Anna and the French Kiss

by Stephanie Perkins

How do I describe Anna and the French Kiss without gushing too much? I’m really not sure I can. Let’s start with a summary:

Anna has been sent to boarding school in Paris for her senior year because her dad insists she get the type of education his writing peers would approve of. And while Anna understands it’s an opportunity, she mostly just wants to stay in Georgia, hang out with her best friend and maybe spend some time with Toph, the guy she’s crushing on and has kissed once. But, parents always win, so it’s off to Paris. As one can imagine, life experiences hit Anna left and right throughout her time in Paris as she makes new friends and finds an uber-cute guy to crush on. But he has a steady girlfriend and she has Toph, right?

I LOVED this book. So much so that I read it in one sitting and then, when it was done, I re-read all my favorite parts (so, basically, I re-read most of the book). Perkins took a premise that could easily have been cliche (girl studying abroad, cute boy, etc., etc.) and made it fresh and fun. And I could totally gush about the love story that is central to the book. Really, I could. Or on the many facets of friendships that are represented so well by this novel.

However, I want to talk about Anna, our main character. Her character development is the main reason I loved this book. Here we have a girl who has passions and opinions and embraces and expresses them. She doesn’t forget about them the minute a cute boy walks her way (and thus leading the reader to wonder if she really was interested in what she said she was interested in). She also has flaws. Wonderfully human and obvious flaws – flaws that I believe everyone has at some point in their life. She makes bad decisions and assumptions, but – and this is the part that really made me like her – she doesn’t wallow in self-pity and doubt. Instead, when she recognizes the problem, she does her best to remedy the situation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And she has homework! (I’m always surprised by the lack of homework and actual school in many YA books.)

And, okay, let’s talk for a minute about the love story. So. Realistic. And heart-warming. And gut-crushing. And suspenseful! I’m sure I could keep going. Either way, it was great. Hats off on how well done it was.

To sum it all up, read this book. Odds are it will delight you.

Where this book came from: the library, but my own copy has  been ordered (as well as a few for Christmas presents).

p.s. I’ve mentioned numerous times how much I love book covers – and Anna and the French Kiss has a great one – but I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned how much I love book bindings. (Librarian thing maybe?) Anna and the French Kiss’ binding is purple. And I love it. Haven’t seen a purple binding in awhile.

p.p.s. huge squee! I just found out there are not one but two companion novels coming out! SUPER excited.

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