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?
I’ve heard so much about this series. In fact not long after Lola and the Boy Next Door came out my sister read both of them, and much like everyone else, she simply devoured them. But me? I’ve shied away from contemporary books. I’ve never been a fan. Before Anna I had read a grand total of two contemporary YA books (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) but I couldn’t escape these books; everyone was going insane about these books. Then when I was at Texas Teen Book Festival I picked up some stickers and buttons for them, that seemed to be the tipping point. I finally caved and picked Anna and the French Kiss up from the library. It was Christmas time; I figured a cute romance would be fun for the time.
What I didn’t expect was what I got from Anna and the French Kiss. I fell in love with Anna, with St. Clair, with all of them. I quite literally squealed a few times. This book gave me feels normally reserved for those dearest books that I have read over and over. I didn’t want to put it down, I couldn’t focus on anything but this book.
One thing about this book was that Anna had a lot of growth to go through, so did St. Clair for that matter, but never once did Perkins push it. Their growth felt natural, it felt normal, completely realistic. The romance felt natural, there was no insta-love, there was no forcing of the two characters. It was a gentle push and pull of not just the romance, but the friendships within the book as well.
It’s no secret this is my one section I have problems with… But when it’s a book that I almost instantly wanted to reread? When it’s a book that I could barely return to the library because I wanted to keep it? Then this section becomes a nightmare for me.
After some discussing with friends however it became a little bit easier, really the biggest thing for her – and once she told me about it, to me as well – is that Anna is presented as a character that researches, that knows things. She wants to be a movie reviewer, she already has a blog for that exact reason, although not explicitly stated one would easily assume that she reads other blogs to see what is currently liked by the population, she wants to emulate those people after all. However she doesn’t know how big movies are in France, she doesn’t know about the Cannes movie festival. For that brief moment it feels out of character for the person that we’ve gotten to know as Anna.
Everything? No okay I gushed about this a lot in the beginning but the one thing that worked beyond anything else is the characters. Now I understand in a contemporary book that’s what really pushes a story forward. Instead of being able to rely on a plot that can push or pull a story forward, contemporaries rely on the characters and their lives solely. This is what usually pushes me away from contemporary books. But with this book I felt I could sit down with these characters and become friends with them. I could picture their lives outside of the story, it created a unique reading experience that I could gush over for paragraphs.
There are moments in the book when I read it and I couldn’t quite believe the choices Anna was making, and I’m sure to some who read this book that’s the exact problem they would have with it entirely. As a reader we can see the problems she’s creating for herself, we can see the avenue that she should really take just to fix things. To us, the reader, it seems so obvious. But to Anna within the book it isn’t. She’s following the only path that she feels that she can follow. That alone can start to show others where they are making the mistakes in their lives, they can start to see that maybe they’ve either made, or even are making, the wrong choices and how to possibly fix that to get their happily ever after.
Not only do I reccomend rushing out and getting Anna and the French Kiss for yourself, but I’d suggest getting the other two, you’ll want to get the whole trilogy, because this one novel just won’t be enough, trust me.
As someone who hadn’t read a lot of contemporary this opened my eyes to what I could be missing in this entire genre, I’m finding more and more books that look interesting, and I can’t wait to dive into new books that I’ve never given a real chance before!