Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Senior year is not at all what Anna Oliphant pictured it would be. Instead of finishing up high school at her Atlanta school with her best friend Bridgette and possible love interest Toph, she's being shipped off to a Paris boarding school so her absentee writer father can brag about his 'cultured' daughter. In a city where she knows no one and cannot speak the language, Anna is decidedly overwhelmed. That is until another senior named Meredith reaches out to Anna and welcomes her into her tight-knit circle of friends which includes one Etienne St. Clair. Drop dead gorgeous with a killer English accent and an even better head of hair, St. Clair is the boy of Anna's dreams. But of course boys like that are never available and is St. Clair is no exception. Even if Anna could easily imagine what it would be like in the most romantic city in the world if he were. 

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:
Angieville review
Book Crazy review 
GalleySmith review
GreenBeanTeenQueen review
Persnickety Snark review
Squeaky Books review

book source: ARC giveaway from Not Enough Bookshelves  (Thank you! Thank you!)


Chachic said...

Everyone's talking about this book lately! I've tried to track it down but it's not available over here and Amazon says I can't order it on my Kindle because it's not available in Asia. I already have a reservation in the local bookstore but if it doesn't get here soon, I might order from the Book Depository.

Lovely review, by the way. Good to hear that you loved this. :) I'm always on the lookout for great contemporary YA books.

Angiegirl said...

Favorite part? Thanksgiving break. No contest. *suh-woon*

Michelle said...

Chachic - Boo on Amazon!! Have you tried the new eGoogle editions maybe? But yes, it's wonderful, find it soon!

Angie - Oh Yes!! So very, very swoon-worthy.