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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Penguin 
Published: December 2, 2010 
Pages: 372 
Source: Won from The Secret Life of a Bibliophile (Thanks!)
Rating: 5 Stars

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 Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

In short: Despite its horrid cover, it's impossible not to fall in love with the characters and the dialogue in Anna and the French Kiss, as perfectly written by Stephanie Perkins.
This is what happens when you let superficial biases keep you from reading a book right when it is published despite all the positive reviews. Superficially, everything about this book just screams bad, to me. The cover is just horrid. The title is cheesy. And the blurb is lame. It's not just the superficial elements though: it's also the fact that I'm not into contemporary, I'm not into romance, and I most certainly am not into contemporary romance. I don't do chic-lit.

Ultimately though, I am a lemming and easily become interested in reading whatever everyone else is reading and raving about (I'm feeble minded like that). I am also almost always in agreement with popular opinion so it came as no surprise to me that I did end up loving Anna and the French Kiss very, very much. It was just the initial push to start the book that was hard for me; everything after that came easily and naturally.

I am usually easily bored by the everyday events of contemporary novels. I crave fantastical or supernatural happenings, usually to break the monotony of my dreadfully normal life (not really, I like my life). So I was impressed with how easily Stephanie Perkins caught my attention and held it for the entirety of Anna and the French Kiss. I was instantly involved and interested in the plot, the characters, and the setting. It can't have been easy to capture my genre-limited attention so kudos to Stephanie Perkins!

There was a ton of dialogue in Anna and the French Kiss. Usually this would annoy me, but it was one of my favourite parts in Anna. I loved it so much that I'm prepared to say that Stephanie Perkins has written the best dialogue for a book that I've ever read. Each line of dialogue was either witty or meaningful or character building and I loved it so much I kind of want to end this review right here and go reread Anna again.

But definitely the best part of Anna and the French Kiss (and from the reviews I've read, people seem to agree) were the characters. What more can I say about my love for Anna and St. Clair and their relationship that hasn't already been said? The characters were perfect but flawed, which made them all the more perfect. I could relate wholeheartedly with Anna and I fell in love wholeheartedly with St. Clair. Perfect.

So I am officially mega excited for Lola and the Boy Next Door, to be published this month (September 2011), and Isla and the Happily Ever After, to be published 2012. I'm okay that these are more companion novels to Anna and the French Kiss instead of sequels because I'm perfectly happy with the way Anna and St. Clair's story turned out. I would also love to read companion novels based on Meredith's, Rashmi's, and Bridgitte's stories as well. Just putting it out there.

Other Reviews:
A Girl, Books and Other Things
The Secret Life of a Bibliophile
YA Book Queen

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  1. I felt similarly about starting Anna. I "don't do" contemporary books for the most part. Anna made me stop and re-consider my stance on that statement! Great review!

  2. Squee! I was hesitant about Anna, too, and now I just want to be constantly reading it. It's just a perfect blend of everything light, happy, and perfect and, if I could, I really would carry it around everywhere. I just read Lola earlier this week and I have no doubt you'll enjoy it as well. BRING ON ISLA!

    Excellent review, Aylee!

  3. Spot on! I completely agree with everything you said (except the not reading contemporary romance - I love it!). I'm also really excited for Lola and Isla, and I like that once Anna's story is over, it's over. It was such a great ending, nothing needs to be added...

  4. I get easily bored like that too. This sounds so cute. I must read it.

  5. I want to read this one so badly! Everything I hear about it is great!!!

  6. Hahaha, no one likes the cover! But yeah, I absolutely adored Anna & the French Kiss! <3 I totally agree with you on the characters and how addicting the book was! Great review, Aylee.

  7. I'm guilty of those superficial biases too. I just finally ordered this book because it was in Amazon's bargain bin, but when it arrived, I was turned off once again by the cover. I just can't deal with it. I'm gonna have to remove it and stash it somewhere dark. LOL

    Usually, a lot of dialogue bothers me too, especially when I feel like the characters are talking in circles. Good to know that Perkins worked it in a very engaging way.

