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February 28, 2011 / Chersti Nieveen

book review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Perkins, Stephanie. Anna and the French Kiss. New York: Dutton Juvenile, 2011.

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I miss home so much that it physically hurts. My head throbs, my stomach is nauseous, and it’s all so unfair. I never asked to be sent here. I had my own friends and my own inside jokes and my own stolen kisses. I wish my parents had offered me the choice: “Would you like to spend your senior year in Atlanta or Paris?”

Who know? Maybe I would have picked Paris.

What my parents never considered is that I just wanted a choice.

Anna is not happy when her parents ship her off to spend her senior year at a Paris boarding school, away from everything she knows. Adapting isn’t easy, but Anna joins a group of tight friends at her new school, and as an aspiring film critic, she delights in the French cinemas. But complications arise when Anna falls for her cute best friend, Etienne St. Clair, even though she wants to hold out for her crush in Atalanta. When Anna returns home for the holidays, she discovers many things have changed since she left for Paris, including her own feelings as she starts to regard Paris as home.  As Anna returns back to France, she learns lessons in love and forgiveness, as she slowly grows from the experiences.

The Review

I had heard so many good things about this book that I couldn’t wait to read it to see what the buzz was all about. And now I’ll have to add the good buzz. Anna is fun and likeable, and the cast of characters is diverse and complex. While I didn’t fall for St. Clair like others, the best thing about this book is how real their relationship is. Things aren’t easy for these two, which was great because I feel like so many YA books out there don’t portray romance realistically and the readers are left searching for something that can never happen. This book goes deeper than just the romance, though, and covers many issues that teens face, including that step into the adulthood. I love how Anna slowly realizes that she has to take a stand for herself and what she wants in life as she grows as a character.

And I can’t talk about Anna and the French Kiss without talking about the setting. I love traveling, and this book was heaven for me. The immaculate details helped me feel like I was visiting Paris along with Anna, and now I am craving French food . . . alas!

Reader Age: 15+ While the main character remains a virgin throughout the book, there are other promiscuous characters in the book and the characters as a whole aren’t shy about having conversations about such issues. Anna and St. Clair also spend a few nights together in the same bed, though nothing happens. Light PG-13.

Check out my book review of MATCHED by Ally Condie.

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4 Comments

  1. shalleemcarthur / Feb 28 2011 10:46 am

    I agree with all of the above! I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It was perfectly crafted! Great review.

  2. Rebecca T / Mar 1 2011 9:52 am

    I loved her development of the characters! I don’t usually read this type of YA, but I fell in love with it because of the way she delved into the issues more fully. I felt like they were so real!

    I just followed you over here after you followed me on Twitter! Looks like we have a lot in common 🙂 Nice to meet you!

    • Chersti Nieveen / Mar 2 2011 8:31 am

      Rebecca, I am so glad we are twitter friends now, because we do have so much in common!

      And I have to agree that I normally don’t read this type of book, but this book went deeper than your typical YA romance and it had such feeling to it. The characters were very real, and the story was just as much a struggle of Anna growing into an adult and taking the world on her own terms as it was a story of getting with the right boy in the end.

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