Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin group, in 2010
Format: Hardcover (372 pages)

Anna and the French Kiss

How I heard about this book: Several friends on twitter/blogs
How I got a copy: From the library
Why I wanted to read it: I’m trying to read more YA books, and several people whose opinion I trust raved about how fantastic it was.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars (I’m buying my copy this week!)

Intended Audience: Young Adults
Genre: YA/chicklit
Themes: romance, infatuation, doubt, discovery, friends

Parental Warnings: Sex is mentioned a few times, but it isn't part of the story. There are several instances of drunken behavior. One very strong curse word is used several times near the end of the book.

First Line: Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge.

I can’t remember the last time I stayed up all night to finish a book, but I couldn’t put this one down. I finally closed the covers just after 5:30 am and managed to get about three hours of sleep.

The author does a fantastic job of capturing the voice of Anna, a senior in High School sent to boarding school in France for her final year. You hear her tone and cadence. You feel her uncertainty and doubt. She does not want to be in Paris. She left behind her brother, her best friend, her great job at the multiplex, and the cute boy at the multiplex…all because her Dad wants to impress the people in Hollywood (he’s a big time writer whose books have been turned into movies). She’s alone and scared and living in a city where she doesn’t speak the language.

But she makes friends quickly. The second person she meets is the wonderfully handsome and eternally likeable Etienne St. Clair. She falls head over heels for him, but he has serious girlfriend. How will she juggle her feelings and their friendship? And what about the boy back home? Anna isn’t perfect, but who is, especially at seventeen.

The Latin quarter of the city and her life at school are breezily laid out. At times, her inner monologue is melodramatic as she analyzes every possible meaning of something that was said or done. (I totally remember being that way). The dialogue is flirty and funny and effortlessly cool. I laughed out loud so many times, and I lost count of how many favorite passages I had. Although the story is predicable, it doesn’t detract at all from the storytelling. This was such a fun, easy read. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoyed it. The YA/chick lit/lite romance isn't my typical genre at all, but I would recommend this to any girl out there.

Do you want another point of view? This review and others can be found at

My thoughts on the cover: It's all right, but Etienne is too tall. And although the Eiffel Tower is THE landmark for Paris, it's only mentioned once in the book. Notre Dame would have been better, even if it's less recognizable.

1. 2011 YA Reading Challenge from Jamie's Bookshelf
2. The TwentyEleven Challenge from Bart's Bookshelf (To YA or not to YA)

   The TwentyEleven Challenge


  1. Anna and St Clair bring the best and the hidden things out with each other. They confide in each other, and through the course of their realistic relationship of ups and downs, frustrations, happiness and fear, they both find something within each other, and that's an inner strength. Anna goes from being scared to be away from home and to walk around Paris by herself, it finding it's okay to be on your own. By the end of the book she's ventures out on her own and ends up enjoying where she is in life. St Clair is the hot guy on campus, who doesn't seem to ever let anything effect him. What he's hidden from everyone else, is the one thing that Anna helps him find the courage to face. I won't lie, Stephanie sure knows how to write a heart breaking scene.

  2. There's so much more I'd love to say about Anna and The French Kiss, but that would mean I'd mention spoilers, which I won't do. I freely admit that Anna and The French Kiss now has a place on my favorite reads shelf. I'm still blown away that this is Stephanie's debut book! I am really excited to know she has more books coming out and I can't wait to read them.