Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton
When Anna Oliphant’s famous author father (think Nicholas Sparks) decides she should go to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, instead of her public school in Atlanta, she is horribly upset and terrified of this huge change in her life. Surprisingly, Anna finds herself in a group of friends almost immediately upon arriving in Paris, and even more surprisingly, she becomes BFF’s with one of the guys in the group, the charming, intelligent, and gorgeous St. Clair. While she can’t stop herself from having a crush on him, she knows he has a girlfriend so she remains content with their friendship for most of the year. But when she starts to think he might be interested in her, too, she can’t help but think of how good they would be together …
I’ve been eyeing Anna and the French Kiss probably since it was released in late 2010 and bloggers began raving about it. Now that I’ve read it myself, I’m here to tell you that all that raving was justified – this is such a sweet, fun, charming, well-written and well-characterized young adult romance. It was everything I want my YA to be.
What I loved about this novel is that while the romance is a BIG part of the story, Anna’s own journey towards independence and learning she can grow as a person and do things on her own, can learn new things and experience a new culture, was just as important. She is the kind of character you can’t help but love – she’s smart, resourceful, honest, caring, but isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes, misjudges people, misinterprets situations, all the stuff regular people do on a daily basis. Her internal monologue is hilarious at times but also so very realistic and mirrors what real teens think and feel, how they deal with difficult situations, and how they process their emotions.
But the romance! So sweet. St. Clair is absolutely charming, so smart and so kind to everyone, the kind of guy you want the heroine to fall in love with. The way they were truly great friends for such a big part of the novel really worked for me – the romances that come out of nowhere can be fun, but aren’t very realistic. This one made sense, they fell in love over time, they truly knew each other and could appreciate little things about one another, it was just so sweet and perfect.
Anna and the French Kiss is a fantastic book in the YA romance category. I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book and I’m really looking forward to reading more from Stephanie Perkins. Highly recommended!