Reviewed by Christina Wilson, librarian, who can often be heard saying "You should read this book and let me tell you why..."
Imagine you’re about to begin your senior year of high school with all your friends, when your dad announces you have to go to boarding school in Paris.
Well that’s Anna Oliphant’s life. Anna’s famous novelist father decides his daughter needs a more “respectable” education and sends Anna, without considering her opinion, to a boarding school in Paris. At first Anna is livid; she has to leave her loyal best friend, her perfect job, and her “about-to-be” boy friend to move across the Atlantic just so her dad can feel more cultured?!
Anna’s anger starts to fade, however, as she quickly makes friends with Meredith, the girl next door. Meredith introduces Anna to her group of friends, including Etienne St. Claire- gorgeous Etienne St. Claire. St. Claire, as everyone calls him, is perfect and absolutely irresistible. Plus he’s a true international; born in the U.S., grew up in England, and lives in Paris (His accent is, of course, crush-worthy). St. Claire’s only flaw? He’s completely taken. But Anna might be too if things work out back home.
Anna’s year in Paris is full of friendship issues, romantic drama, tons of near-misses and frustration. Who, if anyone, will Anna get her French kiss from?
Honestly? I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about Anna and the French Kiss. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a sucker for chick-lit and this one might just be one of my favorite chick-lit novels of all time. Stephanie Perkins’ writing is just plain good. I work with teenagers (albeit younger teens than Anna and her friends), but I know how they talk and the dialogue in Anna and the French Kiss is a pretty darn good match. It can be hard to write in a realistic teenage voice and not come out sounding artificial, but Perkins manages it well.
I also think the relationships in this novel are very realistic. The way Anna and her friends often (mostly) don’t actually address the real issue of specific situations until it’s too late is so true to real life (teen or adult). I felt like I was reliving conversations with my friends back when I was in high school. Also, the mixed feelings Anna has towards her own family are sound; she stresses how much her dad makes her crazy, but also strives to defend him when she really gets down to it; normal emotions for anyone.
Oh and the romantic tension! Holy junk! The relationship between Anna and –?– (no spoilers) grows and builds so slowly, but surely that I turned into a version of my 15-year-old self; so many misunderstandings, awkwardness and sweet moments all mixed together! Le sigh…
I think Anna and the French Kiss is appropriate for older middle schooler readers and above. There is some language (i.e. the realistic teenage dialogue) but its very minimal. If you enjoy chick-lit, romance and Paris (!!!) you’ll definitely love Anna and the French Kiss as much as I did!
I can’t wait to read more of Perkins’ books.
Now, who wants to pay for me to move to Paris?!
Market: Young Adult
Sensuality: Moderate (mostly just discussed rather than done lets say)