Monday, 13 October 2014

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Anna has everything figured out - she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere... Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Étienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?
From Goodreads

I've been eager to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins for such a long time. A romance. A romance set in Paris. A romance set in Paris that's raved about. It sounded really sweet, despite thinking the title is a bit cheesy, and as I've been in a romance mood lately, I decided it was time to buy it. And it was so good!

Anna is moving to Paris to attend her senior year at School of America in Paris, on her father's insistence. He believes he's doing what's right for her. She thinks he's doing what would impress people, which is why he writes cheesy, tragic romances that get made into films. She is being sent away from her home, her friends, and the guy she's crushed on for ages who seems to be interested... to Paris, where she doesn't know anybody or speak the language. But then she meets Étienne St. Clair, an American boy with an English accent and a French name. Beautiful, charming Étienne, who, with his other friends, welcome her into their group. Anna is finding it really hard to fight her attraction to Étienne, but he has a girlfriend. Plus their friend Meredith also really likes him. Plus she's kind of, maybe, possibly going out with Toph back home. Suddenly the language barrier is the least of her problems.

Anna and the French Kiss is so sweet! A really beautiful story set in a beautiful place featuring a beautiful boy! I found the characters a little furstrating, but in a good way; Anna has a penchant for over thinking, to the point where she thinks in so many different directions she ties herself into knots. What could it MEAN?! She's a little blind, because it's obvious Étienne is into her. Yet Étienne is pretty crap at saying things though. He goes for cryptic gestures that Anna is supposed to understand straight away (that I didn't even know meant anything until he pretty much says so), and is walking this line of not wanting to hurt anyone, not wanting to leave his girlfriend, but not being able to stay away from Anna. I know that makes him sound really crappy, but although he makes some crap choices, he's actually a really decent guy who's dealing with a lot, and just doesn't know what the best thing to do is. No wonder the two are so confused. It's a little frustrating, but creates awesome tension, and it's gripping. And well, how can anyone not swoon over Étienne St. Clair?

Like Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Anna and the French Kiss made me desperate to go to Paris! But we see different parts of Paris in Anna and the French Kiss than we do in Just One Day. And in such incredible detail. I want to go to Notre Dame. I want to stand on the star at Point Zero and make my wish. I want to see the chimera! I want to go to the cute one-screen cinemas, and walk past the patisseries. Oh my god, I've got to go to that place! It sounds so beautiful! The detail is fantastic, and it's obvious Perkins went there herself - or just did an awesome amount of research. It sounds incredible; is there really any better place to set a romance?

When it comes to Étienne, there are a few English stereotypes which I, as an Englishwoman, found really annoying - hardly anyone says "pants", for example. I was really worried I would spend the whole book being wound up by how wrong English people are represented, but there weren't too many, fortunately, and most happened early on, so a good portion of the book was eye-roll free. Some of the Briticisms did sound odd though, and I'm not sure if that's because most other people in the book are American, and mostly American terminology is used, so it stands out, or if they weren't used quite right. I say "mate," "bloody," and "sod," but they jarred me slightly whenever they came out of Étienne's mouth.

Although the story was really sweet and beautiful, and I was gripped the whole way through, I'm feeling like it's a little... forgettable? It sounds awful to say. But I finished the book yesterday, and I can't think of much else to say about it. It was a really good story, but I wasn't wowed by it. Saying that, I did enjoy it enough that I've already picked up Lola and the Boy Next Door, and I'm really enjoying it. That's got to say something, right? I feel like I want to read whatever Perkins writes, but I might not necessarily rush out to buy it.

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Published: 1st January 2014
Publisher: Usborne
Stephanie Perkin's Website

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