  8. I waited a while to read this too! Aren't you so happy you finally did though! It was like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds as I read this, complete with double rainbow! Just pure adoration. And yes, the dialogue was so awesome, everybody was just so amazing, I just loved it <33

  9. You are actually kind of lucky to only have read it now because now you have Lola just around the corner while most of us have been bouncing around, waiting in excitement for a year to get our hands on Lola ;p

    Ace Review!!! What you wrote was totally true! Stephanie's novel catch most by the hook and sinker. LOVED ANNA AND LOLA. LOVE St Clair hehe, but just wait until you Cricket ;)

  10. **until you meet Cricket =D

  11. I am SO glad to hear that you gave this one a chance even though it isn't like anything that you usually read. Anna is such an AMAZING book. =D

  12. Aw yay! Glad you liked this one. It was soooo adorable, wasn't it?

  13. Wow if this book can win over a non contemporary romance reader it must be worth a read.

    I started a Flashback Friday meme that I'd love for you to be a part of. Here's the link to my post.
    Flashback Friday on Clean Teen Fiction

  14. YAY AYLEE!!! It took me a while to read this one too because of all the hype. I was convinced I would be that one person that didn't understand what all the fuss was about and I was so very wrong. I loved this book so much:) SO excited for Lola!

  15. Yay, I'm really happy that you loved this one too. I'm so excited for Lola's release. I've heard Cricket is even better than Etienne!

  16. I think you make a great point about the attention span. I definitely avoid contemporary for the most part, but this one did pull me in completely. Oh, and totally agree about the cover, title, and blurb. Gag.

  17. Aylee - I hear you. I've not read this book for many of the reasons you mention in your review. But... you liked it, so I think I should quite dragging my feet to and give this one a try. I haven't read one bad thing about this book yet!

  18. I know exactly what you mean! I didn't think I'd like this book, but I ended up loving it. I also get so happy when I see other people loved it too! Agree that the dialogue and Anna/St. Clair were the best parts of the book. Great review!

  19. I'm usually bored with contemporary books, too. I'll take supernatural any day! However, I'm looking forward to reading this book. Hopefully, I'll pick it up soon. It's been on my TBR shelf forever. Great review!

  20. I agree the dialogue in Anna was incredible. It was also good to see Anna and St Clair still had the same chemistry when they were in Lola and The Boy Next Door. Fantastic review!

  21. Yay!
    I am really glad you enjoyed this one =)

  22. You too, Aylee?? Am I the last hold out? O.O

    I want fantasy in my books, too. Couldn't Anna be a witch or something? Ah, but you liked it so, I don't know, maybe I'll read it...

    1. I'm finally reading this and I KNOW you would love this book. Anna is a character which you could totally find AwESoME!!! You'd invite her to ALL your sleepovers from here until eternity. And St Clair, well let's just say I never get excited about make characters in the boos I read, but St Clair I totally fell head over heels in crazy love with. He is the PERFECT male. I want me one of those!!!!!

  23. Yay! So glad you loved this one :D

    This book truly is one of those stories that's easy to love, once you get past the cover & title. And I definitely agree, the characters were the best part of the book!

    And thank you for linking to my review :)

  24. :P
    I think I'm the only person who didn't LOVe this book. LOL

    I liked it but I didn't think it was all that. I kind of want to read Lola, but I'll wait till the pb is out.

    Glad you liked it though! And I hear that Etienne and Anna show up in Lola, =)

  25. I loved this one, too. Because of the cover and the title, I put off reading it for so long. Then once I started, I didn't want to stop. I was so sad when it was over, but--like you--happy with the way it ended. Bring on Lola and the Boy Next Door! :)

  26. I just finished reading this last night. I loved loved loved it. I can't see why there are so many rave reviews for it.


  27. So glad you liked it! I was really surprised about enjoying A&TFK for the same reasons. I am not usually a fan of this style of book, but I LOVED it! Can't wait for the companion novels. :)

  28. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed Anna. And I completely agree with you on the superficial biases!

