Friday, January 6, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins (author website)
Release Date: December 2nd 2010 by Dutton
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

I love moments like these in reading. I love closing a book completely charmed. Those moments when a piece of fiction is so splendid it delivers pure and unadulterated joy. For me, Anna and the French Kiss was perfect. It's not high literature or an epic Greek tragedy. It's fun. Pure and simple. And this is what I read for.

From Goodreads:
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?

Page 1: I'm sucked in by Anna's chatty, delightfully paranoid voice. Page 3: Anna's dad is, for all intents and purposes, Nicholas Sparks. Jokes at Nicholas Sparks' expense? Awesome. The world needs more. Hilarious. Page 3, line 19: Hogwarts reference? I'm sold.

And it kept getting better and better. Who knew anything could be better than Harry Potter references?

I'm so in love with Anna, and warm/fuzzy/numb from its afterglow, I'm genuinely struggling to make my mind produce words beyond an entire page of 'SQUEE!' I don't know where to start. Light? Yes. Funny? Yes. Tooth achingly Sweet? OH YES. But it's not a light piece of throw-away fiction I'll be forgetting anytime soon. This book burrowed its way into my heart, grew roots and won't leave. It had this resonance for me... something beyond light and fluffy. A certain je ne sais quoi that had me falling as deeply in love as Anna and Etienne do with each other.

For all its sugar sweetness, Anna touches on deeper matters: the feeling of belonging, of home, and, of course, love (throughout this book I had the Princess Bride looping in my head "True LOVE! TRUE LOVE!"). And it's beautifully written. Could this get any better?

Anna herself is a delight. She's funny, runs at a million miles and hour and has this slight edge of paranoid self-awareness that I'm sure we all can relate to. I love this girl... her obsession with film, her love of her friends, her silly mistakes and her dreams for her future. I loved being in her head. Stephanie Perkins writes her in such an incredibly authentic way. She felt so, so real to me.

And Etienne St. Clair. English French American Boy Masterpiece. Words. Can't. Describe. I've liked a lot of literary boys in my time. YA and Adult... I think I have a new favourite. His Briticisms, his humour, his teasing. Watching the relationship and genuine friendship develop between Anna and St. Clair is one of the single most rewarding reading experiences I've ever had the pleasure of. And the pleasure of reading this remarkable/delightful/adorable (take your pick) novel doesn't end there.

The relationships between all the characters in Anna, even the despicable ones, is a delight. These people talk like real people. They laugh, they joke, they rib each like crazy. I felt like I was hanging out with my best friend reading this book with the teasing going on. Like it just got my sense of humour. And the setting. Oh, la! Has there ever been a more perfect place than Paris? As Anna slowly discovers the City of Lights, so do we. And I don't know if there's a more perfect tour guide than St. Clair. I walked the streets of the Latin Quarter with Anna and Etienne, crossed la Seine, saw the glorious cathedrals, pâtisseries and ran, giggling, past memorials to Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie in Le Panthéon, .

And throughout it all, Perkins held me utterly enraptured.

The Verdict:

I want Anna and the French Kiss to be real so badly it aches inside. I want to crawl inside its pages and never leave. Bold, sweeping generalisations and statements irritate me no-end, and it's not lightly that I say--with complete sincerity--that I'm not sure I've ever taken so much pure joy from reading a book as I have from reading Anna. A sweet, fun, almost heart achingly gorgeous read, Anna and the French Kiss is practically guaranteed to delight. This. Is. What. I. Read. For. I'm in love.

P.S.

SQEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Books in This Series:

  1. Anna and the French Kiss (December 2010)
  2. Lola and the Boy Next Door (September 2011)
  3. Isla and the Happily Ever After (2013)

26 comments:

  1. Ahh so glad you liked it! This was easily my favorite book read in 2011!! I agree, the characters all felt so so so real and oh my, Etienne! Your review makes me want to read it again, really it does. I've already read it twice but I still laugh and smile whenever I flip through it. And Paris, Paris, Paris! The best setting for a love story :)

    Kim @ The Paper Planes

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  2. Haha I cracked up on your P.S.!! I saw this at the shops and almost bought it but ended up not because contemp books have let me down a lot so I stick to my normal fantasy books. Your review is so fantastic though, I'm definitely going to buy it now.
    P.S. Thanks so much for commenting on my photos. I almost didn't start it cause the blog is about books but then I reminded myself why I started the blog and decided to gamble on it. Thanks again :) BTW - Weekend!! Woohoo!!

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  3. Aww you've made me REALLY want to re-read ANNA. Thanks a lot, Saz. *sigh* I didn't even remember all that super cool stuff, like the dig at Nicholas Sparks with Anna's dad.

    This was one of my favourites of 2010--one of the only books I've read in less than 24 hours. It was simply that good.

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  4. I don't even know HOW to comment on this review. It is utterly PERFECTION! As is this book <3

    OIJDSIKDHSFLUDBVALS ST CLAIR!!!! There are no words for that boy. He is.... ugh. He might actually top my Fave YA Boy list. You're making me remember all the reasons I love him. And Anna has got to be one of my favourite ever heroines! <3333333 I saw all this buzz surrounding the book in December and thought 'it sounds alright... I'll get to it eventually' but wasn't like OMGINEEDTOREADTHISNOW. And then in Feb last year I succumbed. And I realised what a moron I was for having waited those two effing months (NOT SAYING YOU'RE A MORON :P).

    I get happy, fuzzy, toasty feelings inside whenever I think of this novel. Whenever I remember adorkable moments or characters. Whenever crazy awesome girls read it and gush about it and write one of the best reviews I've read for this book.

