Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  • Release Date: December 2, 2010
  • Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
  • Pages: 372
  • Genre: Contemporary

This book has been on my to-read list since I saw this video where John Green practically gushed about it. I finally bought it in 2012 and its one of those books that sat on my shelf for  so long I forgot about. I ended up picking this out of the TBR book jar and I figured it was about time, especially since book three in this series comes out later this year. 

The titular Anna is the daughter of a Nicholas Sparks expy who decides that for Anna's senior year she is going  to The School of America in Paris, an American boarding school right in the city of love. There she joins up with a close knit group of friends and √Čtienne St. Clair, the American boy with a French name and English accent. Yes, you read that right.

Now, I've read a lot of contemporary YAs and Anna and The French Kiss hits all the usual marks:

Girl who is pretty, but doesn't see it ? Check
Nice, hot guy, everyone likes ? Check
Mean girl ? Check
References to literature and philosophical concepts that call back to the plot ? Check

But, something about the way Stephanie Perkins uses these concepts feels new. I'd been kind of in a slump of " good but not great" books and this completely broke it for me. I read this during Bout of Books and just  flew through it. Perkins subverts the typical YA romance trope where a girls life changes because she meets a boy and actually does the a girl changes her life and meets a boy.  Anna grows up a lot in the time she spends in Paris away from her family and all that is familiar.

Anna's first person  narration is full of personality and humor. She can be boy crazy, emotional, and self-conscious, but she also has her film studies that provide her a space to be comfortable and confident.  Despite falling for Etienne from their first meeting I liked that there were several times in the novel where Anna concedes that if  Etienne just wants to be friends she will respect that. The fact that she had other things she could concentrate on made her feel like a fully dimensional character.

Anna and Etienne worked really well of each other, I liked how reciprocal their relationship was. Anna is there for him as much as he is there for her. He shows her the hidden gems and beauty of Paris and she gives him the encouragement and support to deal with his family issues.

The setting is also the star in this novel. Perkins places the school Anna attends right in the middle of Paris and I felt like I was getting an inside look into the city. Perkins goes beyond the typical iconic locations (the Eiffel Tower is a only a brief mention) and explores the churches and ruins in the city. And I think it goes without saying that the Paris food scene sounds amazing.

Anna and The French Kiss is an absolutely charming YA romance with an excellent mix of humor, swoons and heart.


  1. I loved Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and St. Clair <333 I just loved so many things about this book and not all boy related. I think you're right that it's about Anna's life changing but not because of a boy, but that does happen around the same time. I totally need to go back and reread this book :)

  2. Awww. This book was so cute, wasn't it? I'm so glad you finally got around to reading it! I need to read LOLA too, I hear it's just as adorable. The Paris setting is so fun for this one, and I really liked how their relationship turned out as well.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  3. I can't believe how long I waited to read it. I hear Anna and Etienne make an appearance in Lola too, so I can't wait to read about them for a little bit more.

  4. I just finished this book last night! I actually read it in one day and loved it! This is a really great review too!

    Tina @ Pages of Comfort - new follower!
    My FF

  5. Hi guys! I just came across your book blog, and I have to say that I absolutely LOVE it. Can't wait to come back again. I am following via Tumblr.

    Happy reading!

  6. I know exactly what you mean. So much of this book feels like it's been done before. Yet it feels entirely fresh. I think Stephanie even acknowledges that when she gets a bit meta about how books with happy endings are always the best.

    BTW...are you thinking of going to BEA this year? I was hemming and hawing but now I'm pretty sure I'm going.


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