Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: 'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins

"Anna is not happy about spending senior year at a Paris boarding school, away from her Atlanta home, best friend Bridgette, and crush Toph. Adapting isn’t easy, but she soon finds friends and starts enjoying French life, especially its many cinemas; she is an aspiring film critic. Complications arise, though, when she develops feelings for cute—and taken—classmate Etienne, even though she remains interested in Toph. Her return home for the holidays brings both surprises, betrayals, unexpected support, and a new perspective on what matters in life—and love. Featuring vivid descriptions of Parisian culture and places, and a cast of diverse, multifaceted characters, including adults, this lively title incorporates plenty of issues that will resonate with teens, from mean girls to the quest for confidence and the complexities of relationships in all their forms. Despite its length and predictable crossed-signal plot twists, Perkins’ debut, narrated in Anna’s likable, introspective voice, is an absorbing and enjoyable read that highlights how home can refer to someone, not just somewhere."  (Shelle Rosenfeld, Booklist)

A good book is one that makes you fall in love right alongside the characters. If this is true, then Anna and the French Kiss is a masterpiece! Seriously, my heart fluttered and I was giddy for days after reading this book. In my opinion, this makes it the perfect summer read!


I could assume by the title that Anna was going to end up with Etienne in the end, but the story turned out not to feel predictable at all. I think much of this was due to the interesting characters. Anna was funny and smart. She had to deal with a lot of disappointments throughout the story, but managed to do so without coming across as whiney or brooding. She had plenty of interests outside of school and her crush. Etienne was deeply flawed and made mistakes, but he also could be sweet and considerate...not to mention sexy as hell! The supporting cast of characters also felt real and not stereotypical.


The relationship between Anna and Etienne felt natural and yet was fraught with sexual tension. Several times they seemed like they were on the cusp of falling in love, only to have it disintegrate at the last minute. Rather than this being annoying, it was written in such a way as to suck the reader in further. The weekend of Thanksgiving and the communications over Christmas break had me on the edge of my seat! Brilliant love story!


The setting also plays a strong role in the story. Paris, the City of Lights, is commonly referred to as the most romantic city in the world. But Anna at first sees it as this strange foreign place where she doesn't speak the language, doesn't have any friends and is scared to venture outside of her boarding school's gates. I think anyone who has ever traveled to a foreign country can identify with these feelings. It takes courage to even sit down in a restaurant and order. We see Paris through Anna's American eyes and it makes me feel like I was experiencing it there right along with her. I have not personally been to Paris, but I feel like I know it much better now that I have been there with Anna.


Overall, I give Anna and the French Kiss...


Plot - 5 bookmarks


Character Development - 5 bookmarks


Love Story - A million bookmarks! (It's my system, I can break the rules if I want!)

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Emma Stone (Anna), Charlie McDonell (Etienne – If you do not know who he is, check him out on YouTube), Demi Lavato (Bridget), Skye McCole Bartusiak (Meredith), Alex Pettifer (Toph)

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