    All I can really say is: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE <3

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  5. SQUEE some more!!! I LOVED your review. It's spot on! :D Now I want to read it again...

    You just wait until you read Lola!! *SWOONS*

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  6. Aww, I'm so glad you liked it! I never thought these would be anything for me but lately I'm starting to re-think this. Gosh, I'm so freaking curious! Everyone seems to love this one and I don't think I've seen a single negative review for it ;o It sounds fun and charming and good and... I should give in, shouldn't I? Lol. Awesome review as always!

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  7. Haha, I've said it before but I'll say it again; I love how enthusiastic your reviews are! I think Anna should be dropping into my mailbox today, so I'll have to read it this weekend!:)

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  8. Ahhhh, yes, yes, yes! Every time I see a gushing review for Anna - and I see them often -- I feel compelled to go re-read the book...WHICH IS NOT A BAD THING AT ALL. It is a sweet, light and romantic story, but as you said, it really sticks with you. I am pretty sure it made my heart grow, like, 100x bigger because it's so absolutely charming and heartwarming and everything good.

    Have you read Lola yet? If not, enjoy!!! :D

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  9. Yay! You finally read it! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I feel exactly the same way as you on every single point in this review! Wonderful review, Sarah!

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  10. I'm so happy that you loved this book!! I remember reading it for the first time..I stayed up so late reading it!! Fabulous review as always :)

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  11. You've made it sound very fabulous and I will definitely ready it soon :)

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  12. A genuine friendship? That isn't something you tend to see in books nowadays. o: I actually don't think I've seen a negative review of this book; I wasn't too interested in it before but I definitely am now!

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  13. OMG!!! *squeals* IT MEANS A LOT TO ME THAT YOU LOVED THIS BOOK, SARAH!!! Like Brodie said, this review is utter perfection. I loved every single word you use in this book, I love the P.S, aaah just EVERYTHING! ...[speechless] I think you know how I feel. I hope you start LOLA soon. Can't wait to see what you think about it! :D

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  14. I think I really need to read this book after hearing so great things averywhere. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much. Great review

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  15. SQUUEEEEEEEEEEEEE~

    Oh my gosh, I'm SO SO SO SO SO happy you loved this book like I did, Sarah!!! It's my absolute FAVOURITE contemporary novel ever, and everything you mentioned in your review was so true!! Anna, the City of Lights, ETIENNE ST. CLAIR... (He's one of my fave book boys too!) It was a perfect book and this was a perfect review! ;)

    Sarah, you are SO awesome!! I might just love you! :) <3

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  16. YES!! hohohoh!!! why am I not suprised you loved this book?? hohoho! because EVERYBODY LOVES IT!!! It is THAT WONDERFUL! holy cow! I love you P.S!! LOL!

    wonderful review my dear! love it love it!! does great justice! =D woohoooo!! muah!!

    Dazzling Reads

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  17. This is such a cute review!! It reminds me so much of what I loved about Anna. I agree with you, I love the feeling of being completely charmed by a book and basking in its afterglow. I think about this book A LOT. I have some issues with it but overall, it's one of my favourites. I've been looking for a book that captures the feelings I had about this book ever since!

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  18. Okay, you totally dazzled me with this review! It's been a long time since I read the book (since it first came out!) and I'm now itching to pick it up again just to reminiscence and reacquaint myself with it's pure perfection! One of the most flawless, beautifully written romances I've ever had the pleasure of immersing myself in. I. LOVED. THIS BOOK.

    and you are awesome for loving it too!

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

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  19. Oh. I thought I commented already, and it turns out I did. Oh well.

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Now read LOLA.

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  20. Now I'm conflicted. You know I read mostly UF and PNR but with a review like that, I might just have to read, dare I say it, a contemporary book. *gasps all around* I know, I know, don't look at me. I am actually, *gulps* growing up. Only took 26 years. What? Who said 26? That can't be right. I need a calendar, stat!

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  21. @Cass: Hehehe! YES! EXACTLY. It took a lot of effort to write a review beyond that :P
    SO excited to read Lola!

    @Jennifer: Oh my goodness, yes. I read mainly UF and PNR (and recently a LOT of YA UF/PNR), but this was just... WOW. So fun, so entertaining... it's one of those things that would be hard not to like. Fun, sweet, fluffy in a good way... I don't know about you, but I sometimes get in ruts with my normal reading--this'd be a great book for one of those moments ;)

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  22. AWESOME review! You've perfectly captured all my feelings about AatFK. ADORE! I actually just lent my copy to my cousin and she's been reading it and giggling CONSTANTLY for the past few days and between that and reading your review I'm absolutely DYING to reread it now, haha. I might just have to fit it into my reading schedule soon. :D

    I'm a new follower! :)
    Andie
    From A to Z

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  23. @Andie: Eeee! Thanks for stopping by! Oh my word, I just ADORED Anna. I finished it less than a week ago, and I'm DYING to read it again! I'm trying to get my cousin/BFF to read it, toooo! And my Mum... and, uh, everyone I know :D

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  24. Anna and the French kiss is a story that will genuinely make you happy. I finished this book in a couple of hours because I just couldn't put it down. Stephanie Perkins' writing was hilarious and amusing, I actually laughed out loud many times. Read it, you won't regret it! I enjoyed every minute of Anna and the French Kiss.

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  25. Just found your blog on Racquel's list of awesome bloggers, and I wanted to tell you that I LOVE your reviews! This one captures perfectly what makes this book so amazing :)

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