Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Source: Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna and the French Kiss (Book #1) - all can be read as standalones
Publisher: Dutton Jevenile
Release date: December 2 2010
Tagged under: 2014 read, 2014 favourites, contemporary, YA-fiction, romance, 4.5
Buy at: Amazon, The Book Depository

Paris was not where she wanted to be...

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 Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne 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?

Book Review [Spoiler-Free]

This book, and Stephanie Perkins in general, have been recommended to me so many times that I finally bowed down to temptation and picked it up. Once I started the book, it was so hard to put it back down. I think I eventually read the book in the span of a day, finishing well into the early mornings (and knowing full well I had to get up early for work).

Yes, it is just that good.

When Anna's father told her he is packing her off to complete her senior year in Paris, she is not pleased. Everything that she knows and loves about her life - her little brother, her mother, her best friend, her potential boyfriend, her job - is back home is Atlanta whereas she is stuck in a foreign country where she doesn't even speak the language. Yet somehow, through her trials and tribulations, Anna manages to pick herself up, make some new friends and meet a seemingly perfect prince charming Etienne St. Clair who has everything - looks, charms, intelligence, and a serious girlfriend. Join Anna as she journeys through a turbulent year of highs and lows and find herself in a completely new country.

In short, this book is simply adorable. The story is incredibly easy to slip into and you feel as Anna does as she battles with the feeling of being utterly alone in a foreign city. She is a well-developed character and everything she does, including going to the bread table instead of facing the French chef, is so plausible - it feels like just the kind of thing a new expatriate would do. (I still remember the day I snuck out of primary school in my first year in Australia and walked all the way to my dad's workplace instead of facing the potential wrath of my teacher because I forgot my pencil case - I didn't realize at that time Australian teachers are not that strict)

And Etienne St. Clair. *sigh* What can I say about him? He's the perfect boy everybody wants to be stuck overseas with. He's friendly, charming and so helpful when you feel lost. I really appreciated the way Stephanie Perkins established the relationship between Etienne and Anna. There is no instant click or love at first sight. The pair spend a good portion of the book as really good friends, each with their own problems. Stephanie Perkins manages the perfect balance between chemistry and that dangerous zone of "unrealistic romance." There are countless beautiful yet understated moments in this book and I won't spoil them - you'll have to read the book to enjoy the experience yourself!

And perhaps that is one of the best features of this book - the ever changing shift of circumstances as the characters all continue to grow and the dynamics of their relationships change. Nothing is straight forward in this book and that's the way it should be - life is rarely easy and march on in a straight line. Despite the fact that yes, this is a very familiar premise, Stephanie Perkins manages to keep everything real and at the same time, interesting.

Overall: 4.5/5

This book definitely lives up to the hype. I think Maureen Johnson, who wrote the praise at the back of the book summarised it perfectly when she stated:
"Very sly. Very funny. Very romantic. You should date this book." 


  1. I am so glad you enjoyed it, I have been interested in it for a while and will make sure to check it out!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. I have heard a lot of good reviews about this book, but I was never so sure that I would enjoy it because it seemed too romantic for my taste. However, your book review has put me over the edge - I have to read this book ASAP! Thanks for the great review.

  3. This is actually the botm for one of my Good reads groups and as much as I want to read it I'm one of those people that gets scared off by hype lol but I do love your review :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  4. Great review! I've been wanting to read this book for a while and your review makes me want to read it even more.