It’s funny how things work out. Almost immediately after I posted about Just One Day, i received the fabulous and amazing news that I will actually be traveling to Europe this summer!! It’s crazy to think that I’m going to be able to explore Edinburgh and Dublin. I’m literally so excited. And speaking of excited – let’s get the review started!
Anna can’t wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?
Goodreads score: 4.17/5
If you’ve ever had the desire to run off to Paris and live your life, then this is the book for you, although I doubt you and Anna would get along. Anna and the French Kiss is a charming young adult novel about falling in love and exploring the city of love. Yes, the plot may be a little contrived (and there are times when the main characters deserves a good smack on the head) but its just such a fun look at falling in love as a teenager. Only in Paris.
French Kiss covers the entirety of Anna’s senior year in high school, beginning with her first day, where she is absolutely dreading moving to Paris (which. What?) through to her graduation. It also encompasses the story of her friendship with St. Clair, the handsome boy she meets and falls in love with. (Side note: I think the name Etienne is gorgeous) The interactions between the two characters are what really sold the novel for me. Perkin’s manages to imbue their conversations with sparkling wit, all while balancing that awkward line between friends and … not-friends. St. Clair and Anna’s tentative foray into romance is just such a sweet story, if rife with ups and downs and some hypocrisy on both their parts. They are just such believable teenagers, and reading French Kiss made me laugh out loud, groan, go squirmy and finally cry.
I’m not going to say this book is perfect – Anna’s definitely got some character flaws, one of which is her unbelievable stupidity about Paris. I nearly put the book down at the beginning, because I was so irritated by the fact that she seemed to know literally nothing about France. Yes, there is a sticky situation concerning infidelity that isn’t handled so gracefully and yes, sometimes the problems that Anna faces just seem so contrived. But the thing is, this book managed to hit me where a lot of other young adult romances haven’t. French Kiss is a book about being stupid and young and falling in love in one of the best cities in the world.
I think that there is a lot to say for a book that you can pick up and feel happy reading again. Stephanie Perkins has actually become one of my favorite Young Adult writers – Anna and the French Kiss is just the first part of trilogy. Each of her books manages to create a deeply flawed – but extremely human and likable – main character. The thing about reading her books is that I know an Anna, or Isla, or Lola. Maybe sometimes I am one. The point is that people aren’t perfect – but that doesn’t mean that their stories aren’t lovely to read.