Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Big Themes: France, First Love, Film Studies, Betrayal, Family, Cancer

Anna Oliphant is sent to an international school in Paris by her father against her will.  She misses her friends and is intimidated by everything French.  But a boy named Etienne St. Clair makes France begin to feel like home as Anna falls in love for the first time.

What I Liked:
Everyone in the blogosphere loves this book.  I’d heard enough gushing about Anna and Etienne St. Clair that I had to give it a try, despite the fact that contemporary fiction isn’t what I gravitate towards.  (I’m more of a fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction gal because I want to escape from the real world when I read.)

So I must say that this book was quite charming, and both Anna and Etienne were very likable characters.  Anna is very much a teenage girl who is just figuring out the world of boys, and her narrative definitely takes you back to your own teen years.  Her “firsts” and her confusion and the strength of her emotions are powerful.  You will feel like you are 17 again.  Etienne is equally real with his flaws as well as his endearing qualities.  The way he supports Anna and their blooming friendship will set you up to love him.

The little elements of France (famous sites, food, language) make this book unique and refreshing compared to a traditional United States contemporary high school setting.  And Anna’s passion for film and all the little film references were another fun little touch.

What I Didn’t Like:
There were parts that were predictable (Toph) and I would grow frustrated with Anna sometimes when she didn’t see things that seemed so blindingly clear.  But Anna was just 17, and an authentic teenage perspective should include mistakes.  So I should cut her some slack.

And Etienne St. Clair was a great male lead, but he didn’t quite do it for me in terms of a literary dream dude.  I kind of kept wishing he had a hobby or passion in life.  I would have loved if they developed the history/fact thing in him more because that made him really interesting.  The author defined him more through his relationships with his parents instead of his interests.  I’m getting picky here, but it’s because this book won’t be getting a perfect 5 stars and I feel the need to justify that.

My Rating:
4 stars for a well-developed and authentic contemporary teen romance

11 comments on “Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

  1. fakesteph says:

    Lola and the Boy Next Door is even better. I like Etienne, but I lovelovelovelovelove Cricket. I found myself jealous of Lola when reading because Cricket's the kind of guy I want to fall in love with me. hehe. Looove Stephanie Perkins. 🙂

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it nonetheless! I'm with you: Contemporary isn't my big thing, but I do like ANNA a lot. If my copy gets returned this week, I'll get it signed on Sunday. :)I think the fact that I'm more fantasy than contemporary is what has kept me away from my WIP for so long…I've been trying to write again this month.How have you been making out? We haven't talked about writing in so long! *misses you*

  3. I'm basically in love with Étienne St Clair, so I'm surprised you don't think he's as developed as you'd like. To each their own, I suppose, and if it means one less person to fight against for him… XD

  4. LHughes says:

    I think I officially love the names that Stephanie Perkins comes up with for her male leads. Etienne. Cricket. LOVE THOSE NAMES.Looks like I will be downloading Lola on my Kindle this weekend 🙂

  5. LHughes says:

    I miss you too, Bonnie! I will talk writing with you anytime! I was doing pretty good writing-wise in January and February, but then travels and life got in the way.I'm hoping to get a lot of writing done this summer because I'm going to take two creative writing classes. (One on dystopian YA!!! Woot!)I'm glad you're writing again! If you ever want feedback, I'd be happy to exchange 🙂

  6. LHughes says:

    hehe I definitely think Etienne is swoonworthy, just maybe not my type.And PS- I need to spend an entire morning catching up on your blog. I miss it terribly, but I just haven't had time lately to sit down and devour your awesomeness. But my spring break is next week, so expect a flood of comments from me 🙂

  7. I'm so glad you liked this one! I am a Sci-Fi/Dystopian lover myself, and this one was something I did NOT expect to enjoy. But I loved it! And I'm with Steph – Lola and the Boy Next Door is even better, and Cricket is totally swoon-worthy! He's one of the very few guys in literature that I consider to be book boyfriends (Four from Divergent and Hale from Heist Society are the others). And I saw one one of your comments that you're taking a writing class on Dystopian YA this summer?!? That is so cool! You'll have to tell me all about it! I recently started really thinking about getting back into my WIP – I got really discouraged with it during NaNo (I started the book during NaNoWriMo 2010, and then was re-writing it during last year's NaNo) so I set it aside and wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it. But I hope to start working on it again soon! Good luck with your writing!

  8. Marybeth P. says:

    I completely agree with you! This book was amazing and I am in love with British men just because of St. Clair. Glad you liked it!-Marybeth P.

  9. LHughes says:

    I love Four too :)I always post about my classes in the summer (it was the original reason I started blogging). I love to post about book lists, discussions from class, roots of a genre, and any writing I'm working on. So you'll definitely be seeing more of that soon!That's so cool you've done NaNo. I haven't done it myself because November is typically a tough month for me because of holidays and parent conferences at school. But I've always thought it'd be fun!

  10. LHughes says:

    Didn't you wish you could hear St. Clair's voice as you were reading? I wanted to hear his cute accent!

  11. […] Books in the Series: Anna and the French Kiss Lola and the Boy Next Door *This series is more like companion books than […]

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