Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book 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 √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne 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?  -Goodreads

I heard about this novel from Ronni from Anywhere Is during the 30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 4- Favorite Books.  I decided to look up the novel and the author.  As I kept looking at the cover, it felt very familiar to me. Probably because I might have seen this book in Target or around the web.  The above summary sounded interesting, so I put it on my Goodreads list and ordered it from Barnes & Noble.

One of the first things that caught my attention about this novel is an Anna's description of her Dad. Anna's dad writes romance novels and he is a fictional version of Nicholas Sparks.   Don't believe me? 

James Ashley wrote books such as The Incident, and The Entrance.  His stories take place in Small Town, Georgia about folks with good American values, fall in love, contract life threatening diseases and die. His novels were made into movies.   On the other hand, Nicolas Sparks wrote: The Notebook, The Choice, The Rescue, The Guardian, The Last Song, Safe Haven, and many other books.  His books take place in small towns in North Carolina.  Several of Nicholas Sparks' novels were made into movies.   I'm not ashamed to say that I have read several novels by Nicholas Sparks and watched The Notebook.   I wondered if Stephanie Perkins was poking fun at Nicholas Sparks making a fictional version of him.  One of the novel descriptions reminded me of A Walk to Remember.  

Anna is reluctant to spend her senior year in Paris away from her best friend Bridget, her crush Toph, and her little brother Sean.  She also has a job at the movie theater where Toph works.  

I have to wonder  about the real reason why some parents send their children off to boarding school. Is it to avoid most of the  four years of teen angst, to be cultured, or something else entirely?  

However, Anna is not happy about living in France.  She doesn't speak French and doesn't know how to navigate through Paris.  Everything changes when she meets Etienne St. Clair.  Etienne was born in America, raised in England, and now lives in France.  He is perfect and has a British accent.  I don't know what it is about guys with British accents that make women swoon.  This reminds me of an episode of Family Feud when Steve Harvey asked: What country has the biggest playboys?  The survey said, England.  

Anna and Etienne develop a friendship during the course of the school year.  They develop feelings for each other, but there is one major obstacle in their way-Etienne has a girlfriend. Anna also knows that Meridith is interested in St. Clair.

Anna still hopes that there is a chance with her crush Toph back in Atlanta.  However, when she returns to Atlanta for Christmas break, she finds out that her best friend Bridget is dating Toph. This causes a rift between Anna and Bridget.  

What I loved most about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is that it takes place in Paris.  I have always wanted to travel to Europe.  I felt like I was given a virtual tour without getting on an airplane.  Thanks to the descriptions given by Stephanie Perkins, I felt like I was actually there.  This tour of Paris via book will have to due until I can get there.  

Etienne and Anna's relationship is complicated.  They fight their feelings for each other, and they have to learn to work through their problems.  There was a scene when St. Clair finds Anna at the Notre Dame and their true feelings are revealed.  I don't want to give too much away,  but I imagined Spandau Ballet's "True" playing in the background, or maybe an up to date pop song.  

I also appreciate that the story was not too predictable. I was anxious to keep reading to find out if St. Clair was going to stay with Ellie or move forward with Anna.   ANNA AND THE FRENCH was a wild roller coaster ride, and I enjoyed every moment of it.

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