Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Description (from Goodreads):
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?

My thoughts:

Okay, I had read all the hype about this one since the first reviews started to come up in blogs. It was on my goodreads TBR-list and I was really excited about it on the eve of its publishing. But things happen, new books come up and life gets busy sometimes, so I completely forgot this book. Until I friend of my recommended it to be on Twitter. I went back to goodreads, read the synopsis and saw the amazing 4.34 grading of the book. I right away knew that this would be the moment for me to finally get this book into my hands.

I think it is easiest to start by saying that yes, I loved it! Literally, this made me worship Stephanie Perkins. And this lightened my sparkle for reading again.  I feel that recently I have started to read some books, but I haven't been interested enough, and then something else has come up and I have just abandoned the book. That is one of the reasons this blog has been so quiet recently. But thanks to this novel, I am again united with books and I can't wait to read more. So I guess I should elaborate WHY is loved this novel so much.

First of all, Anna. She is likable, realistic and in a way I was able to identify with her. I left home when I was 16 to do a year of school in USA. The difference to Anna was the fact that I really wanted to go. But like Anna, I was afraid to let myself wander around and to get used to the new environment. I really liked the realistic approach Perkins uses when describing her protagonist; Anna is not perfect, she is not the most beautiful girl in the school, she does not make friends instantly and not all of the guys are in love with her the moment they see her. In a way, right now, I am in a same type of situation Anna is in. She is in a totally new country and new school. She lives at the campus, she has never been drunk and she prefers to spend time on her own rather than at bars etc. I am in a new country, new school and I live at the campus. And unlike most of my peers, I haven't been to pub or a club yet. And I have been here since September. But unlike Anna, I haven't found my Etienne St. Clair yet.

It is not uncommon for me to fall in love with the love interests of the protagonists. That happens all the time; Edward from Twilight, Sam from the Wolves of Mercy Falls, Stefan and Damon from Vampire Diaries... All of those guys are amazing, don't get me wrong, but what Etienne has that they don't have is the fact that he is real. He is not supernatural in any way, he is just himself and that makes him magical.  There is instant chemistry between Anna and Etienne, but I liked the fact that they don't get together on the first page of the book. Perkins could have created a story about their relationship as a couple in Paris. But she does something different and created a story about their FRIENDSHIP in Paris and how is eventually evolves into something special, something beautiful. I must admit that the character of Etienne made me wonder that when a guy like that will enter into my life.

In a way, Paris becomes the third main character of this novel. At the beginning, Paris feels distant and secluded. But as Anna discovers Paris, the reader is also introduced to it. I have never been to Paris, and to be honest, I have never been that interested about going there either. But after watching Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (honestly, if Woody Allen shot a movie in a middle of a desert, I would probably want to go there after seeing it) and after reading this book, I really wish that someday I will have a chance to visit Paris. 

From Woody Allen it is easy to move to the next point I want to highlight. Anna's love for movies. That was probably the number one trait in her that I instantly identified with. She wants to be a movie critic when she "grows up"; something that I would not mind doing either. I liked the fact that movies were not the main idea of this novel though; at parts I wished there would be more about them, but then I realized that it would probably take away from Anna and Etienne time. And I held that more precious to the flow of the novel. I must admit that the several movie theatres in Paris as well sparked my interest about the city.

So all in all, Anna and the French Kiss was a great read. It truly made me want to dive into the books again (which means I now have a good reason to visit 'The Works' on Princess Street when I go to the city at the end of the week; maybe it is now time to read 'Hunger Games'- they had the whole trilogy for only 5 pounds!!). It made me laugh, it made me cry (that is always a good sign) and it made me realize how amazing reading really is. 

So if you haven't read this one yet (there probably isn't that many of you who haven't), don't be stupid like me and keep it in your TBR pile for years. Go buy it RIGHT NOW, and start reading.

Ps. For the ones who have read this, doesn't Anna's father sound like Nicholas Sparks. I don't mean the whole asshole thing, but the type of books he writes.


  1. After reading this I'm really curious about this books. Paris is my favorite city in the world, I've been there so many times (more than 10) and it's always different.

    Midnight in Paris is a good representation of Paris, because it's about the magical feeling we have when we are there and it doesn't only on the touristic side of the side.

    P.S.: I'm sorry about any mistakes, mas English is my second language, so...

  2. Thanks for your comment!
    I feel like I've been hearing so many great things about Paris lately that I really want to visit the city when I just get enough money for it.


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