For What It's Worth

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Anna and the French kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss
Anna was 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. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne 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? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt. (YA)

It was with great trepidation that I started Anna and the French Kiss. The good buzz for this book is insane! Best book of the year….best book EVER and so on. I almost never feel like everyone else does a book so I was skeered.
However, my most trusted blogger friends were the ones promising it would be good, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. I have to admit that it didn’t quite meet the best book ever or even best book this year for me – but I did love it.
This is mostly because of my love for the protagonist, Anna. She is such a great example of a female YA character. I wish more were written like her. She’s funny, smart and fallible but picks herself up and moves on.
Anna is sent by her father to a prestigious boarding school, The School of America, for US students in Paris, France. She has to leave behind her best friend and her new blossoming relationship with the cute rocker boy Toph. She is not a happy camper. Most of the students come from rich families while she does not and she can barely speak a word of French.
She soon becomes friends with students that have been attending the school which helps with her loneliness. She also meets Étienne St. Clair a cute English/American boy who is unavailable due to his long term relationship with his girlfriend, Ellie.
The story is mostly centered on this relationship. Anna & St. Clair form a bond and become best friends. She feels more for him and it’s obvious he has more than friendly feelings for her but that pesky girlfriend issue keeps getting in the way.
There are a lot of “almost” moments for them and I loved how Anna kept her head about her and didn’t let a boy drag her down. She was able to maintain the friendship and move on when she didn’t think there was hope for more. She didn’t sit at home pining away. She explored the city of Paris, went to movies alone, dated. What a concept!!
As for the few things that kept this from being the perfect book in my eyes…..I think the missed opportunities with St. Clair went on a tad too long for me. I found myself wondering a few times what kind of boyfriend he would even be if they finally got together. Etienne St. Clair is a wonderful boy and there is never any doubt that he is over the moon for Anna but I felt like I wasn’t getting the whole picture when it came to his character. I just wished I got a few chapters from his POV or maybe a conversation with him and another character. What was he thinking when he would leave her for a few days and then just show back up? What kind of relationship was he having with Ellie while he was in love with Anna? This is a minor complaint and should not dissuade you in anyway. In fact I don’t know anyone else who even felt the same as I did about this. *see “best book ever* comment at the top.
Another thing I loved about Anna and the French Kiss was even though this was a star crossed lover’s tale, it never ventured into unbelievable slap stick territory. There were crossed signals and missed opportunities but it was all firmly rooted in reality. In fact I can say that several of these situations occurred in my teenage years. Unfortunately, it took place in the super exciting state of RI rather than Paris. Oh well. This is a very honest depiction of friendships, love and life as a teenager.
There really is too much going on in Anna and the French Kiss for me to fit all into one review. There are great supporting characters, beautiful descriptions of Paris and enough talk of delicious food to make you want to hop on the next flight to Paris!
As for swoony boys……I liked St. Clair but my attention kept being drawn to Josh, St. Clair’s artistic best friend. Perkins is signed on to write two companion novels, Lola and the Boy Next Door ( September 2011) and Isla and Happily Ever After (late 2012) and I’m hoping my boy Josh is the focus of one of those stories. There is a little hint that he just may be in that last one. *fingers crossed*
I’m not sure if you guys read the acknowledgements in books but I Love Stephanie’s last paragraph dedication to her husband. So sweet – and now we know why she’s so good at writing romance! She also has a cute little intro for Anna and the French Kiss on her website.

Rating 3 out of 4

**For a chance to win Anna and the French Kiss - click the link under my header - Ends 1/9/11**

Author's website:
Stephanie on Twitter: @naturallysteph
Buy the book! Anna and the French Kiss


  1. Great review. I had a hard time writing my review for this one.

  2. Great review and agree that this was more realistic in terms of YA. I do wish we could see more from st.clair POV too, but its a great story of friends becoming more ;)

  3. I loved this book, thanks for the review!

  4. Great review! Yup, Etienne needs to be raked over the coals a little for dragging out his commitment for so long, but good job pointing out that there's never a "wacky misunderstanding" or a secret identity or anything really loopy in the story. Maybe that's why St. Clair is so easy like and so easy to get frustrated with--we know people who have acted like this. :-)

  5. I know what you mean about the hype surrounding this book. There is always a fear that it won't live up to it. I haven't read this book yet myself but I'm loving your description of Anna. I think I'll like her when I do eventually read this.

  6. I'm glad you liked the book. LOL. While it wasn't one of the best books ever, it was one of my favorite reads this year. I did't mind that St. Clair and Anna too both acted like boneheads, because their reactions were so realistic and cut a little too close to home to some of the bonehead things I did when I was younger because I didn't have that insight to other people yet. LOL!

  7. Great review. I've been looking forward to reading this one too, just haven't gotten my hands on it yet.

  8. You know what. I haven't read a book with "almost" moments in SO long. Need to get to this one ASAP. It's on top of my to-read pile. I have high expectations after reading so many positive reviews. :-)
    _yay_ @ BookthatThing!