Monday, 28 March 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.


Product details:
Publisher: Dutton.
Release date: December 2nd 2010.
Hardcover, 372 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Ages: 12+

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 Étienne 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?


Anna and the French Kiss, the debut novel from the oh, so, talented Stephanie Perkins is a book that will warm your heart and make you smile. I usually don’t read a lot of YA contemporary fiction, but ANNA has changed all that for me. This isn’t just just going on my ‘recent favourites’ list – it will be added to my all time favourites! I’ve already been recommending this to everyone I know. It’s a special book, and while far removed from my usual paranormal reads, there is a certain magic at play here. In her wonderful descriptions of Paris, Perkins brings the city to life on the pages of Anna and the French Kiss. If you have never been to Paris, this book will make you want to go, and if like me, you’ve already visited, this will make you want to return! I totally felt like I was right there, strolling along the Seine with Étienne St. Clair by my side. Swoon! I wish! Oh, Étienne – he is a total book crush of mine, and even a rival for my favourite book boy of all time, Jay Heaton! Oh yes, he’s that yummy!

First things first though – let me tell you about the story of Anna. She’s about to embark on her senior year of High School in Atlanta, when she is unceremoniously uprooted and shipped off to Paris by her sappy romantic novelist father who is hoping a little bit of Parisian sophistication and worldliness will rub off on her. Anna was getting along just fine in Atlanta, thanks to her perfect part-time job, and her crush on Toph, her co-worker who also just happens to be a hot guy in a band. And who she just happens to have kissed right before she left town! So, she’s not too impressed with her father butting in and RUINING her life. She soon changes her tune though, when she claps eyes on Étienne St. Clair – with his perfect hair (his hair is so beautifully described – I read back over that passage at least five times!), charming manner, and swoonworthy accent, she is immediately drawn to him. He seems to like hanging out with her too, and she soon has her very own (very hot) personal tour guide to show her the Parisian sights. There’s just one problem. He has a long term girlfriend…

We follow Anna and Étienne as they struggle with their attraction to each other – always trying to do the right thing, but sometimes making mistakes along the way. I loved these two as characters and I loved watching the progression of their relationship. Even though they are totally drawn to each other, circumstance dictates that they should just be friends, and watching their friendship unfold is wonderful. Étienne is a nice guy, but he’s flawed, he messes up, and he could be seen as the bad guy here, but he’s not – he struggles with his attraction towards Anna and his loyalty to his girlfriend. Anna’s voice is totally authentic. She tries to remain level headed as she struggles with her attraction towards Étienne, but she can’t help herself! She becomes possessive of him, analyzing every look, every word. Although Anna and Étienne take center stage, the supporting cast of characters is also wonderfully well written, as is Anna’s love of cinema. The inclusion of cinema and the part it plays in Étienne and Anna’s relationship resulted in some of my favourite scenes in the book. Perkins writes about issues that we can all relate to. I’ve totally been where Anna and Étienne are, and I’m sure many others have too. Their relationship is first love, it’s friendship, it’s about finding that person you can turn to and tell all your deepest, darkest secrets to. It’s very special.

Read this book. I promise you will love it! It will make you so happy. It will make you smile a lot! It’s a book that will appeal to everyone, at least everyone who has a heart. Stephanie Perkins truly has a special way with words. Her writing is a total gift. Her descriptions of Parisian life are breathtaking. I have never read a guy so beautifully described as St. Clair is here. The kissing scenes are simply stunning too - I thought you should know that! Stephanie’s writing voice is cute, witty and all kinds of wonderful. There were so many things I loved about this book that I could talk about it all day long! It’s true – I have already been bugging people to read it. I want everybody to know how special this book is. As soon as I had finished reading this, I wanted to pick it up and re-read it. I wasn’t ready to leave my new friends. I didn’t want this book to end! I already know that I will be reading everything Stephanie Perkins writes in the future. Highly recommended, if you didn’t already guess!

Lola and the Boy Next Door, a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss will be released in September 2011 from Dutton. I can’t wait!!

23 comments :

  1. Great review! This is an amazing book :) So glad you loved it too!

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  2. Oh man, you've left me wanting to reread this now!! Who am I kidding? That's SO not a bad thing!

    YAY! So glad you loved this! ST. CLAIR. Oh my holy goddess of lust.... le sigh. If I go to Paris, is it guaranteed I'll meet an English-accented-American-boy living there?

    Oh what I wouldn't do to get my hands on a copy of Lola..... anyway, fantastic review!!

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  3. Perfect review. You make me want to go read it all over again. And I agree Etienne is up there with Jay :)

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  4. I'm already half in love with Étienne after reading your review. This book has been lying on my shelf since months! I need to get to it soon!

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  5. I love it!!! Nice review! I still think Etienne is selfish (in some ways)

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  6. You've got me really wanting to read this book now!



    clarkmurdock.blogspot.com

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  7. Everytime I see a great review about this book I'm so happy because I loved "Anna and the French Kiss" and want everyone else to also love it. So now I'm happy :)

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  8. I resisted reading this for a long time because I usually don't enjoy YA books that are primarily romances, but like you I am so glad I read it because I loved it too. Terrific review!

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  9. Ooh! I want to go re-read this now! Great review, it's just perfect. I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I(and half the world, lol) did.

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  10. Fabulous review! I am so glad you enjoyed this book. I really loved it too. I never been too Paris, but this book made me want to go! Stephanie Perkins is definitely one of my new favorite authors and you are right when you say this book will make you smile. It's just one of those books that puts you in a good mood for days. Now if only I were in Paris right now.... ;)

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  11. I loved this book and I can't wait for Stephanie's next novel =) !!

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  12. Thanks for the wonderful review you make me want to go buy it right now.

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  13. Couldn't agree more Leanna! You articulated perfectly exactly how I reacted to this one:) I don't read too much contemporary YA fiction either, but this one had me running to the bookstore to buy as many in that genre as possible in the hopes they'd be half as good:) Can't wait for Lola and the Boy Next Door! Brilliant review:)

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  14. Yay! I'm loving all the love for this book in your review. Your *such* an Étienne fan girl ;)

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  15. I don't think I've read a negative review of this book yet. I can't wait until I get a chance to read it and see what all the hype is about!

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  16. I loved Anna and the French kiss so much it's insane. Really glad you liked it too - and I agree, I never usually read much contemporary YA, but after Anna I am changed!

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  17. Thanks for the comments, guys! :) To anyone who wants to re-read the book - me too! I think it deserves a second reading! I loved it so much! And to anyone who hasn't read it yet - you should. You won't be disappointed!

    @Savy - Definitely - St. Clair isn't perfect. He makes a lot of mistakes and messes up, but I think that made him all the more appealing in this book. He's very real! :)

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  18. This book is definitely moving up in my TBR pile! That's awesome that you wanted to re-read the book. It sounds wonderful and like it will make me want to go to Paris. Fab review!

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  19. After reading several reviews like this (and not a single bad one) I decided I simply had to read this novel, even though I don't do much contemp. I'm so glad I did! It was ADORABLE! I totally agree with everything you said. Great review! I didn't know there was going to be a companion novel! Eep!

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  20. I have had this book on my Kindle for a couple of weeks now and I haven't really felt the urge to read it... But after reading your review? Well... I had better get on it soon!
    ;)

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  21. This book is so close to absolute perfection. I love it so.

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  22. Nice review ! This is a wonderful book. Recommended :)

    Cathy
    Easy French

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