Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss 
~Stephanie Perkins 

Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Hardcover: 372 pages 
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (December 2, 2010)
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0525423273 

 From the author's website:
Anna was 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. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend. 

 But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

Anna Oliphant is starting her senior year in high school.  She should be extatic, but she's not; her father has enrolled her in a French boarding school for American students.  She's leaving behind her best friend, Bridgette, and her latest crush, Toph, the cute guy at work who she finally kissed the night before she left for Paris.  She's alone and doesn't know anyone, doesn't speak French, and just wants to go home to Atlanta.

She does make friends, of course, and even while she's pining for Toph, she develops a crush on Etienne St. Clair, one of the guys in her group of friends.  She thinks he might feel the same, but St. Clair has a girlfriend; she graduated last year and attends a local Parisian college.  It shouldn't be complicated, right?  But it sooo is...  

My thoughts:
It's ALWAYS the books that I put off reading that I end up adoring.  Anna and the French Kiss is like hot chocolate (chocolat chaud) on a cold winter day:  It warmed my heart, made me smile, and I didn't want to put it down.  

Stephanie Perkins has written a wonderful story about a teenage girl who's learning that although things change, they're not always bad.  Her cast of characters are well-rounded and each of them brings something special to the story.  Besides the witty writing and sweet story line, though, I think what I liked best is that Anna is a character that I can relate to.  I remember those feelings of insecurity and just feeling so...awkward.  Her fears about being an American in France are comically endearing.  I also swooned with Anna over St. Clair, he was  so charming and sweet had his own problems to deal with.

As you probably guessed from the title, Anna and the French Kiss is set in Paris, and Ms. Perkins does a wonderful job of highlighting all the parts of Paris I hope to one day see for myself.  There were several scenes that took place in the city, notably a very sweet scene when St. Clair takes Anna on a brief tour of the city to assuage her fear of leaving the school's campus. 

In case I haven't made it clear yet, I absolutely recommend Anna and the French Kiss; it's definitely going on my Keeper Shelf.  I plan to read more books by Ms. Perkins, starting with the next book in this series, Lola and the Boy Next Door, on shelves September 29.

My Rating:


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