Author: Stephanie Perkins (author website)
Release Date: December 2nd 2010 by Dutton
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
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.
Books in This Series:
- Anna and the French Kiss (December 2010)
- Lola and the Boy Next Door (September 2011)
- Isla and the Happily Ever After (2013)