Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult, Chick-lit

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?
Review by Nara

At first glance, honestly, Anna and the French Kiss looks like a really trashy romance novel. Look at it. Cheesy title, cheesy cover, cheesy blurb. I feel that if I had seen this in a library or bookstore, I would not have picked it up. But luckily, I first saw it on Goodreads, where it had a high rating that intrigued me, so I thought I'd give it a try. (Also, the name Etienne St. Clair may have influenced my judgement).

Anna and the French Kiss is set in, yep you guessed it, Paris, France! (Now wherever did you get that idea...). Paris, the city of romance! So of course, as the reader, I expected my fair share of romance. And I got it. Oh yeah, I got it in three words: Etienne St. Clair. ETIENNE. ST. CLAIR. Best name ever. Fluent in French, British accent...need I go on? Basically, the only flaw he has is that he's short (and not sure that I'd call that a flaw, anyway).

Perkins really does the romance well. It was quite realistic, and I enjoyed the fact that there was no "instalove". Anna and St Clair's relationship wasn't due to a werewolf imprint, or vampire senses, it was built up the old-fashioned way. And since you see the challenges that they both have to overcome, you feel extra satisfied when they end up together (didn't bother with a spoiler tag as it's pretty obvious they end up together). It was also good to see that all of the characters were likable, with none of them being particularly annoying or frustrating (unless they were intended to be so).

The novel was filled with cliches, but for some reason, I didn't resent Perkins for it. Perhaps this is because I expected them to arise ever since I saw the title "Anna and the French Kiss". I mean, really, that screams cliches. Here are two examples: "Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?" and making wishes at Paris' Point Zero: I wish for the thing that is best for me. And it was predictable. You know from the start what is going to happen at the end and most of the plot is fairly predictable from then on. Yet the book is still epic. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good read.

And some hilarious quotations to motivate you:
I'm a little distracted by this English French American Boy Masterpiece.

A moment of reserve. "That was it? The whole story?"
"Yes. God, you're right. That was pants."
I sidestep another aggressive couscous vendor. "Pants?"
"Rubbish. Crap. Shite."
Pants. Oh heavens, that's cute.

"Most people in Atlanta don't have an accent. It's pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though," I add jokingly.
"Fo' shiz," he replies in his polite English accent.

Similar Books:
1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
2. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
3. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Panacea Candidate

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 2/5