I would give it a shot.
I will say that this is a book I would have LOVED when I was in that 12-13 age range. Perkins has an easy flowing style of writing, and it is a quick read. She creates a strong desire in her reader to see Anna and Etienne end up together, and keeps you on the edge of your seat with hope that somehow it will all work out (well I would have been on the edge of my seat at age 12, but at this point in life, I kind of had a feeling it would all work out). This book is all about falling in love, in its most innocent and pure form, which is very endearing.
The setting, of course, is amazing. Who doesn’t love a book set in Paris! I loved the detailed descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of the City of Lights. The characters are extremely well-developed, and you want to see all of them be happy and successful despite some of their choices and obstacles in life. Perkins evokes such a strong sense of hope and love that you can’t help but be drawn into the story.
A couple of my favorite quotes that helped Perkins elicit the desired reactions from her reader (I think we have all identified with these thoughts at some point in our lives):
“The anguish of being so close to what I want, and it still being so far away”
“How many times can our emotions be tied to someone else’s – be pulled, and stretched and twisted – before they snap? Before they can never be mended again?”
With the love story being the focus, Perkins does not maximize some of the other storylines that could have made the book a little more gritty and realistic (a verbally abusive father, a mother fighting cancer, an egocentric father, a cheating boyfriend). They do add some angst to the story, but only in the context of the main relationship growing. I also became a little frustrated with the lack of communication skills between Anna and Etienne (although at that age, we all had a lot of room to grow in this area).
Overall, this was a pleasant read for me, but it was not earth shattering (but like I said, I think this is a PERFECT read if you are looking for an innocent teen love story).
What did you think of Anna and the French Kiss? How do you feel about YA romance novels as you age?