About the Book:
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary YA/Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review: There are some books that are hyped to the point of exhaustion. This easily fell into that camp. Most of the time, I can separate that in my reading or film-watching, and usually, unless I despise subtleties about the story, I enjoy even those that fall under the hyped umbrella. Anna is the girl shipped off to Paris, thanks to her wealthy father. Since he became an overnight NYT best-selling author, Anna’s father may have money, but he lacks class to go along with that, yet sending Anna off to Paris seems the solution to their family. Furious to be sent away from her friends and little brother in Atlanta, Anna quickly becomes intrigued with the “it” boy at the prestigious School of America. Etienne St. Clair has something none of the boys she’s known have. Swept up into St. Clair’s group of friends, Anna has a hard time not falling in love with her new friend… only trouble is, he’s got a girlfriend.
Stephanie Perkin’s writing is genius. That’s all I’d really need to say. There’s a unique quality to it that isn’t widely popular among any genre I read. The humor, the banter, the characters, everything is effortlessly brilliant. Each of the scenes have epic amazingness albeit in a contemporary world (yes, I am using the term “epic” to describe this) that is, yes, sometimes overwrought with teenage drama. The main reason for that drama is sure to be the pairings. Rooting for Anna and St. Clair to end up together won’t “sit well” with everyone. Anna’s singleness has plenty of “wiggle room,” but St. Clair’s status is never in question (from Anna’s perspective). He’s been with Ellie for a long time and whether or not he or Anna like it, the relationship deserves respect.
If I’m being honest, I have to admit addressing that same complaint; I wasn’t bothered enough by this to let it lesson my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I loved that it allowed this pair to become such good friends. Theirs was a unique relationship that blossomed because of mutual understanding of the things the other person was or had gone through. The author throws some curveballs at her characters, and the emotions packed in those, are very real indeed. Answering that emotion is the humor. I got a kick out of Anna’s dad, who is clearly a reincarnation of an actual NYT best-selling author, Anna’s hobby of blogging and reviewing films, the bite-y wit and moments of unchecked joy. I was giggling before two chapters were gone and loving every second of a novel that turned out to be as good as I anticipated it being.
Between the setting (it’s PARIS!) and the characters, I can safely add this book to one of my favorites. Sure, it has flaws (what novel doesn’t?), but the flaws feel like a part of the essential story. In other words, if they weren’t there, the book wouldn’t have been as well explored or as sincerely told. Part of the charm of Anna’s journey is found in the mistakes she and St. Clair (or as we – Anna and myself, like to call him, Etienne *wink*) experience makes the journey more worthwhile for them and us. If you like YA lit and like me, haven’t picked this novel up, may I inquire, why? Do so with haste. You’ll be enchanted by this journey to happiness in the City of Light.
*content: there are about 10-15 uses of the f-word, most of which occur in the space of one page in two separate incidents. A handful of other minor profanities are used. There are references to “hooking up” and we learn Anna is a virgin. She and St. Clair do sleep together (clothed) two nights in a row, nothing happens either time. There are two or three descriptive make out scenes, and staying true to its title, most involve mentions of “tongue.”
Synopsis: Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.
But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for? – Goodreads