Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna is 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. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

“Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is. Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and a lot of kings with the name Louis. I’m not sure what they did either, but I think it has something to do with the French Revolution, which has something to do with Bastille Day.” 
Thus begins Anna and the French Kiss; the witty tale of Anna, a rich little poor girl, whose daddy - an author with a formulaic plot that usually involves people falling in love, contracting a life-threatening diseases and dying - sends her to Paris for school, to impress his wealthy friends.  
Anna doesn’t want to be shipped away to Paris during her senior year, so, in true teenage spirit,* she throws a tantrum; a rather useless one as the story opens up with Anna in Paris, knowing next to nothing about the place in which she has to spend an entire year. She is a girl of privilege, attending a prestigious school in a city that many people love, yet she doesn’t try to learn anything useful about her new home, I found this slightly disturbing. 
The biggest thing Anna has going for her is her wit and her funny narrative, which makes her character endearing. I think, without these, she might have come off a bit abrasive. 
Through Anna, we are introduced to her new friends and love interest - Étienne, who is suppose to be shorter than Anna, even though she mistakes him for a wall when she walks into him in the very beginning of the story. We are also introduced to the school, then slowly to Paris, when Anna is practically dragged from the dorms by Étienne for a night around town. 
Stephanie Perkins isn’t very descriptive in Anna’s exploration of Paris; and while it is primarily a love story, a little more description of Paris would have been perfect; after-all, it is the City of Love. We do, however, get to see a lot of Étienne’s hair, and eyes, and the things he says and the strange things he does. 
I found it a little ironic that Anna’s story contained similar elements as her father’s bestseller novels (which she hated). Anna and the French Kiss is a book for the hopeless romantic, unfortunately, I’m not a hopeless romantic, but if you are you’ll definitely enjoy the witty prose. 

*generalization of course


  1. I thought Anna and the French Kiss was cute but I didn't love it as much as everyone else seemed to. They seemed to go around in circles for most of the book even though I enjoyed both Anna & Etienne the whole drama went on too long for me.
    I did however love the sequel Lola and the Boy Next Door but you might not since it's another hopeless romantic type book :-)

  2. @Karen - I do want to give Lola a try! I'm hoping it's a little better...

  3. It is funny and sweet, but has its moments of drama. It keeps readers on their toes as the various relationships develop then threaten to fall apart. Anna and her friends and family are fully realized characters and the story and her experiences are completely relate-able. And may I add that Paris itself is an important character in this book. Anyone who has been there will be transported yet again to Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Jardin du Luxembourg and the lovely corners and streets of the Latin Quarter where much of the book takes place. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.