Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Book: Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Pages: 372
Genre: Young Adult
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Book Depository
Preview: On GoogleBooks 
Publication Date: December 2nd, 2010
How I Got This Book: Library
Description (From Goodreads): 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 √Čtienne 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?

Anna and the French Kiss is nothing short of amazing. Honestly, I was a little afraid to read it because nearly  everyone has loved it. I am not usually one for the sugary sweet teen romance books and I was afraid that’s what Anna would be.

While there were definitely those cutesy moments, they were never unrealistic. A lot of teen rom-com books place so much stock in the “romance” portion of the book that the characters suffer. What I loved about this book is that the characters stood for themselves. Anna is incredibly well-rounded and extremely easy to relate to. I saw so much of myself in her character and I think a lot of girls will see themselves in her too. She is in a word – real. Anna is insecure and overwhelmed by the sprawling city of Paris. She doesn’t speak French, so she refuses to order anything complicated at meal time. She is intimidated by her classmates and she feels like she doesn’t belong. She also has so many quirky little traits that really bring her to life. She wants to be a film critic and has a huge passion for old movies. She is a little goofy and is an extremely caring person. which is what really gets her into trouble.

Almost immediately after Anna arrives in Paris she falls for one of her new friends, St. Clair. I mean, who wouldn’t? Perkins went all out with this heartthrob. Our heroine never stood a chance. He’s devastatingly handsome and excruciatingly charming. Oh and did I mention he has a British accent?  He’s also quirky and caring and extremely down-to-earth. I just have one question… where can I find one? 

Anyways, unfortunately for Anna, St. Clair is taken. Because she is a good Southern girl, Anna decides the best plan of action is to hide her feelings for him. As the book and their friendship progress , Anna does a lot of maturing. I love when we see characters grow up throughout the story and Anna really comes into her own. She isn’t perfect by any means – she makes plenty of mistakes along the way. But that’s what makes her so relatable, you cannot help but cheer her on as the story unfolds.

The plot line reminded me a lot of those old romantic comedies where the characters are always misunderstanding one another. I am assuming this was done on purpose, since Anna is obsessed with those old movies.  Much like the romantic comedies, it’s almost painful for the reader because it is obvious how perfect Anna and St. Clair are for one another.

Like I said before, there are a number of “cutesy” moments peppered throughout the novel. Please don’t be put off by this, because they are done so well. Perkins has such a talent for understated charm – all of the Anna/ St. Clair moments are almost downplayed. It’s not a book full of hot make out scenes  and tons of heat; it takes much more of a realistic approach. Because of this the reader is able to see how well the characters actually mesh together. Their relationship is an actual relationship – they have discussions, they tease one another and they take care of one another. 

Anna and the French Kiss was a remarkable debut. Perkins’ set the bar so high with this one – I can only hope that her next book is half as good. Anna's story is honest, heartwarming and endearing.  She is easy to relate to and St. Clair is the perfect match for her. if you haven’t read this book yet, you NEED to. No excuses , go find a copy right now.  I don’t care if you have to beg, borrow or steal it from someone (well, don’t steal) but you simply must read it!

 Favorite Quotes

 "I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I'm not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it."(pg.310)
"I'm a little distracted by this English French American Boy Masterpiece."(pg. 173)
"Girl scouts didn't teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys."(pg. 140)


flashlight_reader said...

I'll admit, I had no interest in reading this book. It's still sitting in my TBR box. However, your review makes me reconsider my decision. The book sounds much more interesting now.

I'm going to link this review to my blog for my students to see. Who knows when I'll get around to reading this book. (Sad, I know.)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Ok, I don't like the cover, the premise is so-so for me, and usually I would HATE a book like this, but every review I see for this is five stars! I'm beginning to think I should finally review it. Great review! :)

Rowena said...

Wonderful review! I loved this book so much and agree that the book was realistic, I'm so glad that the characters didn't suffer in this one because I so enjoyed getting to know both Anna and Etienne. It was such a great book!

Ailsa said...

I really want to read this book, I've heard so many good things about it. I wonder if it's out in the UK yet? I'll have to see if my library will get it.


Must Love Books said...

This book was beyond amazing. I love how everyone posts different quotes from the book in their review, and they are always amazing quotes.

Mandi said...

I loved this book! Great review, I need to review it myself....Anyways. I loved Etienne!

Mandi @ The Book Nymph

Jennie said...

I loved this book so hard!

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

This book is one of my favorites! Great review!

Cialina at said...

I love this book!!! OMG. Your quotes just make me want to read it all over again.

Brooke said...

I'm not one who reads strict YA romances, but felt I needed to read this, too, based off all the positive hype this has received!

It did turn out to be a very cute, down to earth read!

Great data for Maid Service San Antonio said...

I have no appropriate words to do justice to how much I loved Anna And The French Kiss. This book is cute, intense, romantic, funny, dramatic and so much more. Even if you're not into contemporary novels, I definitely recommend you check this one out. I think it might just change your mind!

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