Rating: 5/5 Stars (If I had a gold star to give this book, I totally would!)
Release Date: 12/2/2010
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About the Book: Anna has just been shipped off to a Paris boarding school because her father thinks she needs more culture. She's not too happy-just when things were finally working out with her cute co-worker Toph now she has to spend senior year away from possible romance, her adorable younger brother and her best friend.
But then Anna meets Etienne St. Clair-cute, charming, funny-and taken. St Clair has a serious girlfriend and Anna's not the type to try and steal a boy away. So it's friendship instead. But can Anna really only be friends with St. Clair? In a city full of romance, will the lights shine on Anna? After a year of missed connections and mixed signals will she find romance after all?
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Librarians take note: when you have a reader come into the library asking for a contemporary romance ala Sarah Dessen, the new name to give them is Stephanie Perkins. With her fantastic debut novel Ms. Perkins is perfectly poised to become the new queen of contemporary YA romance. Remember her name-I'm telling you, she's going to be HUGE!
Anna and the French Kiss is one of the best debuts I've come across. This is a romance that gets it right and I am in love! Anna and the French Kiss has a romance that will leave knots in your stomach and have you hugging the book when you finish. The romantic tension is incredibly swoon worthy and the reader will relate to Anna's dilemma of "does he like me-are we more than friends" debate (haven't we all been there at some point?) And yes, the boy is so charming and hot that you will fall for him just as much as Anna does.
This is a fully developed romance with a deep realistic friendship at its base and characters that are so well developed that you feel as though you know them. And it's not just Anna and Etienne, it's the entire cast of supporting characters. I fell in love with all of them. I hated the mean people, loved the nice people, hurt when they were hurt and cheered when they were happy. These are flawed realistic people who you can't help but want to know. I ended the book feeling as though I'd just spent a year in Paris with my best friends.
Seriously, Anna and the French Kiss has everything I look for in a good romance. I fell in love along with Anna. I knew why she was crushing so hard-I was too! I LOVED that there was romance, but the characters were friends first-no love at first sight happening here. The friendship was what did me in-this is a When Harry Met Sally type of story and man did I fall hard for it. I love that Anna accepts that while she might find Etienne attractive, he's taken, so friendship is fine with her. Anna doesn't throw herself at Etienne or flirt relentlessly, but instead she is herself around him. She has fun, she makes a fool of herself, she's goofy, and real. This is a book I want to hand girls and say "see-this is the perfect example of how romance is supposed to work!"
While this is a romance, it's in no way fluffy. There is romance, but this is much more a story of Anna growing up and finding herself in a city where anything can happen. This is a story of how important friendships are and how they can change you for the better. And yes, this is Anna's story, but it's also Etienne's. Anna's not the only one who grows up in the novel-their friendship helps both of them grow and that's what makes it work so well.
Not only are the characters realistic, but Ms. Perkins successfully transported me to Paris. I felt as though I was there with Anna and Etienne. I honestly had never given much thought to visiting Paris, but I think Ms. Perkins has changed my mind. She did her job in convincing me it's a magical place with amazing food, charming bookstores, amazing architecture and a place where romance can bloom. But since I can't book my flight anytime soon, I'll happily travel there with Anna and experience Paris through her eyes.
Anna and the French Kiss is a must read! The book releases in December-perfect for your holiday gift giving! Add this one to your holiday wish list-this is a book you'll for sure want on your bookshelves! This is a curl up with hot chocolate and read in one sitting kind of book. I can't wait to read more from Stephanie Perkins-I'm hooked! I expect we'll see many more great things from her and I can't wait to follow her path to stardom.
Book Pairings: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly-while the books are very different, both feature a girl coming into her own in magical Paris and I think they could make for an interesting discussion, for romances that take place abroad, the S.A.S.S. series by various authors make a great choice, for more of the "I'm in love with a boy who is taken" storyline, try The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC received from ALA