Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: December 7, 2010 (hardcover)
Overall: 5 Stars
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
Anna and the French Kiss is everything you could ever want in a romantic, contemporary YA novel… and yes, it most definitely lives up to all the hype. It will meet your expectations and surpass them in a way you didn’t think was even possible! It’s more than just a romance novel- it’s a story of friendship, of first love, and braving the unknown all in the heart of the beautiful city of Paris.
Anna’s not exactly thrilled when her famous author father ships her off to Paris to attend an elite boarding school, especially when it means leaving behind back home in Atlanta her very best friend and a crush that was about to be something more. All alone in an unfamiliar city with no knowledge of the language and no friends, Anna feels it’s going to be a horrible senior year. But meeting a new group of friends is not as difficult as it seems and that includes the beautiful- and also taken- Étienne St. Clair. Even when she knows it’s wrong to like him that way, she can’t help it and falls for him... but can they ever be together when obstacles keep getting in their way?
Anna is a great female lead with a strong head on her shoulders. She may be attending boarding school because of her father’s money, but she’s very down-to-earth. While she’s initially afraid to really experience and make the most of the opportunity she has to learn about such an historic city and culture, she really does come into her own during the novel. Watching how she grows as a person was almost as fun as seeing how she steadily becomes closer to Étienne. She’s also sensible and doesn’t completely pine away for him after she learns he has a girlfriend; his friendship is worth more to her than anything and she completely earned my respect in that regard.
Étienne St. Clair. He might just take your breath away and make you swoon… and that’s all I’ll say.
The romance that unfolds between Anna and Étienne is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of reading. They’re both realistic characters and therefore have flaws and make mistakes, but that only endeared them to me even more. As soon as the two meet, you can already sense it in the air that they have a connection and as the novel progresses, there’s always this sort of underlying attraction- and tension- you can almost feel whenever the pair are together. Even as Anna and Étienne become closer and closer as friends, learning about each other’s families and relying one another for support in difficult times, you’re left waiting… waiting for the moment that they both finally realize how right they are together.
Anna and the French Kiss is the perfect novel to read if you’re looking for a well-written romance story set in one of the most romantic cities of the world. You’ll fall in love with this novel, rooting for Anna and Étienne from the very beginning. You’re missing out on something wondrously good if you still haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss yet and I’m most definitely looking forward to the companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door… though I have a difficult time thinking how Stephanie Perkins can top this one!