Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. (Grades 8+) Dutton Books, December 2010. 372 pages. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Typical. Anna's father has decided that she'll be spending her senior year across the Atlantic at a boarding school in Paris. It means leaving her friends, leaving her younger brother, and living in a city where she doesn't speak the language. Not Anna's idea of a lovely senior year.
But then there's this boy. Almost immediately after arriving at the School of America in Paris, Anna meets Etienne, a gorgeous guy with a dreamy British accent. The trouble is that Etienne is taken. And Anna's kind of taken, too - there was that one kiss with Toph before she left... But maybe anything can happen in the City of Lights.
Oh, this was a yummy read! Why? Well, first of all, it takes place in Paris. A foreign, romantic city. Okay, I'm happy with where I am right now and I love my job, but after reading this book I found myself researching American schools abroad and wondering if there were any librarian positions open... From the food to the sights and museums, to read this book is to take a brain vacation to Paris. Ooh la la, delightful!
And definitely don't forget the dreamy boys. Anna and the French Kiss has the kind of boys that you love to drool over and Stephanie Perkins keeps the sexual tension taut throughout. She's able to make it hot without being too graphic. Not that there's anything wrong with being graphic, but the way things play out feels very true to the characters.
Really, I identified with Anna. She's a bit of a wallflower and totally intimidated about going out into the city and trying to find her way around. As she goes through her year in Paris, and with the help of her new boarding school pals, she slowly begins to brave the city and she ends up gaining a lot of self-confidence. I think this is a story that will speak to a lot of girls.
Plus, it was just super fun to read.
I'd highly recommend this to fans of teen romance novels. It's a perfect pick for your winter break reading or to bring with you on vacation (or, say, when you're super stressed and you need to read something to get away...). I'd hand it to fans of the Students Across the Seven Seas series or Sarah Dessen in a heartbeat. And I kinda feel like Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel flew under the radar a bit, but I'd recommend it as a readalike to Anna. It's got the same girl-unwillingly-abroad + hot-boy-ness that makes Anna so yum.
OH. And and and!! Stephanie Perkins says in the acknowledgements that she started this story during NaNoWriMo. That is awesome!!
Read more reviews at Just Your Typical Book Blog, The Raven Desk, Persnickety Snark, GreenBean TeenQueen, YA Librarian Tales, Everyday Reading, and GalleySmith (among many, MANY others).
Anna and the French Kiss will be on shelves December 2!