The Gist: Girl moves to Paris for her last year of high school. Girl meets dreamiest American/livesinFrance/speakswithanEnglishaccent boy ever. They spend the rest of the book, and their senior years of high school in an American school in Paris, falling hard in love. The problems with that? Several. Including, but not limited to, an ass-of-a-dad, a friend with a crush, and a girlfriend.
Why I Love It: A story about a girl who leaves home to study abroad falls in love with a boy with a British accent? This is a story I can clearly relate to. Toss in the friend with a crush and the coincidence of Anna and Etienne's dorm rooms sharing a floor/ceiling and the story becomes eerily similar to Ashley's and my own.
Besides the nostalgia that Anna and the French Kiss conjures for me, I love this story is because Stephanie Perkins does an excellent job of writing about love. I love reading romance, especially the "no one has ever had a love story more magical and true than ours" type, but I am very fussy about what I consider to be true love. If I don't believe in their love, I get annoyed and loose interest fast. I never doubted Anna and Etienne's love; I was rooting for them from the first page to the last.
And yet there is something still beyond the similarities to my own life and Perkins's gift for writing about love that make me love this book. Perkins also has an uncanny ability to make me feel I am in the story with her characters, I had the same experience when reading Anna's companion novel Lola and the Boy Next Door. I love being in Paris with Anna. I love standing with her and Etienne at Point Zero, I love following her down the blue guiding lights at her favorite cinemas, I love hearing Meredith blast The Beatles from her colorful room, I love petting Isis-the-rabbit in Rashmi's room, I love talking to Etienne on the phone on New Years Eve, and I love playing Star Wars with Shawnie.
Anna's is a world I love to live in, and that kind of feeling does not happen without some damn good writing.
What Could Be Better: It bothers me that Anna starts her year abroad so reluctantly, but that's not so much a writing issue as it is an annoying character trait that some people do have. I just don't get it: you're going to live in Paris for a year, your dad is paying, and you're complaining? I don't get why anyone wouldn't be up for that. Thankfully, Anna changes her attitude quite quickly.
Judged By The Cover: I don't love this cover. I don't like the pastel colors, and I don't like how clean cut everything looks on the cover. This book is by no means "naughty" but it isn't as "square" as the cover implies either. The characters in this novel are cool in their own quirky ways.
I also don't like how the young woman on the front looks nothing like Anna as she is described in the novel. No bleach stripe, no gap between her two front teeth= not Anna. I also find it a little bizarre that we only see the arm of the guy that is, presumably, supposed to be Etienne. It's just... odd. Also, based on the length of his arm, this model is probably way too tall to be Etienne.
Fandom Goodies: Stephanie Perkins put together an awesome playlist for Anna and the French Kiss.
If You Like Anna and the French Kiss: Try Stephanie Perkins's companion novel: Lola and the Boy Next Door.