Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton (Imprint of Penguin)
Date Published: December 2nd, 2010
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?
Okay, I know there are already a million raving reviews for this out there. How do I know this? Because this is one of those books for me that I relentlessly resisted at every turn. You see, me and contemporary romance don’t always fit (whether it be young adult or adult). I’m extremely picky when it comes to this genre. So even though I would see gushing review after review for this every day for months and months, and even though I did add it to my to-read shelf, I resisted. I put it off because the premise doesn’t sound all that exciting and I just knew that I would be that one person on the planet that didn’t like it. Boy was I wrong.
This book quickly made it to my very exclusive favorites list. I loved everything about it. So excuse the rest of this review for probably sounding a bit gushy. All I want to do is squeal and gush and go “Gah!” every time I think of it. It’s turned me fangirl! Eeek!
But first let’s talk about the characters. Anna is a character that’s very easy to relate to — at least for me she was. The way she acts, what she says, and how she thinks is spot on. She feels like such a real person and even the stupid mistakes she makes I can totally sympathize with because it made sense and I think I would’ve done some of the same things she did in her place.
Then there’s St. Claire/Étienne. Excuse me while I sigh…*sigh* He is just…*sigh* Oh, sorry. No, but seriously. He is this incredibly sweet person who you will fall for immediately. You just can’t help it. I don’t know if it’s the Parisian in him or what, but he’s a total romantic and he doesn’t even have to try. He’s a true friend at all times, and despite being this absolute romantic, he has this innocence about him as well, and it really makes you realize that even though he may be more experienced than Anna, this is his first time falling in love as well right along with her.
Anna and St. Claire’s relationship was flawlessly written. I wouldn’t have changed anything. They had their ups and downs, but you could feel them growing gradually closer. They are also so clearly best friends as well. I loved reading about their friend moments just as much as the googly-eye moments, and it made them so much more believable as a couple. Sometimes when you read romances, the couple doesn’t feel like they’re friends at all (just you-know-what buddies). But in real life who you date is generally (or should be) a friend, and the person you marry should be your best friend — at least in my opinion. So that was such a breath of fresh air. It’s written so beautifully that before you know it you’re right there in love with them as a couple. This book also takes place over the course of a year so the time frame in which they fall in love is very realistic and did not feel fake or forced at any moment whatsoever.
A couple things did bug me (they’re little things, trust me lol). The main thing is the back and forth between the names St. Claire and Étienne. I don’t like that he had two names. I had to kind of mentally note to myself every time Étienne was used instead of St. Claire because I got so used to him being called that for so much of the book. Despite not liking this though, it made sense in a way. There was a reason for the name change (even in Anna’s thoughts) and I thought it was very sweet, but it was also confusing. The other very small thing that bugged me is that the girl on the cover looks nothing like Anna! She’s blonde or brunette with her stripe! I know that has nothing to do with the author, but that bugged me.
Overall, I could seriously just gush about this book all day. It gave me butterflies, it had me smiling from ear to ear and laughing out loud. Even though it had some stressful on the edge of my seat moments, it was such a feel good novel and it’s just what I needed. I’m so happy that I decided to pick this one up and I’ll be moving right into Lola as soon as I can get my grubby hands on it! lol Oh, and I LOVE St. Claire. No seriously, he’s totally mine so back off ladies!