  29. I heart and follow your blog 'cuz of your awesome blog name (why didn't I think of that?) and love for Anna! St. Clair. Swoon...! Hehe. Great review!:)

  30. So sorry that it's taken so long to respond to everyone's comments! 30 of them! Awesome, thanks!

    Jessi: Yeah, I really need to start reading more contemps.

    Stephanie: I read a book I really disliked right after Anna and the only thing I could think of was that I wish I could be rereading it! So excited for Lola though it might be awhile before I get to it.

    Esther: Normally, I would want to see more from the characters but I'm so happy with how it ended. Also, I know they'll show up again in Lola!

    Juju: You must! I'm surprised that there are still people who haven't read it yet.

    Kathy: I hope you love it!

    Larissa: Read it ASAP! You won't regret it.

    Lauren: It's the worst cover ever to have such great characters, I think.

    Missie: Ha! I definitely removed the cover from this one so I wouldn't have to be seen reading it in public. But even then, when people asked me about it, I didn't even want to tell them the title! And yeah, I feel the same way about a lot of dialogue; it doesn't always seem necessary to have that much.

    Laura: So happy that I read it! If only to go outside my comfort zone in reading, for once. Double Rainbow ATW Across the Sky!!

    Jess: Heh, yeah I feel that's often the best way to go with series: read the first right before the sequel comes out or better yet, don't read any until every book in the series has been released so there's no tortured waiting! Very excited to meet Cricket :)

    Bailey: I'm so happy too. I just really read more contemps and histfics and not be so biased all the time. I'm probably missing out on some really great reads!

    Jillian: So adorable!

    Kathryn: Oh, it is! Because only a very well done contemp romance could persuade me to like it!

    Jenny: Ha, luckily I don't have that problem so much. With me being a lemming/sheep and everything. I knew I was going to love it because everyone else loved it, it was mainly just getting past that cover!

  31. Zahida: I've heard differing things: some people say they like Cricket more, and others Etienne more. Either way, I can't wait to find out!

    Logan: Gag, indeed! I'm glad I gave this one a go. It held my attention better than a lot of paranormal/fantasy/dystopians that I've read recently!

    Gina: I would really recommend it! I can't imagine anyone really hating this book, even if it's not their usual type of read.

    Liz: Heh, yeah I now feel like I'm on the inside, with everyone else who read and loved this book. I'm officially a cheerleader for this book... but not for its cover!

    Julie: It's surprising how many people in these comments actually haven't read Anna yet! I had kind of been under the impression that I was the only one left. Hope you love it!

    Nic: Ooh, tease much! So excited to see them in Lola!

    Jodie: I am too :)

    Small: Nope! There are a few people here who haven't I guess. You should read it! I don't even think magic could improve on this story anymore; that's how good it was!

    Lea: So easy to love! I would absolutely be friends with most of the characters in this book! Awesome, awesome characters.

    Alex: I hope you weren't put off by all the hype! But having read your review, I can understand your viewpoint!

    Jessica: I wanted it to go on and on too! It was just amazing how easily it captured my attention. I have no doubt that Lola will be the same.

    Jehara: No question! It really doesn't surprise me.

    Scoot: I am pleasantly surprised that Anna has managed to turn me into a fan of a contemp romance! Me! Contemp Romance! Inconceivable!

    The Book Faerie: I'm glad I didn't let those superficial biases get in the way of reading it!

    Rockee: Thanks! So excited to see Anna and St. Clair again in Lola!

  32. *shakes head*

    I'm so sad that I have not gotten to this one yet. Everyone has told me that I need to jump into the carriage to go get this book! I should indeed get to it sometime soon!

    Mad Scientist
    @ Steampunkery & Book Reviews

    1. You should! I'm sure you'll love it like pretty much everyone else!

  33. How did I miss your review before now. I didn't know that you weren't a fan of Comtemp. I guess you learn something new every Day. I'm glad you liked this one. You said it perfectly when you mentioned the dialogue. It was my favourite part as well. Great Review!!

    1. Yeah, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons a bit. Steph Perkins does dialogue like no other!