Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release: December 2nd 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA
#1 in the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy
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 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?
I had this ship once, the one that I was so convinced of. And I hated the other ship, you see, it was a love triangle and I truly, honestly despised even the idea of the guy ever being with the other girl.
Until I didn't.
And that other ship, the one I hated with my whole being, became my favorite ship.
This was quite the same. I was so sure I would hate this. I don't like France, I hate French, and I think the French are snobby. So, I thought this book would be about Anna going on vacation to France for a few weeks, meet le magnifique boy and fall in love and voilá — tragédie and drame because they'll be separated.
Color me surprised when I found out this is actually about Anna being sent to boarding school in Paris. I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love reading boarding school life novels. I never want to go to one, but I do find boarding school life extremely interesting. That was point #1. After that, it got only better. Anna was actually likeable and I loved her narration. And then Étienne wasn't even really French, he was English. Or, well, had an English accent. At that point, I was starting to get really comfortable.
Now, don't get me wrong. This novel was quite a bit clichéd. And all the “plot twists” that were coming my way I was able to smell right from the beginning, so there wasn't really any big surprise there. However, I can look past all these flaws, because despite everything, I really really enjoyed this novel. I actually stayed up all night, and I mean the whole night (I slept like three hours from 7 to 10 am) (well granted I'm currently on a nocturnal schedule anyways), to finish this. I actually had trouble putting this down, even for my three hour nap.
The characters were fleshed out and had characterization, except maybe for Josh, but you can't have everything. Plus, he has his own novel to develop anyways, so what the hey. Anna was such an endearing little creature I couldn't help but like her. I admit there were times where I frowned at her thoughts, like when she was crushing hardcore on Étienne near the end. A little too hardcore, for my tastes, but whatever. I truly enjoyed her narration a lot. Étienne was so very charming, and even though I was very annoyed by his "perfect" description, because he was yet another absolutely beautiful hottie in the never-ending YA pool nowadays, he was still cute. I liked him. And his eyes weren't for once "emerald green" or "cerulean blue" eyes for which I was quite grateful, since I do appreciate when authors endorse boring, lame brown ones for once. The remaining supporting characters added the perfect touch to round this up, as I loved them all. Meredith, with her forgiving, loyal and accepting nature, was a real sweetheart. And Rashmi, who was simply amazing and probably one of my absolute favorite characters.
Writing was very smooth and I loved the humor. This book seriously had me cracking up constantly and cackling like an old hag, I swear. It wasn't pretty. I do appreciate the ability to make me laugh like that throughout the whole novel, though. As I said before, Anna's narration was very relatable and simply brilliantly done. I was honored to be able to see the Parisian world through her eyes, since she was a perfect guide through the story.
And of course, the previously-hinted-at clichés: Out-of-this-world sexy guy already has a girlfriend. Fortunately, though, she was described as "plain" and not like an outer space beauty as well, which I'm thankful for. Then, there was the obligatory mean girl that's striving to make Anna's life hell while also advancing on her man and constantly giving her the stink eye when he picks Anna over her. The unavoidable shitty family lives behind the scenes and betrayal by loved ones, helping to drive Anna further into Étienne's arms.
But, I really enjoyed this book anyways. I don't know how Stephanie Perkins did that, it's really bordering on a miracle. I think I'll definitely be giving Lola and the Boy Next Door a try.