Anna and the French Kiss

Posted December 5, 2011 by Tara in Challenges /// 5 Comments

Um, that can't be Anna on the cover. She has a skunk stripe in her hair. They only talk about it, like, 400 times. Geeze.

Anna and the French Kiss

by Stephanie Perkins

[#57 in my 52 60 book challenge]

Ah. Fluffy YA romance. Must be nice to be young, in love, and in Paris.

Anna Oliphant has been sent to boarding school at The School of America in Paris by her Nicholas Sparks-esque father. At first she hates it because she’s leaving behind her best friend, her crush, her ex-boyfriend, and all the fun things about being a high school senior in America. But while Anna is struggling to cope with living in Paris and not being able to speak French, she does manage to make some friends: Meredith, Rashmi, Josh, and St. Clair. British, swoon-worthy, sweet, troubled Etienne St. Clair. St. Clair with the dreamy eyes and perfect hair. Worldly St. Clair. Brilliant, charming, and beautiful St. Clair who smells SO GOOD. St. Clair who has a girlfriend at the nearby university…

See where I’m going with this? Have I made it clear who our love interest is supposed to be?

I have so many things that I loved and so many things that I didn’t like about this book that I decided paragraph form just isn’t going to work. The review would go on for ages and you’d quit reading. So I’m going to do this in the easily-digested form of a bullet list.

Things I Loved

  • Paris. I love Paris. I went when I was sixteen and stayed in the Latin Quarter, just like Anna. The book was not wish fulfillment for me as much as it was a walk down memory lane.
  • Anna’s love of movies. I’m glad the main character had a passion and was actively working toward her goal of being a film critic. She may or may not end up with this as her for-real-life career, but I thought it was realistic and made her more interesting.
  • Friendships. I thought the friendships in the novel were realistic. Perkins could have done some cliche things with the friendships and conflicts between them, but she surprised me.
  • Girl Scout cookies. There is a whole scene with Girl Scout cookies that made me laugh. Incidentally, Girl Scout cookies helped fund my own trip to Paris 🙂
  • The love story. Not the greatest love story of all time, but cute. Fluffy cute. Sometimes angsty. Sometime frustrating. But cute and satisfying.
  • Boarding school. I love boarding school books. They are my wish-fulfillment candy. It’s in good company with Mockingbirds, Looking For Alaska, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, A Great and Terrible Beauty, A Little Princess, and Harry Potter.

Things I Didn’t Love

  • St. Clair. Please don’t throw things at me. He was okay, but I didn’t love him. At times I felt he was a little too perfect. At other times I wanted to kick him.
  • Anna. Again, I didn’t hate her. Just didn’t love her. I think she’s realistic, but I don’t know that I would be friends with her. I’d be a friendly acquaintance. And sometimes I wanted to kick her, too.
  • The Ending. The ending was fine in terms of the novel, but my cynical self couldn’t stop thinking, “they’re just going to break up in college!” Having characters get together in senior year just makes me think of how they’ll be cheating, frustrated, or broken-hearted as they enter the next stage of their lives in just a few months.

Overall, it was a good book. I’m glad I read it and I see what the hype is about. It was realistic and well-written. I love boarding schools and satisfying love stories. Anna and St. Clair were just a step up from Bella and Edward, enough to keep them from ruining the book. I’d give it four stars out of five for being fun to read and set in Paris.

Tara

Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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5 responses to “Anna and the French Kiss

  1. Miss Anderson, do you ever review books that are not so dependent on a love story? A lot of other things happen in a young adult’s life, you know. Anyway, I do enjoy your reviews, even though I myself may not read the book. I find that I can then recommend something you review to a young friend. Thank you.

    • Miss Anderson

      Haha, I actually don’t read a lot of romance stories. I’ve been reading a lot lately mostly by coincidence. Most YA novels have some sort of love plot line, but I enjoy stories where that takes the back seat to something else. All of my current reads are pretty unromantic, so it’s coming down the pipeline!

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