Anna was 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. So she's 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. - from Goodreads
There ARE good romance novels out there. They're not all trash and cliches. I just want to give Stephanie Perkins a big hug for writing a smart, worthwhile romance that will still make young teenage girls swoon with delight, yet also help them understand that relationships involve work along with give and take, not just a complete sacrificing of yourself for the vampire with the perfectly chiseled face and skin as cold as marble. *coughcoughTwilightcoughcough*
The story had the same vibe of a beloved When Harry Met Sally type of romance but with a little French Kiss thrown in for good measure.
I adored all of the characters in this novel and wished they were real people so I could be friends with them. The dialogue felt so free and easy and not the least bit contrived. I especially loved the development of Anna and St. Clair's relationship and how it starts with friendship and blossoms from that rather than just her drooling over his golden locks and beautiful face. That's not to say that there isn't a fair amount of swooning over looks in this book. It's just done so in a way that enhances the relationship rather than making you feel like that is the only thing their relationship is built upon.
I also really loved how perfectly accurate Perkins portrays the experience of someone moving overseas and the feelings that go along with it - starting with homesickness, self-consciousness over not being able to speak the language, then evolving to the return home and the expectations that things will be the same only to be disappointed that people didn't put their lives on hold for you and then look down on you because you've changed. I experienced all of the same things Anna experienced when I lived in Germany for two years so I fully appreciated how real that aspect of the book was.
This was a brilliant debut from a hugely likable new author. I can't wait to read more of her books! That's always the hard part of following an author from the start of their career: you have to wait a really long time to read more of their books.
My mark of an awesome book is the entire time you're reading, you're ticked off at yourself for not thinking of the idea for the story first. And that is what I was thinking as I was reading. All I could think in my head was, "Awww man! I so wish I would've thought to write this book first!"
If you need a feel good book that won't make you gag (even the romance haters), then run out and purchase Anna and the French Kiss on December 2nd!
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publish Date: December 2, 2010 by Dutton (ARC requested from publisher)
Genre: Realistic fiction/chick lit