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Review: Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Romance
Pages: 372
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne 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?

Review: I have seen so many reviews of this book around the blogosphere that I am going to do a bare-bones one myself so that I don't just rehash what everyone else has said. I really liked this book and here's why:

  • It's got an American living abroad, which means the author can teach the reader something about Paris without it sounding like a history book or travelogue. I learned fun things about Paris that I didn't know and now, next time I visit, I'll be sure to check those things out (especially the Point Zero star at Notre Dame, which I probably walked right over last summer)
  • It's about moving away from home at just the right time: senior year. At 18 we feel so grown up, but not quite ready to totally be on our own. Boarding school in a foreign country solves that contradiction. I remember moving 3,000 miles away for college and going away for my junior year abroad in Germany and Austria. Perkins does a great job of describing dorm life, exploring a foreign city, and being away from family and friends
  • It's got romance, but not the gushy-ewy kind. I thought this was so well done! I think we've all had relationships where we are "just friends", but wish oh-so-badly that it was more. Stephanie Perkins covered all the ins and outs of friendship, betrayal, loyalty, misunderstandings, first "love", and more and she did it with class, accuracy, and true feeling.

    Geography Connection:

    (photo credit for right photo)

    Click to see my updated Google Map. A book set in France and it's only my second one this year. Can I also count Atlanta, Georgia since the character goes there for Winter Break? Probably not. I was in Paris last year and now want to go back to see some of the places that St. Clair and Anna visit


    Athira said...

    This sounds cute! I'm glad the romance isn't the sappy kind. I can read the better written ones.

    Bonnie Jacobs said...

    Helen, that Point Zero marker reminded me of a book about two scientists measuring France at the time of the French Revolution. The two men triangulated their way toward each other along the Meridian of Paris, one working north from Barcelona and the other working south from Dunkirk. Their goal was defining the precise length of the meter, that now-official length. I recommend this history book that reads like a novel:

    The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World ~ by Ken Alder, 2002, history


    Helen's Book Blog said...

    Aths--There are sappy parts, but I could really relate to living abroad and trying to figure out where a relationship with a friend is going

    Bonnie--Great suggestion, thank you. It reminds me a bit of the Simon Winchester book about creating the Oxford English Dictionary

    Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

    I just started this book yesterday. So far it hasn't grabbed me but I am hopeful that it will. I'm always up for a good love story.

    Helen's Book Blog said...

    Anne--I hope the book gets better for you!