By Stephanie Perkins
To Sum It Up: After deciding that living abroad would be a good experience for her, Anna Oliphant’s father ships her off to a French boarding school for her senior year. Although at first she misses her family and friends back in Atlanta, Anna soon settles into her new life in Paris. Her adjustment goes more smoothly than she had expected, thanks in no small part to one of her new classmates, the gorgeous and charming Étienne St. Clair. Soon Anna finds herself spending more and more time with St. Clair, as everyone calls him. There’s one minor problem, though: he already has a girlfriend.
Review: I hadn’t read a contemporary, non-paranormal, non-fantasy YA novel in ages (which probably means not since I actually was a young adult). Anna and the French Kiss was a nice departure from my normal dose of angst-ridden adolescents coming to terms with their newfound supernatural powers. It was a fun, breezy read that I would have devoured in a day if I’d had the time. The romance was sweet but not saccharine; plenty of sarcasm, both American and British, keeps the story from becoming sappy.
Anna is a very likable, relatable protagonist. She’s smart, funny, and endearingly self-conscious. Whenever she couldn’t stop herself from saying something awkward, which happened quite often, I completely sympathized with her. She wasn’t a whiner, either; I’m not a fan of main characters who spend pages and pages complaining about how horrible their lives are yet do nothing to change their situations. Of course, Anna isn’t completely without faults; there wouldn’t have been much tension to the plot otherwise.
Ah, St. Clair. He had me from the moment that he uttered his first line of dialogue. I admit it: I totally have a thing for guys with English accents. Even if St. Clair had turned out to be a complete creep, I still could not have hated him. Because of the accent. Fortunately, St. Clair is not a creep. He possesses all of the qualities (intelligence, charisma, a wicked sense of humor, an English accent!) that would make any girl swoon but with enough flaws to make him human.
The suspense surrounding Anna and St. Clair’s will-they-or-won’t-they-get-together relationship drives this novel. What would probably be a cliché in any other book works winningly here. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anna and the French Kiss and highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a good, old-fashioned, straightforward romance without any vampires, werewolves, faeries, witches, or other paranormal types in sight.
All in All: I borrowed this from the library because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not. Now I’m definitely considering buying a copy of my own.