Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: December 2010 by Dutton Juvenile (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne 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?

Anna and the French Kiss is one of those books that I waited forever to read because I thought it wasn't my thing. And it's not really, it's out of my comfort zone but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy it, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. It's one of the most highly recommended YA contemporary romances. And now that I've read it, I understand why. Anna and the French Kiss is just so likeable.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the world that Stephanie Perkins created. It sounds like a weird thing to refer to the "world" in a contemporary novel but setting just doesn't feel like enough explanation. Because the city of Paris comes alive for the reader as it does for Anna. From the description of the city and it's many beautiful architecture and tourist traps, to the food, and the culture it was lush and realistic. It's been almost ten years since I visited Paris and I desperately wish I could go back. While reading this book I got a feeling of wanderlust that I almost never get. But during this book I felt what it was like to be visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I wanted to go there myself. But Perkins also created a really fantastic boarding school within this book. I love books that take place in boarding schools. She perfectly walks the line between the glamour and difficulty of that concept.

But part of what made the boarding school so good was the sense of comradery and friendship with the characters. When Anna moves to Paris to attend school she is adopted by a diverse group of people who are so different but they make this fantastic little group of friends. They're complex and interesting characters that I enjoyed despite the fact that they are not very likeable in the traditional sense. In fact if you ask me, they are pretty unlikeable. They're kind of selfish and rash but they're realistic teenagers and that's what made them so interesting in likeable. In particular the main character Anna was easy to connect with not despite of her insecurities but because of them. As the book developed she had this great redemptive arc and it definitely gave the book a coming-of-age story feel and I love that in my contemporary reads. On the whole I was glad I was along for the ride.

And while I liked the relationships in this book I'm not sure I fully connected with the romance. I'm a fan of the friends become more relationship format that you experience in this book. I really liked that Anna and Etienne got to know each other well before they  took it to the next level. I also liked that it was a slowburn.It took awhile for them to get together even though you knew all along that it's how it was all going to end. Maybe that was my problem. I've never been very good at being patient. But in general I think I just didn't feel the swoon and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe I just didn't connect with Etienne in that way. I liked them a lot as friends and being the kind of person who can take or leave romances in my novels, I didn't fall in love with the romance like most people have.

But that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss. It was a fun contemporary romance with a great coming-of-age story vibe and characters that will work their way into your heart despite them not being traditionally likeable.

I give Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 8.5 out of 10



Buy/Borrow/Bypass: ???? I'm putting question marks because I feel like I am one of the only people who has never read this book. If you are a fan of YA contemporary romances you should absolutely read it if you haven't. If you are looking to explore the genre a little more, like me then yes check it out. It's definitely a good read and worth picking up if you haven't yet.

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

2 comments:

  1. YAYYYYYY I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Alyssa just read it for the first time too -- not really being a contemporary fan -- and she really enjoyed it. It makes me so happy! This is my all-time fav contemp, I think! :D

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  2. Hmmm... I've been looking at this one for a really long time. I don't usually read contemporary romance, but every now and then I just get in the mood for a light, happy book and you don't usually get that with fantasy. Maybe I'll have to pick this one up for one of "those" days!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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