This past week (more like the last few days of the week) I read both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I’m going to post reviews to them at the same time, but I want to give you the option to only read the review of Anna and the French Kiss, though my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door doesn’t give much away (it’s probably pretty obvious what happens in the end of the first book). You can find my review of Lola HERE.
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: August 2011
Paperback: 372 pages
Stand alone or series: First in a set of three companion novels
How did I get this book: Bought
So recently I’ve been reading a lot of heavy books (dystopian, sci-fi, Love Letters to the Dead), and I really needed something light and refreshing. Anna and the French Kiss was recommended to me by a friend, and I decided to check it out. I’m really glad I did; this book was exactly what I needed.
Synopsis (from the book jacket):
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 Etienne 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 been waiting for?
What I thought:
This isn’t the type of book I usually read; as I’m sure you can tell from my reviews so far, I am more likely to read a dystopian novel with a lot of action, powerful characters, and maybe even some superpowers. Therefore, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book, but someone whose opinion I trust told me to read this book. So I did. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was quickly captivated by this book, and I raced through it in two days.
It is the type of book that takes time to make you fall in love with it. Though I was quickly charmed by Perkin’s writing and, of course, Paris, it took time for me to really start to love the characters. I actually liked one of the secondary characters, Josh, before I really liked Anna. Josh is funny, charming, and smart. St. Clair, Anna’s best friend and love interest, was somewhat annoying at first, and I was mad at him several times for the time it took for him to realize what he needs to do. But once Josh got me laughing, it didn’t take long for me to get into the other characters. And I did love seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes because she was nervous and afraid to go out on her own at first, something I could relate to with my own study abroad experience. I think this slow-to-love thing was actually quite genuine: most people don’t fall in love quickly and all at once, but slowly, cautiously, and sometimes with fights. Because of this, my enjoyment of this book was honest and sincere.
Once I started to really like St. Clair (and began rooting for him and Anna), I realized how much I loved their romance. It isn’t your typical “I just met him but I’m totally in love with him” YA romance. They’re best friends first. They get to know each other on a level that most people don’t. They realize that the other isn’t perfect, that they are flawed, but that they are both flawed. St. Clair is a real guy; he has problems and he doesn’t know how to deal with them. He doesn’t know what to do about his feelings for Anna. In fact, he acts like a complete idiot several times. Like a real dude. I feel like their romance was realistic; okay, at times I felt like it was a little ridiculous and the whole “I like you but I can’t be with you” thing went on a little too long for my tastes, but I enjoyed the book anyway.
I enjoyed getting to see Paris once Anna started to get around in the city. I would totally use this book as a tour guide if I ever get to visit the city. It’d be fun to go to the cafes Anna visits or walk on her route from her school to Notre Dame. Yeah, definitely adding this to my bucket list.
The bottom line:
This book was just what I needed. I don’t say this in a mean way, but it was a palate cleanser for me. It was a light, refreshing romance that was completely different from my usual read. I sincerely enjoyed reading it. Thank you, Georgie, for recommending it!
Rating: 7 – Pretty good
I’d love it if you’d read my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door, too! Have you read Anna? What did you think?
Reading next: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini