I received a copy of this book via SocialBookCo in exchange for an honest review. SocialBookCo is a website that provides price comparisons so readers can find the cheapest or best option. It also has a review program for people with a book blog or YouTube channel. If you click the following link, you’ll be redirected to the page listing the places that offer Anna and The French Kiss and their prices!
Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 382 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Overall Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
Synopsis: Anna can’t wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy.
The only problem? He’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?
I am baaack. And so behind, I’m embarrassed. There are like 3 or 4 blog posts pending that I just haven’t had the time to get done. This one in particular, got me to actually push and write it because I have a deadline. Working + running a small business + keeping a blog and Bookstagram is simply too difficult to juggle sometimes.
But getting back on track, I had been meaning to read this book for a long time now and was delighted when SocialBookCo assigned it to me as my next Read & Review book. I am infinitely pleased with it and I’m about to tell you why.
Anna Oliphant (strange name that I just did not find believable no matter how much I read it) is a senior in Atlanta with a okay-ish life that is looking to turn into great. She has her best friend Bridgette, her crush on her co-worker Toph is shaping out to be requited and she works at a local cinema place, which means she gets to be near the things she loves most in the world: movies.
Life feels pretty great until, *record scratching noise* her Dad decides to send her to study in Paris for her senior year. This was quite a tricky part for the author to get through because no matter how bratty and annoying a teen can be, I don’t think anyone on their right mind would oppose to the idea of studying and living in Europe for a whole year, especially Paris. But Stephanie Perkins did a great job in showing a grateful teen that was still unhappy with the sudden change in her life. Anna did know how lucky she was and what a rare and wonderful opportunity her Dad was giving her. However, her problem with it was that she didn’t have a choice and that is extremely important; when your free will is thwarted, it’s very difficult to enjoy the benefits of a decision made for you.
So, off Anna goes into unknown territory, where she doesn’t speak the language and into a school where everyone knows each other and she is the one and only new girl in the last four years. She is overwhelmed with all these new changes when she meets her dorm room neighbor, Meredith, who treats her kindly and eases her initial worries. And after Mer, she meets Étienne St. Clair.
Étienne is an American-raised-in-London-but-speaks-perfect-French guy who is close friends with Meredith, which means he is nice to Anna and welcomes her as well. He is, of course, interesting and handsome, which captures Anna’s attention in a superficial way, since she has Toph back home… sort of.
The next day, Anna is freaking out about her first day but luckily enough, she is invited to join her recently met friends for breakfast. St. Clair, as he is commonly known between his friends and peers, helps her order breakfast, since the language is still completely incomprehensible for Anna. While waiting in line, a classic Mean Girl™ tries to make Anna uncomfortable but St. Clair sticks up to her. And thus begins their sweet friendship.
The book progresses really well, as it shows how Anna and St. Clair find their own very particular banter and slowly grow closer and closer, to the point where they consider each other their best friend. St. Clair is taken and Anna still fantasizes about her “possible” future with Toph back in Atlanta, but they still manage to be incredibly sweet and funny together. St. Clair is absolutely swoon-worthy, because he is very real. While still a teenager and imperfect, he manages to be a sweet and actual good guy that cares for the people in his life and looks for the ways to make them comfortable. Anna is in need of such a friendship as she grows used to her life in Paris.
After a series of difficult events happen in both their lives, they reach the ultimate level of closeness. Which leads to the predictable outcome: they realize they are in love with each other.
From here on out, I thought the story would quickly unravel and finish, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were still hardships to go through. And –best of all– they were believable. These are teenagers, that don’t think about much else but the drama in their lives and the particular moment they are living in. That shows in the novel and sometimes I had to roll my eyes simply because I’ve been there and acted exactly the same. The feeling of falling in love is also very poignant in the writing and there was more than once where I felt the butterflies flutter in my stomach.
The one little detail I simply did not like or found believable was that Anna never really took the time to discover Paris. She even mentions towards the end that she hasn’t been to this one particular place that is just like the top of the list of any tourist guide. I visited Paris and stayed for a week, I knew a little bit of French but not that much to call myself fluent and still I went and visited half the city by the second day. It’s such a magical place that you just cannot sit in your dorm room for an entire year and not get out there. That was one really annoying part for me, who wastes such an opportunity???
Another thing that I thought was too clichéd was that St. Clair’s girlfriend is not a “nice person.” I felt that was made to let the reader see how much better off he would be with Anna but to be honest, I thought it to be the typical storyline where the current girlfriend doesn’t treat him right but he stays there when he could be happier with our protagonist. Ugh. Let’s change that overused narrative, please!
But, asides from that, the book is incredibly sweet and nice, a light read to get you through the day. I am really curious about Perkins’ two additional novels but there are very mixed reviews about them so I’m still thinking whether or not I’ll read them. Anna and The French Kiss is such a nicely accomplished book, I wouldn’t want to ruin it if the sequels don’t match up. But we’ll see…
Have you read Anna and The French Kiss? Did you enjoy it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!