Review: Anna and the French Kiss

book cover: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsName of Book: Anna and the French Kiss
By: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books (a member of Penguin group)
Copyright Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 372
Format: YA fiction
Reason for Reading: The rave reviews I’ve seen everywhere had me picking this up at the library

Anna Oliphant’s dad has decided to send her away to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school.Β  Anna is upset about leaving her best friend behind in Atlanta and a potential boyfriend. However, things look up for Anna soon upon arriving at SOAP (School of America in Paris) and she quickly discovers the delights of living in the City of Lights.

One big upsides is meeting the extremely attractive, funny, and charming Etienne St. Clair, whom she immediately falls for. The downside? It just so happens that he has a girlfriend.

I read this book while sick and it was the perfect antidote to feeling yucky and rundown. This book made me so happy and giddy I couldn’t put it down. I literally read it one night, staying up late to finish. Anna and St Clair are such likeable characters. They are flawed and human and palpably real. It is a story of miscommunications, missed connections, and about growing up.

There were so many things that I loved about this book. I love how Anna finds a greater sense of her strength and independence. She becomes much more self-aware by the end. She can see her mistakes and attempts to correct them. I love the way the friendship between Anna and St Clair unfolds so naturally and beautifully. I love the email exchanges during Christmas break. And I love the way Paris plays a subtle character in it all. I am a sucker for foreign settings, especially France.

And the writing. The writing is quick and clever and very funny. Perkins has a strong, unique voice and I like it. She gets teenager speak dead on. There were a few moments in the book where I cringed at teenager speak; however, the humor quickly reeled me in. I am almost certain it was this next line on page sixteen that hooked me. (It happens right after meeting Etienne.)

” ‘I live here.’ I point dumbly at my room while my mind whirs: French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused.”

I also really enjoyed this story because I am a lifelong francophile.Β  Anna’s experience reminded me of my own adventures living abroad being immersed in French culture, learning the language, and the foreign quality that normal daily activities take on outside of the comfort zone. I was rooting for Anna to discover her worth, be brave and independent, and to stick up for herself and also, to see her own errors.

A minor quibble: As fleshed out as Anna and St. Clair are some of the other characters were less so. But the vividness of Anna and St. Clair absolutely makes up for it.

I hear there is a companion book-not a sequel, mind you-coming out soon. Lola and the Boy. I will definitely be on the lookout for it.

This entry was posted in Fiction, Posts by Jehara, YA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Review: Anna and the French Kiss

  1. Louise says:

    I’ve seen so many reviews of this book Jehara. I’m a francophile too. I know I will end up reading it sometime, just not sure when that will be.

    • jehara says:

      I have been seeing them everywhere. I didn’t plan on reading this so soon but it was on the feature shelf in the teen section of the library last time I was there so I thought, why not? That was over three weeks ago. I have been really sick this week and I really wanted something that would be uplifting and I thought this would probably do it. And it did. It was an adorable book.

  2. Kailana says:

    I have been hearing lots of good stuff about this book. I really must read it!

    • jehara says:

      The good stuff is warranted. I am usually a little leery about books that get so much hype, but after I finished the book, I got it. It is such an adorable book. I really really enjoyed it.

  3. Margot says:

    I think everyone should have a stack of books just for those times when you are feeling sick or even just a little bit off. Glad this one worked for you. It sounds sweet but not in a sugary way.

    • jehara says:

      You are so right. I never thought about having a sick list but that so would help. I find it difficult to read anything while ill, but after three days of sitting on my bum and watching tv I was a little desperate to find a book I could focus my sick brain on. This one definitely hit the mark. Also, you are right, it definitely wasn’t sugary. The word that keeps coming to mind is adorable. I have no other word for it. But I get it now why everyone else loves it so much.

  4. Trisha says:

    I love the idea of a quirky, fun read like this, especially if it is a standalone! It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book like this that didn’t have at least two more installments coming out.

    • jehara says:

      Now that you mention it, I think it has been a while since I read a standalone book as well. I adored this book. I know I keep saying that, haha. πŸ™‚

  5. Erin says:

    I keep hearing really good things about this one! I’ll definitely be reading it at some point, probably when I’m in the mood for this sort of story. I really like teen books where the author clearly “gets” teens!

    • jehara says:

      She really does. And it’s not annoying. Just a bit jarring in the first few pages then that particular line won me over and I was in love going forward. Great book. πŸ™‚

  6. Enjoyed reading your review. Mine is here if you are interested ( Which characters were you talking about that weren’t fleshed out well? Just curious. I can definitely see what you mean by that since Anna and St. Clair played such dominant roles. I had a few quibbles with it as well, but like you I’ll definitely be reading Perkins’ upcoming novel once it’s been out for awhile. She has such a good grasp on teen speak, it’s unreal!

    • jehara says:

      She really does. It threw me off for the first few pages, but then I settled into it. To answer your question, I thought the supporting characters were a little less than three dimensional. Meredith felt a little too cardboard for being her new best friend. It could be that Anna and St. Clair were so dynamic that everyone else felt, including her friends back home, just paled in comparison. Regardless, I loved it. I fell in love with Anna and Etienne and that is good enough for me. πŸ™‚

  7. kaye says:

    I’ve read so many good reviews that this book is one I want to read as well. nice job on the review.

  8. Pingback: Analysis of Books Read in 2011 + A Survey |

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