Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

 Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: July 13, 2013
Paperback, 372 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary 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. She is less than thrilled about boarding school in Paris - until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, he has it all - including a serious girlfriend. Will Anna get her French kiss?

Paris, the city of love. It's magical and anything can happen when you're far from home. Anyone would be happy to spend the semester abroad in this beautiful city, everyone expect Anna Oliphant. She's happy with her life in Atlanta, ready for her senior year of high school with her best friend and Toph, the boy who could very well become something more than a friend soon. So when her family ships her to France, she's content to stay in her room and pretend none of this ever happened. But life won't let Anna dwell on the past. Immediately, she finds herself friends with the girl next door and soon enough with Mer's friends. They force her out of her room and into the wonderfulness that is Paris. She finds herself drawn to Etienne St. Clair, the very handsome British boy who lives upstairs from her. And although she knows he's very taken and her feelings for Toph have not gone away, she can't help but want to be with him all the time. As she struggles to keep her feelings for him aside, she starts to discover the real beauty of Paris.

Paris is just as much a character in this book as Anna is. When Anna finally leaves her room, we see the cityin a beautiful light, like a new chapter in Anna's life. From Notre Dame to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, the more Anna loses herself in the city, the more she changes from who she used to be. Throughout the pages, we see her grow up. She realizes some things can never be the same with her friends and family back home, and she realizes just how important some friendships are. She learns to except that paris is part of her life now and slowly she finds herself falling in love with a city she never wanted to be in. 

Every character stands out. Some have your basic characteristics, but Perkins makes them her own. Anna, who is shy and reserved quickly becomes the girl she never thought she could be.  St. Clair is your typical YA crush, but he has his own demons to deal with and tries to make the right choices in life. Mer is a girly sporty chick, Rashmi is a cool indie chick, and Josh is a loud artsy guy. The characters made this book what it is. Each one had their own story inside this story, each with their own drama to deal with. And even though Anna and St. Clair's story was the main focus, no one was forgotten in the background. Our main characters wouldn't get to where they ended up without help from their friends. 

This story is the perfect length. As I was reading it, I thought it was going to be long, I thought there would be a lot of filler before I got to the parts I wanted to read. But there is no filler. Everything that happens needed to happen. In fact, by the end, I was hoping for more. I can't wait to see what's next for Anna and Etienne, but I'm also looking forward to meeting Perkins's new characters in Lola and the Boy Next Door, where I'm hoping Anna and Etienne will make a guest appearance. I'm still new to the YA contemporary genre, but this book certainly stood out among the rest and will forever stay in my heart. Also, can I go to paris now, please?

Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?

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