Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Original Publishing Date: December 2, 2010
Approximate Length: 372 pages
Obtained Via: Amazon Kindle daily deal
Format Read In: Kindle ebook
Summary via 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. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
There were several roadblocks that I had to get over to even read this book. One, while I’ve been expanding my reading horizons and reading a lot more contemporary books the past few months(and really enjoying them), I’m still a bit iffy on contemporary romance. Two, this book’s title and cover were just a little too cheesy for me to take. However, there have been so many positive reviews for Anna and the French Kiss, and when you add the fact it’s set in Paris, it seemed like a book I might check out after all. In the end, I discovered my biggest hurdle to loving this book: Anna herself.
To put it simply, I don’t connect with Anna in the slightest. I don’t remember the last time I read such a whiny heroine. She complains about being sent to Paris to go to school! At first, I overlooked this, because while I would gladly jump at the chance to study in Paris, I could understand how initially being sent away would be frustrating. Anna’s starting her senior year, and going to a new school, no matter where it’s located, would be a really tough transition that late into high school. I get that. But it never really gets better. Even halfway through the school year, she’s complaining about being “stuck” in Paris. She complains at length about her parents, when other students around her have family situations that are much worse. Anna’s parents have some faults, yes, but I never doubted they cared about her. I can’t say the same for the few other parents we saw glimpses of throughout the novel. She complains about her schoolwork(and honestly, to me, her school sounds awesome! I would love to learn there). She complains about boys. You get the picture.
Other than Anna, I really liked this book. With another main character, this could have potentially been a 5 star read for me. Even though I don’t think St.Clair is the best YA male lead ever, like I thought I would before reading, I do like him. He has his own share of faults(believe me), but his character also made a lot of sense. Even though the story is told from Anna’s point of view, I feel like I had a much better grasp on St. Clair’s motives than I ever did on Anna’s.
Even though the ending is really cheesy, it’s definitely cute and fitting. I really liked how the romance between St.Clair and Anna developed. No case of instalove here! They definitely start as friends before they even become something more. Even though most of the conflicts that popped up throughout the novel could have been solved(thus cutting the novel in half), if the two had actually just talked things out, I understand why the plot developed as it did. There’s just so many factors going into the situation that I think neither Anna nor St. Clair wanted to say something and potentially ruin their friendship.
Final Impression: While I really loved the setting of this book(Paris!), and enjoyed the basic story line, I had a lot of trouble getting over Anna’s character. I found her to be annoying and it hampered my liking of this book quite a bit. I think with a different main character this book could have been a 5 star read for me, but as it is, I’m giving it a (weak) 3/5 stars.