Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Oh, YA Contemporary romance, you’re so predictable and eye-rolling, yet warm and full of squees at the same time. And Anna and the French Kiss is no exception.
When I first started reading it, it was like I was meant to read this book, because Anna is in love with film and wants to be a critic (okay, I wanted to make them, but still), and her best friend Bridge is a female drummer who doesn’t get the acknowledgement she deserves because of her gender… which totally happened to me senior year as well.
Except that’s kind of where the similarities ended.
Anna is a high school senior whose Nicholas Sparks-esque father decides that in order to look better amongst his peers, he needs to send his daughter to a boarding school in Paris. Okay, so that premise is a bit like my Hanson fan fiction I wrote when I was 10; convenient and a bit unrealistic.
But okay, I’ll bite.
Anna has to leave behind her best friend Bridge and her crush, Toph, and her ex-boyfriend Matt who is still friends and is upset about it because it’s her senior year and ugh, Paris.
Um. Hello. It’s PARIS.
But okay, she’s a teenager and has to be against anything her parents say. Right. This is YA. Once she gets there, she immediately makes friends with her next door neighbor, Meredith, who introduces her to her group of friends, and they all accept Anna with no problem.
I wish making friends were that easy.
And then there’s the love story. It’s easy to see coming. Etienne St. Clair is gorgeous, an American-British-French hybrid that sounds incredibly sexy (which makes me feel weird, because he’s 18 and I’m almost 28…), but St. Clair (as the cool kids call him) has a girlfriend, who graduated last year and is still in Paris but their relationship is on the outs.
Meanwhile Anna and St. Clair are getting closer, because they obviously have feelings for one another, etc.
I generally liked the characters; even if Anna’s “she don’t know she’s beautiful” vibe and the “love at first sight” thing is a bit cliche and unrealistic for me. She’s Bella Swan, except instead of traditionally clumsy, she’s scared of speaking French and bumbles around trying to avoid it rather than just trying to learn it. I mean, YOU’RE IN FRANCE. Learn French and stop complaining.
And as much as I liked St. Claire (because, I’ll admit it, he charmed the pants off of me, and I mean the British translation of pants, lol), I wasn’t a fan of how he treated Anna and Ellie. Grow a pair, dude. That’s not cool, and it’s not what I want to build a relationship off of.
Of course there’s drama, because what would YA be without drama? Teenagers THRIVE on drama. There’s some friend backstabbing, some will-they-won’t-they moments, some JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY moments, some definite eye rolls, but overall, it’s cute and sweet and makes me want to go to Paris and kiss my fiancé.