Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Published Date: December 2010
Summary: (goodreads.com)“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 a boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne 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 know what you are thinking. You have zero interest in reading this book. I mean, Anna and the French Kiss? Look at the cover! Romantic-y boy and girl making goo goo eyes at each other right in front of the Eiffel Tower. And then there is the summary... You read it and roll your eyes, you know exactly what this book will be like: fluffy and absolutely, annoyingly dramatic.
I am hear to tell you that you are fantastically WRONG about Anna.
I honestly would never have read Anna if not for the amazing reviews from YA authors and important people in the publishing world that exploded online days after the book was released. After watching YA novelist and popular video blogger John Green’s video dedicated to Anna, I knew that it must be something special. After a few clicks on my Ebook reader, I was ready to see if this silly-looking book would live up to its high praise.
I really need to avoid diving into good books late at night. At 2 am I turned my reader off. I was groggy and couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I sleep-texted my best friend with a message along the line of the following: “I just finished the BEST NOVEL EVER!!! Anna and the French Kiss!!! Oooooh, Étienne!”
Yeah. It’s that good.
The plot could have rendered an absolutely terrible book if it had been done by anyone other than Stephanie Perkins. Really, it isn’t the plot that draws you in, but the I-could-be-your-best-friend characters and the startling similarities to your own life.
Let’s talk about the characters that you will soon be completely in love with: Étienne and Anna. When you finish this book, they are real people to you. You find yourself trying to email their fake addresses in order to chat with them and find out how they are doing. You consider putting a stripe in your hair like Anna or wearing knitted stocking caps like Étienne. You start to wonder why in the world you haven’t been signed up for boarding school in Paris yet.
Here’s the one little flaw concerning characterization in Anna. While the main characters are SUPER REAL, some of the other characters are just slightly missing something. There are a couple of times that I raise my eyebrow when a character seems to randomly pipe up and change everything. It is a feel of “Where did that come from?”
I guarantee that while reading Anna and the French Kiss, there will be a phrase or a special description that suddenly stands out to you. You will feel a “click” in your head as you realize that that is exactly how you are feeling, exactly what you are thinking! It floors me how Stephanie Perkins managed to write something that applies in some way to every member of her audience.
Overall, I give Anna and the French Kiss a full five lightning strikes, not because of the love story or the highly humorous bits, but because of the reality of it all. Despite the sugary summary, the cutesy title, and a cover that is lacking in awesome, this book absolutely shines. Warn your friends ahead of time about the late-night texts in all caps that they will be receiving the instant that you close this book.