Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read on November 25, 2011
My rating: +
Summary: Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?
Okay. So here's the deal with this book. I picked it up at around 1 am today (which means last night) because I'm a pathetic insomniac who likes to read when it's time for bed and likes to sleep when it's time for breakfast. Anyhow. This book sucked me right in!. I did NOT even have to make an effort. NONE. And it wasn't until I caught the slightest signal of sunrise that I decided, extremely against my will, to put this book down and save my deteriorating sleep-deprived self. Then I woke up 6 hours later and Anna and the French Kiss sucked me right in again. Then I finished the book in one day. In three sittings (that 1 am reading in bed, then the living room sofa reading after lunch, then another sofa reading in the privacy of my own room).
What do I say? Um. It's been quite a long time since I last felt so giggly and giddy and in love with a book. Let's see. The last time I could recall was with When It Happens, and that was like in 2008. Gosh, I'm such a loser.
Where do I start? My head is spinning. Now I'm in love with the idea of beingin love, because if it feels this nice to be in love, then it doesn't sound like a bad idea. Or does it? Jeez! I don't even know what to say about this book!
Okay, let me try.
This is a really cute story told in the voice and point of view of Anna Oliphant, nicknamed Banana Elephant. She originally doesn't like her dad, and worse, he decides to ship her off to a boarding school in Paris! She doesn't want to leave Atlanta which means leaving her little brother, Sean, and her best friend, Bridge(tt), and her crush, (Chris)Toph(er), who's on the verge of becoming more than just a crush. She feels bitter when she unpacks her stuff in her dorm room. This school is, according to Anna, full of rich and stylish and sophisticated kids whose parents are, you know, biggies, who don't really want their kids around. On the first day at SOAP (School of America in Paris), she makes her first new friend, Meredith, whose room is next door to Anna's. After enjoying chatting and chocolat chaud with Meredith, Anna starts to feel good about this school, and on her way out of Mer's room, she bumps into this English French American Boy Masterpiece whose name is Etienne St. Clair, who is drop-dead gorgeous and makes me SQUEAL. And SWOON.
Her first days at the school really captures the feelings of being in a foreign land. I can totally relate to her. She avoids food that requires ordering, because she doesn't speak a bit of French and she's still insecure about it. That totally happened to me once or twice in Germany. She looks lost and feels lost for some time, but life gets better. She makes great friends with Meredith, Rashmi, Josh, and most importantly St. Clair. SQUEAL. They both like each other in an instant (or so I think), but it's not that easy. St. Clair has a long-term girlfriend who's now in college, and Anna's still holding on to Toph. Moreover, Meredith's also crushing on him. Anna and St. Clair become immediate friends and hang out often and share problems about their lives (mostly fathers) and become comfortable with each other's friendship.
Isn't that the cutest thing ever? Being in love with your best friend? Sigh.
I love this book. There are just so many elements to it that I really really love. In this book, friendship is just as important as the attraction between Anna and St. Clair. Although the attraction "just happens", the author took time to work up the romance. It's like attraction developed into great friendship which is developed into being in love with your best friend. I don't know how to explain it. They're both perfect for each other. I smiled reading their funny sarcastic remarks and what they have to say to each other. It's just so cute, okay? And how St. Clair tries to conquer his fear of height for Anna. GOSH. ARGH!!! TOO BLOODY LOVELY! And Anna's later idea of "home". Oh my. I love that. Because I think it's true, it's more of a question of who you're with, rather than where you are, that gives you the feeling of being home.
I love the fact that this is not a book about the perfect-in-every-way-possible guy and i'm-an-ordinary-person girl. Or vice versa. Or whatever. I love that the characters are flawed, but yet still beautiful. St. Clair has crooked bottom teeth, and Anna has a huge gap (that's what she says) between her front teeth. And St. Clair is short. But he also speaks British accent (OH DEAR GOD). And they both have financial issues. And their fathers are asses. I love that there are more realistic elements crafted in this book than just sparkly teenage romance. I believe we all have people like the characters in our lives, so it's really believable and interesting, because while you read about them, you have your own versions of them in your head.
Hmmm, what else? Oh, the writing. Can I just say that Ms. Perkins' writing is something you can totally get lost in? In a good way, of course. Like I said earlier, it will suck you right in. It's a quick and easy and enjoyable read. Which reminds me again that great books don't necessarily have to be written in such difficult language so as to portray literary gorgeousness. This book is perfect just the way it is. Oh, and I also love that Anna takes me to visit different tourist attractions in Paris with her. Makes me want to book a ticket and go there right now.
Anna and the French Kiss really reminds me of what it's like to be in love. The heart racing thing, the confusion, the he-doesn't-like-me-okay dialogue with myself, the staring, the awkwardness, the warmth, the good feelings, the heartache. Ah. I do miss those things.
All in all, this book is just perfect in every way possible. It will certainly make you abandon your priorities and just keep going until you finish. I love, love, love it!
And for one last time, SQUEAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.
By the way, I'm not really as crazy about St. Clair as everybody else seems to be. I don't know. I know he's gorgeous and has a British accent (I KNOW!) and all, but he still fails to beat Michael Moscovitz from the Princess Diaries in the race to be my "dream guy". Still, I wouldn't complain to have him in my life. He makes me SQUEAL with delight, remember?
This review is also posted on Goodreads.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.