Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Book: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release date: December 2, 2010
Source: For What It’s Worth Book Tours

Summary: (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 Parisâ??until she meets Ã?tienne St. Clair: 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 Annaâ??and readersâ??have long awaited?

First impressions: Anna has a really strong voice that captures your attention immediately. She reads like an authentic teenager without bombarding you with emoticons or a crazy amount of slang. She’s immediately likable in a real way. I want her to be my new best friend.

Lasting impressions: I. Love. Etienne St. Clair. So if Anna was my new best friend, we’d be having some words. Or be engaging in some light fisticuffs. Because Etienne? Is perfect.

Conflicting impressions: Despite the hype and general ga-ga fest over this book, I did have a few issues with it. There were times everything felt a bit too easy for Anna. She moves in, and becomes insta-best-friends with her next door neighbor, who just happens to be the first person she meets. Talk about lucky!

The nasty mean girl character, Amanda, is a bit over the top for my tastes. I don’t mind having a girl who is nasty, but Amanda has no reason to be nasty, and in a school of only 100 people, I don’t think a girl could afford to be that unpleasant. Girls are bratty and cliquish and snobby, yes, but I don’t think they can get away with highway robbery while in the close confines of an incredibly small boarding school. I could be wrong, but in my experiences Amanda seemed not that realistic.

Overall impressions: From start to finish, this is a very solid book. Anna is funny, unique, smart, if not a bit dependent. Her flaws make her more honest to the reader, so I forgave her for being occasionally obtuse and ignorant. I mean, she wants to be a film critic and is obsessed with movies, but doesn’t know that Paris is like film Mecca? Really?

Etienne St. Clair, Anna’s love interest (and pretty much everyone else’s in the book, too – he’s the Mary Sue for dudes), also can be a bit aggravating. He’s in love with Anna from the minute he sees her, yet draaaaaaags out his relationship with Ellie. In the end, we’re not given much of an explanation for why he holds on to Ellie for so long, other than that we needed more obstacles for Anna.

Similarly, Anna runs into some sub-plots that really didn’t do much for me. She overreacts to an incident involving Bridgette, her best friend back home, only to have it resolved in the end with a Big Reveal that ties to every other problem she and Etienne have been struggling with. Oy. She also dates a guy who turns out to be a Big Fat Jerk and spreads vicious rumors about her around school. It was very Skeet Ulrich from The Craft movie, and induced some major eye rolling from me.

What was amazing, however, was how nicely things all came together in the end. Anna really grows as a person from spending time in France, despite her major hesitancy at the beginning. She starts out as a terrified little girl, and grows into a mature young woman. She learns to trust herself as a capable adult who can go out in the world and make things happen, and she also learns to trust her feelings. She has to navigate the difficult world of teen boy, trying to decipher the truth from her imagination.

Seriously, haven’t we all been there? There’s nothing more anxiety-riddled than figuring out if the boy you like does indeed love you back. It’s a hundred times worse when you’re friends, because you don’t know how to reveal yourself without losing him forever if he doesn’t feel the same way. Stephanie Perkins captures that back-and-forth flirting with such ease that I never wanted to stop reading.

Bottom line? This book is an adorable love story between two kids just trying to figure themselves out. It’s funny, sweet, and refreshing. The characters are interesting, the setting is perfect, and it was a blast to read. I think everyone would love this book, and you should RUN to go get a copy.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Want a different perspective? Check out the other reviews from the For What It’s Worth book tour.

14 thoughts on “Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  1. I really enjoyed reading this review. Everyone just gushed about this book so I was really interested to read your reservations about it. I think I will still read it though. Not normally a book I would pick up, but I'm curious about the writing style.

  2. Teehee, The Craft reference! Love that movie. Great review, Logan! My poor Mary Sue Etienne *sigh* lol I think he was scared most of the time, of breaking it off with what's-her-face and starting something new with Anna. But it killed me that he wouldn't just do it already!

  3. You too? I have yet to see a negative review. I'm actually scared to read this book. I don't know if my Delirium bunker will be good enough to protect me if I don't like Anna and the French Kiss! I love your Mary Sue for dudes description. 😛

  4. "…he's the Mary Sue for dudes" :DHaaaaaa! I really enjoyed reading this book and i'm glad to see u did too! & I agree with Smalls, i have yet to see a negative review for Anna.

  5. Squee! Every review for this book just makes me want to run over to do a reread so I can gush FOREVER. Your issues with it make perfect sense, but I'm glad to hear that it all came together well enough for you to love anyway. 🙂

  6. teehee, I can't wait to meet Etienne St. Clair. I don't know why I've been putting this one off for so long. Despite the flaws you bring up, it really does sound like a truly fantastic read. I hope the hype doesn't affect me too much.

  7. LOL! I was kind of expecting the rating to be lower because of the whole obtuse Mary-Sue/Skeet Ulrich unnecessary obstacles bit. You are a crafty lady with the words and the more words. I'm not sure if the 'wrapped up nicely' thing annoy me or make me happy. Guess I have to read to find out. Now you have made me official the last person on the planet to have not read this book. Thanks a lot, Logan. P.S. And never mind my weird comments. I sometimes try to imitate my favorite BtVS characters and fail miserably.

  8. @Midnyte Reader – This isn't my typical book, either, but I think I enjoyed it so much partly because of its setting. J'adore Paris!@Jess – Yes! It killed me. By the end I was getting seriously anxious.@Smalls – I know, I know. I really did try to temper this review, because as much as I loved it, it's not the perfect book (what is?). If someone wants to read fangirl squeeing, there are plenty of reviews for that.@Jenni – Me too!@Diana – The no negatives made me nervous at first, but it really is just a great book.@Stephanie – Despite my issues, I really did love this book so much. Perfect love story.@Aylee – I may have actually liked this book MORE if I hadn't read all of the great reviews. I'm skeptical of that much love. Still, I just loved this book!@Missie – I haven't seen Buffy. I had to Google "BtVS" to see what you were talking about. I am a loser.

  9. LOGAN!*gasp heard round the world* *throw self of tallest building in TX* This is an atrocity! How could you? That's it. I'm sending you my precious DVD collection and you are NOT coming out of your room until you have watched all 7 seasons. School be damned! P.S. Sorry to scare you but Buffy fans get pretty crazy.P.P.S. I'm not kidding. If you want to borrow them I'm send them right out.

  10. Yay! Another Anna lover. I adored this book. I want to read it again. I agree with all your reservations and would add another – I thought Anna and Etienne's fathers were too flatly evil. The book's imperfections are unimportant in light of the well-written plot, loveable characters, and heart-stopping romance.

  11. Oh my Gosh, you loved it!!!!*squeals* I'm so happy! I had hoped you'd like this one. And I do I know what you mean about St. Clair *lol* Oh, do I. I can't wait for LOLA!Asher K.

  12. You have not seen Buffy??? *gasp*OK back to the book – the only problem for me was not knowing Etienne's reasons for acting like he did. I know there was some explanation but he aggravated me just taking off over & over. I wish there was more of a glimpse into his thoughts. He was so obviously in love with Anna.Glad you enjoyed it.

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