When one is studying English in college like I am, one is often presented with obnoxious questions like, “Why do you read?” These questions are usually repeated over and over again by professors with varied voice inflection while all of the students in class wait for the most pretentious kid to reveal himself and say something ridiculous. WHY do you read? Why do YOU read? It’s one of those questions that has no wrong answer, but a ton of stupid answers. I don’t like to sit around and question why I read. Mostly because it would take away from my reading time, but I will say that while reading Anna and the French Kiss, I found myself wondering WHY I was reading Anna and the French Kiss.
The answer is simple. I picked up this book because best-selling author John Green told me to. In his 2010 Vlogbrothers video entitled “8 Things I Love” John Green said of Stephanie Perkins’ freshman novel, “Holy Shnood, this is a good book!” That was enough for me to look past this book’s aggressively girly title and cover and really give it a shot, and I am so glad I did.
The book follows 17-year-old, movie buff Anna Oliphant through her first year of boarding school in Paris. And even though her new school, SOAP (School of America in Paris), sounds like a place I would have begged my parents to send me, Anna is less than thrilled. This is because she had planned to spend her senior year with her best friend back in her hometown of Atlanta, where a budding relationship with a boy from work was finally taking shape. However, it’s not long until she meets the beautiful Etienne St. Clair and falls completely in love. The problem is, Etienne has a girlfriend, and Anna might sort of have a boyfriend back home. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.[clickToTweet tweet=”[email protected] has a way of painting incredible mental pictures in Anna and the French Kiss.” quote=”Stephanie Perkins has a way of painting incredible mental pictures in Anna and the French Kiss.”]
I’m not even going to pretend. I loved this book. Stephanie Perkins has a way of painting the most incredible mental pictures and creating characters that are so wonderfully flawed, you can’t help but fall in love with them. Even Etienne, who is possibly the dreamiest love interest I have yet to encounter, is described as being shorter than Anna, who is said to be gap-toothed. And along with all of the other incredible characters of the story, the city of Paris plays just as large of a role. From exploring the streets at night, to watching a baker ladle Nutella into a fresh crepe, readers get to experience it all through the fresh eyes of Anna.
And I know a lot of people who have read this book and thought that Anna’s love for Etienne was a bit over-the-top. By that I mean, she probably mentions how great his hair is twenty times throughout the story, and there are a few scenes where she is just sitting around saying “I love him, I love him, I love him” over and over in her head. And to those who don’t think that is normal behavior, I ask you, have you ever been a 17-year-old girl? Obviously not.
In fact, an interesting aspect of Anna’s character is that she actually has interests outside of ogling over the boy upstairs. She spends a majority of the book venturing out on her own to discover new movie theaters and working on her movie review blog, which really does set her apart from most heroines in teen romance novels. It’s refreshing to see that she realizes that there other important things out there other than boys, no matter how important boys may be to her.[clickToTweet tweet=”Anna and the French Kiss by @NaturallySteph is a great teen romance novel set in Paris, France.” quote=”Anna and the French Kiss is a great teen romance novel set in Paris, France.”]
Overall, this is a great teen romance novel. The characters are believable and entertaining, the story is well-paced, and the writing is top-notch. However, at the end of the day, it IS a teen romance novel. So if the intimate conversations of two 17-year-olds during late night cuddle sessions doesn’t make you giddy, you might not want to add this one to your Goodreads list.
Background image courtesy Jimmy Baikovicius (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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