Title: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: December 2nd 2010
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age Group: Young Adult
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?Anna and the French Kiss is one of those books that I regret not reading sooner. I'd known I was going to love it, so why rush? Wrong. So very wrong. The moment I finished the last page, I just wanted to hit myself on the head with the book because I was reeling. And to think I could have experienced that wonder years ago!
Some people are finicky about going to the theater alone, but I'm not. Because when the lights go down, the only relationship left in the room is the one between the movie and me.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated with Paris, but only after reading this book did I have a solid itinerary for when I finally visit the City of Love. However, aside from the Eiffel Tower, Point Zero, Shakespeare & Co., the Notre Dame, and the fictional school SOAP, what made Anna and the French Kiss such a standout for me was the interesting array of characters who made this story jump out of the page - particularly the main ones, Anna Oliphant and Etienne St. Clair.
To be honest, I seriously thought I was going to hate Anna, that she was a spoiled brat with a perfect life that she didn't want to leave behind. I mean, who sulks about being shipped off to Paris?! (I ought to be better at reading synopses, I know.) As it turns out, though, she couldn't be more different from what I'd imagined. She's awkward and hopeful and assuming; she already had an idea of how her life was going to play out, with her family and best friend and maybe-soon-to-be boyfriend, and, aside from leaving the familiar, she is more upset about Paris because her father didn't give her a choice. Granted, she probably would have chosen to stay at home, but I completely got her frustration at being left without a choice.
So off to Paris she flew, and what better way to cope with the fact that you've been shipped off to a foreign country for your senior year than with an "English French American Boy Masterpiece" such as Etienne St. Clair? Etienne, who has an English accent, can speak fluent French, is obsessed with history, and would win the gold medal for the Hair Olympics? God, this boy is overkill.
Let me tell you now, just in case you have not read this book (although I highly doubt it): this book is basically their entire senior year in Paris spent full of friendship and romantic tension, but what I especially loved about their relationship is that they became best friends first, lovers next, because they couldn't act on the aforementioned romantic tension thanks to Etienne's girlfriend and Anna's hesitancy. They're one of those cases where you want to lock them in a room so they would just kiss already, because the glances and near-kisses are too much to take. This book exhausted me emotionally.
Anna and the French Kiss is the rare book that gets better with every reread - I should know because I've read it thrice. It gave me something new and made me squeal like a banshee every damn time, and I know my third read will not be the last.
MY FAVORITE PART was Anna arriving back in Paris after Christmas break. Sigh.