I started this year off by reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. This book was perfect for my first review of 2011.
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. Claire: 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 first heard of this book through a Goodreads.com giveaway. Neither the cover nor description grabbed my attention, so I didn’t enter the giveaway. A month or so ago I started noticing a lot of people mentioning the book; John Green even acknowledged it on his YouTube channel. Friends and other authors discussed it on Twitter, and they all had positive things to say. I got caught up in the word-of-mouth buzz and ended up giving the book a second look.
I have previously discussed I enjoyed the way Emilly Giffin conveys relationships in her stories. I found the same to be true with the author of this story. Perkins artfully depicts the intricate ups and downs of a growing teenage relationship throughout this book. She is able to build the friendship between Anna and Étienne naturally. The pacing is never rushed or fake. I felt myself getting more involved in the story as their feelings for each other grew. When they encountered the awkward stumbling blocks caused by their growing feelings for each other, I felt the tension that developed. The moments of joy and happiness they experience affected me as if they were my own.
The other relationships depicted in the story demonstrate the same depth. You understood Anna’s anger when she and a friend got in a fight. I felt the sadness she experienced when she missed her family back home. The many emotions were depicted so truthfully that it made the book feel like more than just a story. This realism made a tale that was impossible to put down.
Review: I am so glad that I was persuaded to give this story a second another look. Anna and the French Kiss turned out to be a fantastic book that I couldn’t wait to finish. I can not wait to read the companion novel–Lola and the Boy Next Door–in September.