Anna and the French Kiss

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Synopsis

Anna is 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. Which is why she is 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?

Let me start this review by saying that I am aware a lot of people love this novel. It is very popular amongst the YA crowd and I realise I am in the minority with this opinion. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get through more than 1/3, as such this review will be a short one.

Anna and the French Kiss is one of a series of romance books by author Stephanie Perkins. The others are Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After. These books are cleverly marketed with gorgeous covers set out with a similar design, each with a unique colour scheme (see below), encouraging the reader to collect three beautiful new friends – Anna, Lola and Isla.

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Like I mentioned above I had to stop reading this book about a third of the way through because I wasn’t engaging with the story. I’m not entirely sure why, but I have some ideas:

My issues with this book:

  • Anna’s inner voice. Anna’s story is  written in the first person with a distinct inner monologue. Perkins attempts to capture angsty teen girl and is arguably a little over the top with how she does it. Anna just comes off as very whiny in the first few chapters, complaining about her rich father sending her to a Parisian boarding school. Maybe if I had more time and patience I would be willing to see if she evolved into a less annoying person as the story progressed – in all fairness she probably does – but I’m time poor these days and there are so many excellent books out there I could be reading.
  • The setting. Another reason I just didn’t click with this book could be the setting. I’ve been to Paris and it’s lovely, but it’s not my favourite city in the world. The museums are amazing and the architecture is beautiful, but Paris has it problems just like any other city. I get the feeling Perkins wanted to enchant the reader with the ‘idea’ of Paris – but it didn’t work for me.
  • The writing.

He shakes a hand through his hair, and a drop lands on my bare arm. Words fail me.

Need I say more?

  • Etienne St Clair and his girlfriend. The love interest has a girlfriend and he is flirting with Anna and her taking her out to see Paris?! Maybe this isn’t a big deal because relationships are less serious when you are a teenager? Whatever, to me this guy is still a creep.

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Way to subtly justify trying to steal another girl’s boyfriend Anna…

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? If so, what did you think of it?