Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: 2010

I heard so many great reviews about Anna and the French Kiss, and after passing it  in the bookstore figuring it was a little too teen romance for my taste, I finally gave in after seeing Stephanie Perkins in person talk about writing. This book is an example of how fantastic contemporary YA fiction can be. It's a love story, but it's chiefly about friendship, which I am totally a sucker for. Because while you can have an epic love story with an undead demi-god who happens to eschew the powers of immortality to fall for a plucky high school girl, sometimes it's nice to read a story about characters who seem like actual people and their struggle to figure out whether they fit into Friends or More.

Anna's father decides to send her to boarding school in Paris to show off his newly-found wealth as a bestselling author (he's described as very Nicholas Sparks-like). Nevermind that it's Anna's senior year and she doesn't know a lick of French. She's devastated to leave behind her after school job at a movie theatre, her best friend, and a burgeoning crush. The second she arrives, she feels out of place, knowing she isn't from the same wealthy stock as most of the other students. Thankfully, a group of friends befriend Anna in a John Green Looking for Alaska fashion, and she gains confidence in her new environment. Slowly.

Etienne St. Clair is the boy that captures Anna's heart - but he has a girlfriend. Also, half the girls in school are in love with him, so Anna spends most of her time trying to ignore any feelings for him, while at the same time, St. Clair seems to be constantly nearby, offering her tours of the city and tagging along with her to movie houses in Paris. They become friends but there's constant tension. The author knows how to write an awkward moment, and it's believeable from both perspectives. Meanwhile, the rest Anna's new friends have their own issues with each other that affect the group as a whole. Family dynamics play into each of their lives; St. Clair's mother is undergoing cancer treatments back in California, and Anna is concerned her little brother is mad that she left him when they were once so close.

Besides all the friendship drama, the characters are frequently funny. Their dynamic together feels genuine, particularly the slowly building friendships with numerous misunderstandings. It's a great companion novel to Looking for Alaska, with a lighter tone. John Green is one of my favorites, so I make the comparison as a compliment. Anna and the French Kiss is such an enjoyable read, I definitely recommend it.


  1. I loved ANNA! It was one of those reads that you just feel satisfied with once you're done. And Ms. Perkins has a way of bottling 'teen' and letting it loose in her work in a very authentic way. And I love, John Green, too! I'm reading PAPER TOWNS right now.

  2. i LOVED Anna too! It's definitely one of my fave books that i've read this year.
    Have you read Stephanie Perkins next book Lola and the Boy Next Door yet?
    i've heard that it's really good.
    i haven't read it yet but it's definitely on my TBR list.

  3. I have not read her second book but I probably will in the near future. I have a lot of books I already purchased to get through first!


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