TITLE: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
AUTHOR: STEPHANIE PERKINS
RELEASE DATE: December 2, 2010
FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/400 pages
PUBLISHER: Speak - Penguin USA
PURCHASED: Amazon.ca Kindle
Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.
But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's waiting for? (From GOODREADS)
Could I be any later to the party?!
From the moment I first heard about this book, way back in 2010, I had fully planned on reading it. And I knew, intrinsically, that I would love it. What's not to love? My favourite city. My favourite market (YA). My favourite genre (Contemporary with a romantic element). My favourite YA setting--boarding school...how many boarding school stories do I love?! Uncountable. A Separate Peace, Winger, Looking for Alaska, etc., etc., etc...) It was meant to be.
The set up for Anna and the French Kiss is almost, but not quite, cliche. Poor little rich girl gets sent to yucky old Paris for boarding school. But as a reader, I understood her angst right away. Being yanked out of a safe life of best friends, after school job, a city you know and a life you're fully connected with...that can't be easy, no matter the beauty of place you're arriving in. And the fact that Anna had a total skeezball for a father didn't help.
In the world of young adult, there seems to be a total pandemonium (fandemonium) surrounding the lead male character. Étienne St. Clair is no exception. From the first encounter with him, we know Anna is hooked. Even if she doesn't even know it herself. Even if it seems hopeless because he is already in a relationship with another girl.
What is truly great about this novel is the way Perkins incorporated hard-hitting punches alongside her sickly sweet young adult romance. A great example of this is St. Clair's mother, and how her cancer diagnosis throws the near perfect St. Clair into a tailspin. Perkins has an excellent way of building on character flaws, and making their imperfections carry the reader through the book with a great sense of hope. Hope that the obstacles are overcome. Hope that the careening self-sabotaging character prevails. Hope that the characters can rise above.
This is a love story. It is also a story about place. Paris is the third character. I don't remember a time when setting was more exceptionally executed. Having just returned from Paris prior to reading Anna, I have to say that this book was perfect in its execution of place. Absolutely perfect.
What I didn't love about this book. I have to really wrack my brain to come up with something. The only thing I can think of is ELLIE. She is not a fully developed character. But you know...I don't think she needs to be. She has moved on from the boarding school, and her old friends who still attend. Her relationship with Étienne St. Clair, I suppose, is one of habit. Although I point this out as a possible story flaw, I also defend Perkins's reasons for not fully developing Ellie.
What I loved about this book is everything. It has excellent dialogue that is TRUE. It has just the right amount of build up of expectation, where romance is concerned. It has a great and satisfying ending. It is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my pick for favourite read of 2014. My only regret is that I didn't read it sooner.
Size: 5 1/2 (1/2 for the gift it gave me by returning me to Paris so soon after I left the city I love the most in all the world, outside my own. And 1/2 also for being my favourite read of 2014.)