February 8, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Length: 372 pages
On-Sale Date: December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover

Anna Oliphant, born and raised in Atlanta, is dropped in France to spend her senior year at The School of America (SOAP).  Her parents thought a year in The City of Lights would be the perfect experience for her.  They couldn’t possibly be sending her away, could they?  Whether their reasons are noble or not Anna has never felt more alone.  She has been left in a foreign city surrounded only by strangers.  It seems too good to be true when the friendly girl living beside her comes to her rescue.  When Anna meets Meredith she is also introduced to all of her friends.  One of those friends is the fetching, (and taken), Étienne St. Clair.  Nearly every girl at SOAP has a (not so secret) crush on St. Clair, and Anna is not any different.  Still, finding love is not on the top of Anna’s list of priorities, but sometimes you find what you didn’t even know you wanted.

Anna and the French Kiss is magical.  It may not have potions or spells but it has plenty of fireworks.
Since Anna is first and foremost a love story it seems only fitting to discuss the heroine and her love interest first.  I am proud to say that Stephanie Perkins has created a strong and powerful heroine, as well as equally dynamic supporting characters.  It is just the worst feeling in the world to hate the protagonist of any story you’re reading, so it was nothing short of wonderful to love Anna (the character) as much as I did.  I want to be friends with her, but will settle for keeping Anna and the French Kiss at my bedside.
At the beginning of the novel, Anna is extremely vulnerable and you just want her to fit in and make friends in this strange city.  Even when she starts to get comfortable in Paris she still has that piece of vulnerability in her character, and that makes her so relatable.  Anna has so many flaws, but you almost can’t see them because of how much you grow to care for her.  She also doesn’t see herself as everyone else does, which is why it is interesting to see how the characters react to her.  I loved the relationship Anna didn’t even know she had with her ex-boyfriend, Matt.  I was very surprised to see how that friendship worked because, as the reader, you are only able to see from Anna’s perspective.  You almost can’t compare Anna at the start to Anna at the end, because of what she went through.  All the characters struggled and benefited because of it.

Étienne St. Clair.  Étienne. É-ti-enne.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love that name.  Étienne St. Clair is an American boy with a French name, and an English accent.  I am probably the only girl in the world that does not swoon when she hears a boy speaking in that famous accent.  But I turned to mush every time I read the name Étienne.  If I find a boy with the name Étienne (or willing to change his name to Étienne) … I plan on keeping him.  Now, back to Étienne St. Clair.  St. Clair is the boy that every girl wants … or doesn’t realize she wants.  He was charismatic and charming, and the perfect love interest for Anna.  (Or he would be if he wasn’t already in a relationship of his own).  St. Clair was so sweet.  Melt.  Swoon.  Fans self.  He was the best friend to Anna.  You never would have noticed that she was taller, because he commanded such presence.  As you read, you see more of Étienne St. Clair than anyone, because he shared himself with Anna.
Anna is NOT a love triangle.  It’s closer to a love pentagon.
When reading Anna I found myself waiting for the inevitable cliche.  It never came.  Anna was simply marvelous.  It was a love story screaming to be heard.  Once you listened you could never forget it.
I was waiting, and WAITING for the french kiss.  But, oh boy, when it FINALLY came I melted right where I sat.  Seriously.  Paris and a boy named Étienne?  I never had a chance.

Yes, I spent the above paragraphs talking about the wonderful love story that is Anna and the French Kiss.  Except now I have to tell you that Anna is so much more than a love story.  It’s about a girl finding herself even when she didn’t know she was lost.  Hell, it’s about learning how to find yourself.

When reading Anna, I stumbled upon a question.  ["Besides, he's just an attractive boy.  Nothing to get worked up over." page 65]  Don't we always get worked up over the cute guy?  Can we help it?  I don't know.  I certainly haven't been able to get over it yet.

When Anna returned home for Christmas break I could see her in a different light.  I loved seeing that side of her.  At that point, she missed Paris and she didn’t realize she would.  I believe that that homecoming was a turning point for Anna.
One of the characters I loved was Josh, the artist.  His quietness spoke volumes.  Generally, the less you say the more you hear.  Therefore, he was full of surprises.  I found him to be a great friend.  I think all the characters played important parts in the multifaceted friendship.

Anna was so good that Gilmore Girls was strictly background noise.  I, eventually, turned down the volume so all I could hear was a gentle humming noise.

Anna was disarmingly romantic.  I'm still living, breathing, FEELING, Anna.
Anna bewitched me.
Stephanie Perkins deserves all the glowing praise she gets.

Anna was easy to love.  (The book and the character).
Thank the Lord for a heroine who is not stupid.

"Anna and the French Kiss" est un de mes livres préférés.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Words that describe Anna:  radiant, gleaming, luminous, sparkling, bewitching, foxy

The following may be considered spoilers, so read at your own risk.
Warning:  Language may not be suitable for all ages.
Favourite Quotes:
"They have turned him into a bestseller and a total dick."  page 5
"Sorry, Chef Pierre.  I'm a little distracted by this little English French American Boy Masterpiece."  page 26
"I'm just as big a fool as the rest of them."  page 29
"Boys turn girls into such idiots."  page 35
"Did you just have a foodgasm?" - St. Clair page 88 (Foodgasm = best word ever. Why have I never heard the word foodgasm before?)
"They blush more for his smile than anything else."  page 105

"There.  You're officially Canadian.  Try not to abuse your new power." - St. Clair page 116
"Girl Scouts didn't teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys."  page 140
"Funny, but I never imagined my first sleepover with a guy being, well, a sleepover."  page 179
“‘And you're beautiful.’ (St. Clair)  I trip and fall down on the sidewalk.”  page 189
How you know the author rocks:  "There's a lot of blood.  And Mickey Mouse ears." page 211
"Granddad is bellowing for his bonnie lass.  That would be me."  page 237
"Toph is an insensitive douchebag motherhumping assclown ... "  page 245
“Why is it that the right people never wind up together?  Why are people so afraid to leave a relationship, even if they know it’s a bad one?”  page 264

"Anna and the French Kiss" est un de mes livres préférés." translates to: Anna and the French kiss is one of my favourite books.


  1. Now I want to read it! There was a boy named Étienne in my french class, but he was not sexy or cute because

    1) We were five
    2) He threw snowballs with ice in them

  2. Gahhhhhh. Reading your review makes me want to reread it. Right. This. Second. Maybe I will this weekend. I need to finish Across the Universe first though, haha.

    Great review!
    - Chelsea

  3. Another Anna convert! I love the name Etienne now. I like how you mentioned that Anna was so vulnerable. I liked her vulnerability but also liked that she didn't just sit in her room and sulk (well not totally). I liked that she was willing to make friends so quickly. And I loved how she had a whole group of nice people who welcomed her.

  4. Thank the Lord for a heroine who is not stupid.

    Makes me want to read it for sure! Great post.

  5. FABULOUS review! I've been waiting far too long to read this one. MUST READDDD!