Anna and the French Kiss has been steadily building up a solid reputation around the blogosphere and so I was decidedly curious to see if this debut could live up to so many glowing reviews. I should have known that a book that comes with a solid endorsement from funny-woman Maureen Johnson would be spectacular - cause it was. Stephanie Perkins has crafted an incredibly light and witty story about a girl learning how to be on her own for the very first time while also telling a very deep and meaningful story about that same girl also figuring out what it means to be alone. Brilliant.
There are so many good things to love about Anna and the French Kiss. Paris for starters. Anna and all her friends are another. Each one is a layered and unique character with insecurities and fears galore. Yet they are also teens who have insane amounts of fun together. Although what truly made Anna and the French Kiss a stand-out read for me is the relationship that develops between Anna and St. Clair. Anna obviously falls in deep lust with St. Clair from day one, but I was truly bowled over by how deeply developed their friendship became OVER TIME. It's not just a love story of instant attraction - these two have worked really, really hard to get to know each other beforehand. Nothing fluffy here.
I could not be a greater sucker for a series of well written letters (or emails) between two protagonists and Anna and the French Kiss features a doozy of one. It's been some time that I've come across correspondence in a YA novel that are this witty, yet startlingly raw and honest. I kept going back and rereading that section because they were truly something special. And because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone I'll just say that in these fabulous, extraordinary emails Anna and St. Clair's friendship finally solidifies into something outstanding sand real.
Out of all the subtle (or blatant) humor in this novel I was dying over Anna's description of her father - cliche writer extraordinaire who always sports extra tan skin, extra white teeth, and cable knit sweaters - and whose characters have a penchant for dying of cancer. Is it just me or did anyone else feel like Stephanie Perkins was continually poking fun at a certain I-am-not-a-romance-writer who shall remain nameless *coughNicholasSparkscough*? Loved that to bits.
So really? Don't wait another minute. Go out and track this book down pronto. I promise you won't regret it.
Because Everyone Loves a Second Opinion:
Book Crazy review
Persnickety Snark review
Squeaky Books review
book source: ARC giveaway from Not Enough Bookshelves (Thank you! Thank you!)