Thursday, 19 May 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

5 Stars. (Young Adult)

Well, Anna and the French Kiss was just such a treat to read. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going in. I’d heard so many wonderful reviews about the book that I thought it couldn’t possibly live up to expectations. This book was so enjoyable and engrossing. The characters are well established and all very unique and interesting. Even Josh, who doesn’t have a huge role in the book beyond being a member of the group Anna makes friends with still manages to establish his own personality and character in the few scenes in which he appears.
The real stars of the show here though, are obviously Anna and Etienne St-Clair. Everyone calls him St. Clair throughout the book so I’ll stick with that. These two are so very sweet together. It’s a real, loving and devoted friendship between these two characters and I loved that Perkins whole heartedly established a lasting and true bond between hero and heroine before pairing them up. I mean of course they were both seriously attracted to one another from the beginning, but their attraction is just that, it takes a while for their feelings to grow and in the mean time; things are complicated as family drama, friend drama and St. Clair’s girlfriend get in the way of an instant happily ever after.
St. Clair is the ultimate sweetie. This is the nice guy you get together with and marry. He’s the everlasting partner you would want to spend your life with because you know he’ll love you unconditionally. Anna isn’t perfect and neither is St. Clair but they both accept the other ones faults and that’s what I loved the most. As much as I tend to devote myself to the bad boys in books, St. Clair stole my heart. He was genuine and honest, very mature and kind and was just a nice guy. He makes people feel comfortable and honestly that’s a big thing when you’re a new person in a foreign place. Anna is also a very likeable character, she’s funny and endearing and yet she has her hang ups and insecurities which make her more relatable. Some of her lines had me laughing out loud within the first few chapters, this line especially had me giggling - "French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused." Did I forget to mention that St. Clair is English? He totally is, hot accent and everything! Whew as is Anna stood a chance! St. Clair is also not the clichéd tall, dark and handsome. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cliché, bring it on, but it was nice to see a departure from the standard hero look. St. Clair is short. Shorter than most girls and I think just a tiny bit shorter than Anna, but apart from a few subtle mentions of his height you never notice it. I love tall guys, but I fell for St. Clair because his personality is so larger than life. He’s charming and unique.
Here are a few lines I loved:
"A moment of reserve. "That was it? The whole story?"
"Yes. God, you're right. That was pants."
I sidestep another aggressive couscous vendor. "Pants?"
"Rubbish. Crap. Shite."
Pants. Oh heavens, that's cute."
Oh how the British are yum
I also loved Perkins’ incorporation of Neruda poetry – sexy steamy stuff is right:
"I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul." – I want a boy to buy me poetry like that. St. Clair rocks.
The evolution of the relationship was very heart-warming and so wonderful to see. The friendship between St. Clair and Anna was probably my most favourite thing about the book.
The only let downs I could mention is that I wanted to feel like I was in Paris more. There are efforts to name important edifices and areas, neighbourhoods and parks, but apart from that I didn’t feel like I was really reading a story about a girl in Paris. Anna is clearly not in America, but at the same time I felt like there should have been more of an effort to make me believe I was in France. Also, Meredith, who is the first friend Anna makes at her new school isn’t seen enough. She gets lumped in with the other two friends in the group and is always off doing other things. They get together in a group quite a bit, there are 5 friends all together with Josh and his girlfriend Rashmi, but I missed seeing one on one interaction with Anna and Mer. Especially because Mer plays a significant role in St. Clair and Anna’s relationship towards the end, I needed to see more of the friendship between the two girls which I felt was lacking.
Those are small details really in the grand scheme of things though. It was a great book and definitely worth reading!
I can’t wait for Perkins’s next book to hit the stands J

1 comment:

  1. This is defiantly on my list of books to read this summer! Like you, after reading so many good reviews of it I was kind of scared that it won't meet my expectations, but you have now removed my worries :)