Friday, June 22, 2012

YA Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

by Isabelle Doan

Random Information:

Publisher: Speak
Pages: 372 (Hardcover)
Series: Has two companions, can be stand alone
My Format: Paperback, bought
Time it took to read: 12 Hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
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. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
Upon finishing the book, I felt a big "whut" moment, to say the least. Don't get me wrong, it was a good ending, but... well, I'll get into that later.
I may have exaggerated just a little. 

What I am going to say now is that Anna and the French Kiss was very enjoyable. It's very chick lit-esque, reminding me of, say, a Meg Cabot book. You see, Anna, our heroine, is deposited in a select boarding school in Paris by her rich father. (Who is "horrible" by Anna's standards. Oh no. I am in a new school in the city of light with none of my friends. What ever shall I do.) She quickly gains friends (and by that, I mean she is crying and new friends come literally knocking on her door.) and meets the ever handsome, British, and charming Etienne St. Clair. Through a magical senior year at the School of America in Paris, Anna and Etienne experience love, loss, heartache and the magic of friendship.

Soooo anyway, like I was saying, this book is very Meg Cabot like. The writing styles are similar, and so are the heroines. I don't think that's a bad thing, but I encourage all writers to find their own styles. But I was actually curious to see if Stephanie Perkins was influenced by the likes of Meg Cabot. This is what her website says:

I often refer to Meg Cabot as The Queen. Because she is. (I love you, Meg!)
Mmm yeah. It's very obvious, Miss Perkins.

Another thing about the writing is that it's very humorous from time to time. Not like "knock-knock" joke humorous, but in the sense like it's a satire making fun of itself. Like Anna and the French Kiss knows how ridiculous romances (especially chick lits) can be.

For instance, in some romances, we have this multicultural person. Like he has a sexy British accent and is hanging out in another country (like Paris). In other romances, the heroine would have let it slide and the reader would have rolled their eyes (and maybe stabbed it with a fork. Who knows?) But in this book, Anna said: 
"French name. American school. British accent. Anna confused."
That was just amusing. It really did feel like a parody, so much that I almost heard the Harvard Lampoon in the background snickering with the 5 o'clock shadows and Monster Energy drinks. 

The only thing I disliked about this book was the ending. (Don't worry, you can keep reading. No spoilers. But it's not like you don't know who's gonna be a couple at the end.) Anna and the French Kiss lost a lot of energy toward the end, and it used the dreaded "suddenly".

If you know me, you know I hate when authors use the word suddenly.

It's like some authors don't know how to get their characters from one place to another, so they're so lazy, they just say, "And suddenly I felt like going across the country." And they run into their love there. Or something like "and suddenly I felt like I needed to be at Walmart. Something was drawing me there!"

No, there's not.

So that explains the headdesk I gave at the end of the book. I was severely disappointed.

All in all though, Anna and the French Kiss was a cute and fun read that held my attention. Fans of Meg Cabot will surely enjoy this electric debut from Stephanie Perkins.

Content: Quite a bit of swearing, but nothing that will remove you from the reading experience. Also, mentions and implications of sex. A bit of teen drinking as well.


  1. I have to confess first of all that I'm a Stephanie Perkins fangirl and love both her books (probably way more than I should). But even wtih that in mind, I did write a ranty little post in the form of a "Dear Anna" letter after rereading it, because there was one thing that really jumped out at me and kinda bugged me.

    Which is all to say that I realy appreciate that you took the time to review a VERY popular book, and do more than gush about it. But I do like the fact that you pointed out how it almost felt satirical at times. I never fully picked up on that, even though I did make note of the few examples you mentioned.

    Lovely to read your review though :)

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

    1. Now I have to go read that letter...

      Thanks for visiting! :)