Wednesday, December 15, 2010

[Review] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication: 4th January 2010 (AUS)
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: For review, thanks Penguin!
Age: (14+) Slight language and sexual references. Nothing major.
Pages: 380
My Rating:

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 Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne 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 the debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
My thoughts: 
Warning: This is pretty long. I could talk about this book for days, though.

Oh my lord. I am in love. 

Anna and the French Kiss is, without a doubt, one of my favourite books of the year. I'm a bit worried about my review, since there are so many rave reviews out there, and how can I express in words truly how I feel about this crazy book?

If you love contemporary YA novels with cute guys, friendship, and heartbreak and all that other good soapy-esque type stuff . . . Anna is definitely the book. It definitely takes up a spot in my top 5 for 2010. I was so engrossed in the book that when I flipped to the last page and looked at my alarm clock sitting next to my bed, I realised I had stayed up until 2 am.

Anna and the French Kiss follows the story of an eighteen year old girl, Anna, who has been shipped off to Paris in order to complete her education. There, she meets some cool people, even a super cute guy, Etienne St. Clair. He is extremely well-liked among many; even Anna has her sights on him. Trouble is, he has a serious girlfriend. As Anna takes on the challenges of learning an entirely foreign new language, going to a new school AND living in it, sight-seeing, and trying to keep up with her friends and kind-of-boyfriend back home, WILL she be able to keep away from this forbidden fruit?

Sorry for the sucky whatever you want to call it. I think I just paraphrased the blurb. Anyway.

The characters are written to perfection. They have flaws--real flaws, both physical and emotional. Their interactions and dialogues are charming and witty. Some such include a pillow fight between two best friends, email scripts, making a wish on a star (quoted!) and sleeping over. I found myself continuously urging myself forward in hopes to read more interactions between Anna and Etienne, since they are amazing together--hilarious.
     Etienne is a mixed-up guy with an American father and British mother (?), who lived in London, but went to America one year for school, and now he attends SOAP (School of America in Paris). He also has brown curly hair and brown eyes, but he has an air of confidence and everyone likes him. But he's shorter than most, but due to his confidence, Anna doesn't seem to notice. Their relationship, their ups and downs are fabulous and realistic and seriously...I swooned. I'm a bit embarrassed by that.

Oh yeah--Anna is set in France! As a little girl, the one place in the world I wanted to visit was France, and I felt like I got to finally visit Paris through this book. Every landscape and chapel that is described is done so in such immaculate detail that I found myself breathless at times, just basking in the essence that emanated what my mind conjured of Perkin's words.

Anna is not only a riveting story about a girl who has been shipped off to Paris for school, but it teaches of the consequences of just one action, and how things may not always be what they seem. Anna believes that her friend from back home hates her, but truly she has been confused and left in the dust; Anna finally discovers that her situation in Paris is relative to all that has happened back home. Through her realisation, she is finally able to unfurl some of the tangle and mess that accumulates over the course of the novel.

Also, Anna is one hell of a page-turner. It has been so long since I got so lost in a book that I didn't even count down how many pages there were left to read. I just kept on reading and reading and reading, and before I knew it, I had reached the end of the book. 

Stephanie Perkins. She's going to be BIG. She's definitely a new author to follow.

Conclusion: Sparks ignite in this riveting novel: Anna is romantic, funny, heart-breaking, satisfying, emotional and educational . . . one of my favourite novels of the year!

    So what do I wish for? Something I'm not sure I want? Someone I'm not sure I need? Or someone I know I can't have?
Screw it. Let the fates decide.I wish for the thing that is best for me.
    How's that for a generalization? I open my eyes, and the wind is blowing harder. St. Clair pushes a strand of hair from his eyes. "Must have been a good one," he says. (pg. 87)


Live in Australia?

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.


Lola and the Boy Next Door
Isla and the Happily Ever After

Both are companion novels to Anna.

Challenge: 2010 Debut Author Challenge, though this could be 2011, too for Aussies. ;)

Other Reviews:
  • "If you love contemporary romance at all - THIS is the book to own!!!"
    - Book Crazy (5+ mushrooms)
  • "The best Romantic comedy I've ever read!  :)  C'est magnifique!"
    - Reading Teen (6/6)
  • "Anna was a dream come true! Perkins took everything I wished someone would write and made it a reality for me. Merci beaucoup."
    - Princess Bookie (5 cupcakes)
  • "I was losing hope that a contemporary romance . . . authentic and deep . . . would show its face this year.  Perkins threw me a life raft . . . fantastic debut."
    - Persnickety Snark (Go Australia!)
  • "The falling in love feeling you get from this book is the sweetest feeling ever."
    - The Cozy Reader

I'd love to read your reviews! Leave a comment with a link to your review and I'll add it to the list. ;)

Learn more about Anna and the French Kiss and read more reviews at Goodreads

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