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THE BOOK -Anna & The French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Bk. #1 of Anna & The French Kiss
First published in 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Genre: YA Contemporary
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 401 pages
Published in 2014 by Usborne Publishing
My Rating: 3/5 stars
THE PLOT -Anna had everything figured out - she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere... Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.
But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Étienne St. Clair, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he's taken - and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?
This novel left me with a lot of conflicting emotions, and I'm still not 100% sure what I thought about it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I expected. It felt a little slow in places. This novel has been growing in popularity since it was released nearly 5 years ago and I haven't seen a single negative review pop up on my feed. Everyone seems to love this book with a passion. For me, it was... meh. If I'm being totally honest, I can see why people like this book as much as they do - it's cute, it's fun, it's romantic, and it's set in Paris.
Anna was a character I had to learn to love. Her anger at her father for sending her 4000 miles away, to a country with a language she doesn't speak, is understandable, but it's Paris. I've only been once in my life, but it was, without a doubt, one of the best trips of my life. It's an absolutely beautiful city, rich in culture and tasty food. The fact that she had nothing to do but complain really grated on me. I would have loved to have spent my last year of high school in a foreign country. Nevertheless, she makes new friends on her first day and it doesn't take long for them to coax her out of school grounds and into the city. Once she realized what Paris has to offer, she started to grow on me. I won't lie and say she didn't make some questionable choices - namely Toph and Dave - but I didn't finish the book disliking her. Rather, I found myself rooting for her in all her future endeavors.
And then there's Étienne St. Clair, the golden boy that everyone fawns over. Honestly, I don't understand the attraction. He's a nice guy, sure, but he just didn't do anything for me. His relationship with Ellie drove me insane, even after he explained why he stayed with her for so long. It just got to me. However, I will admit that the tragic story regarding his mum did upset me, especially with the controlling nature of his father. My heart broke for him, but I still couldn't bring myself to like him. There was just something that didn't feel right. I know, I'm a strange one.
The romance was written well, though it felt a touch too unrealistic in places. Nevertheless, I love relationships that start as friendship and progress from there. Anna and St. Clair did make a good couple, but I think the obstacle that was Ellie made the whole thing a little bittersweet. I cannot condone staying with someone because you don't want to be alone, but that's all I'm going to say on the subject. Perkins's cute romantic style was the only thing that stopped me from hating their relationship.
The other characters - namely Meredith, Rashmi, and Josh - are what really helped create a teenage atmosphere that wasn't overbearingly filled with angst. The gang adopts Anna on her very first day at SOAP (the School Of America in Paris), and despite them having problems between themselves, the group is very close. These characters drew me in from the very beginning and I found myself rooting for all of them.
Stephanie Perkins is an incredibly talented author when it comes to her style. Her descriptions of Paris are gorgeous - and right on the mark. I felt like I was actually there, and it made me yearn for a city I've only visited once. Her writing flows beautifully and I will read her other books just to experience her gorgeous style again.
Overall, Anna & The French Kiss is a book filled with beautiful descriptions and cute romance. If you're looking for an easy YA contemporary novel, I would recommend you grab a copy. Though I gave this book 3 stars, I did a lot of thinking before I decided on a final rating. If it wasn't for St. Clair and Ellie, this book would have been a solid 4 stars, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Either way, it's cute, it's fun, and it's easy to read. Plus, I love these covers.