Anna knows nothing about France (well, except the Eiffel Tower and Madeline), and yet her father (a Nicholas Sparks-type writer whose weepy bestsellers keep being adapted into movies) sends her to the School of America in Paris for her senior year. After she is overheard crying by her next door neighbor, Anna is swept into a new group of friends, a group that includes Etienne St. Clair, a funny and cute (and romantically unavailable) boy. Anna and St. Clair develop a friendship complete with witty banter, and somewhere among their exploration of Paris’s lesser-known spots she finds herself falling for him. And even though St. Clair has a girlfriend, he seems to have feelings for Anna, too.
My favorite part of this book is how Stephanie Perkins writes dialogue and Anna’s narrative voice. All of the characters sound so real, and they do normal teenager things. They tease each other (one of my favorite scenes is when Anna goes through the cafeteria line by herself from the first time and St. Clair embarrasses her), and they get themselves into awkward situations and ALLOW themselves to feel awkward about those things.
Anna is a great character. She’s timid and feisty and hilarious at the same time. When something makes her mad she gets angry and yells, but she also keeps a lot to herself. Her sarcasm had me giggling, and I love her obsession with movies. Plus we’ve all been in her position at one time or another, liking someone who isn’t available. And St. Clair was a great leading man. He’s smooth and good-looking, but he’s also a history buff who makes some bad decisions regarding his relationships. He’s NOT perfect, that’s for sure. I love the fact that Anna is taller than him! That’s not something we see in YA a lot, and as a tall girl myself I appreciate how it wasn’t made into a big deal. Anna and St. Clair joke about it once in the book and that’s it. The secondary characters are also great. I especially love Josh, who’ll move center stage in Stephanie Perkins’s upcoming book, ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, coming out August 14th.
Not surprisingly, this book doubled my desire to visit Paris. And it’ll probably do the same for you! I recommend ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS for anyone who loves travel, witty dialogue, and an adorable friendship-turned-romance.