Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
published on December 2nd 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
young adult | contemporary | romance | travel
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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Stmart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all… including a serious girlfriend.
Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? And will it be all she’s been waiting on?
Let’s make this review short and sweet. (Okay, maybe not sweet… but you get the idea.)
She was an idiot. I’m not even going to try to lie. Anna’s the epitome of an unbearable and ignorant American tourist. After getting dumped in Paris and forced to attend a school for Americans (which to her was completely unfair. Oh, the horror!), Anna meets a handsome boy, who I will get to later. Her stay consisted of realizing that:
1) oui is not spelled wee
2) French people hate Americans (and if they’re all like her, for good reason)
3) French people don’t spend their free time watching mimes every day
4) it’s ok to order food even if you don’t know French in a place where everyone speaks English!
5) starving and isolating yourself in fear of having to speak French is stupid and probably a bad idea
6) history is interesting!
7) Paris is the home of films! Read closely: this girl wants to be “our nation’s greatest film critic” and yet had genuinely no clue that she was living among a city known for its focus on film. To make matters worse, Anna has the audacity to watch American films… in Paris… A CITY OF FILM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The ignorance is astounding.
Étienne St. Clair:
Was he dreamy? On the surface, sure. He had it all: the American citizenship, the British accent, the ability to speak perfect French, good looks, intelligence, a perfect name, an invigorating aura, the charm, etc.. But after analyzed, one can tell that despite the author’s effort to write him as perfect, this guy was a jerk. Instalove blared to life as soon as Anna and St. Clair first encountered, yet it took about 300 pages before they decided to do something about the situation. What was holding them back? Well, my dear, St. Clair had a girlfriend (cue the groans). This guy, although seemingly perfect, had no regard for anyone’s feelings but his own. Anna was in love with him, one of his closest friends was in love with him, his girlfriend was in love with him, the whole school was in love with him, but who cares that he’s hurting each and everyone as long as he has his own problems to deal with? Right? Not.
I found it repulsive for him to stay with his girlfriend for such a long time, knowing he had no feelings for her, out of fear of being alone. I found it repulsive for him to lead Anna on knowing he wouldn’t leave his girlfriend because he wasn’t “ready”. I found it repulsive that he was aware for so many years that his closest friend was in love with him and yet didn’t make any effort to clarify anything between them. I found it repulsive that he took an eternity to fix his mistakes. But what I found to be most repulsive was the cheating.
Anna’s best friend dates the boy she knew Anna liked without at least speaking to Anna about it. Of course, Anna was furious – and rightly so. Fast forward a few pages and Anna does the EXACT same thing; she kisses St. Clair while he has a girlfriend, hurting both their friends and St. Clair’s girlfriend. Aside from kissing, Anna and St. Clair find themselves sleeping in the same bed, flirting with each other, holding hands, sneaking longing glances at each other, and resisting their mutual feelings. I don’t care how much you love someone else, cheating is not acceptable and there is no excuse for it. What’s more ironic is the fact that Anna never realizes that if St. Clair did it to his (ex)girlfriend, he’d also do it her. Cheaters never quit.
Don’t get me wrong: I admired and felt their chemistry. What ruined it for me was that they handled the situation all wrong. The worst part of it all is that if they simply communicated with each other, the trouble and drama could’ve been avoided. But then there’d be no book… awkward…
This book is painfully and eerily like Maybe Someday (which I hated and bashed on too… any book that makes cheating come off as acceptable is not a worthy book in my opinion). I can’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy the friendships, conversations, and situations, because I was genuinely entertained. However, Anna was a whiny hypocrite, St. Clair was a jerk, and both led this book down a very nasty road.
You can find this review on Goodreads.
I’m Sara, a Colombian teenager with a never-ending enjoyment for reading. I’m a Netflix and Disney enthusiast and my monumental obsession is coffee.