Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
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 Etienne 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 Anna – and readers – have long awaited?
I’ve spent the past year or so hearing raves about this book, especially from Khy of Frenetic Reader, and yet I didn’t want to read it. It sounded like a book that focused entirely too much on romance, rather than a fun adventure of a girl going to high school in Paris. I’d heard that the relationship between Anna and St. Clair was unusual and interesting because it started out as a friendship and evolved into something more, but that didn’t sound like enough to interest me. When I saw the companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, at the library, though, I decided that it sounded like a good book and figured I might as well read the first book before the second. And, while there was still plenty of romance in this book, I’m really glad I read it.
First I’ll focus on the romantic aspect of the story, though. Yes, I do admit that the relationship between Anna and St Clair, at least the romantic one, wasn’t an instant one that seems to pop up so much in paranormal and even other genre books these days, but I don’t think it was that innovative. For one thing, right from the beginning Anna had a huge crush on St. Clair, which led to plenty of awkward moments and times when it was so obvious that they liked each other that I wanted to slap one or both of them. It had plenty of angsty teenage romance drama that was interesting but not ground-breaking in young adult literature. The main focus of the book was the will-they-won’t-they aspect of their relationship, with other subplots mixed in. Even though I found myself cheering the couple on for the most part, I would have appreciate focusing on some other aspects of the story as well.
As for the rest of the book – Anna’s issues with her dad, adjusting to life in Paris, her issues with a crush back home, her friendships with the rest of their group at school, and her obsession with movies – everything was great. Since there wasn’t as much focus on these parts, they weren’t as fleshed-out as what I’d like, but there was still enough of them to give me another reason to read this book than for the romantic trouble between Anna and St. Clair. The banter among the friends, especially Anna and St. Clair, was always funny and seemed fairly genuine, something that some 20-, 30-, and 40-something authors have trouble with. There was just one minor issue from all this banter, though – Anna, especially toward the end of the book, had trouble deciding what to call St. Clair. Sure, it was a sign of her changing relationship with him, but sometimes she would call him by his first and last name all in the same chapter, which sometimes led to a bit of confusion on my part.
I’m glad that I finally got around to this book, if only for the fun relationships among the Parisian friends. The romance may have had too much of the story focus, but it was still a good one, strong enough to build the story for the most part. When I finished this book, I was definitely looking forward the next book by Perkins (at this point, I’ve already read it, but you’ll have to wait for my review to see what I thought of it).
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars