August 22, 2013

REVIEW: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1), by Stephanie Perkins
Published December 2, 2010
Publisher:  Penguin Group
Format: paperback, I own
Genre:  young adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 
Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

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?


I finally did it! After seeing Anna and the French Kiss on countless Top Ten Tuesday lists and having it recommended to me time and time again by friends, I finally got around to reading it (and a special thank you to my good friend Anna for gifting it to me and giving me that final nudge). And, as expected, I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. 

Anna is shipped off to boarding school in Paris by her self-centered father and when her loneliness threatens to overwhelm her, she is introduced to a group of friends who start to show her how good Paris really is. One of those group members is Etienne St. Clair, a beautiful boy with a gorgeous accent with whom she develops an instant connection. Problem is, he has a girlfriend and doesn't seem too eager to dump her. 

My previous experience with young adult contemporary romance novels was very "meh." I didn't expect to be wowed. Or thoroughly engrossed. Or to fall completely in love with these characters. I now have a set a very high bar by which all other YA contemporaries will be judged. 

Anna made me so emotional. Her dad is a douche. Her mom is spineless. And I cannot fathom what it feels like to be a 17-year-old just dumped in a foreign country all by yourself where you don't speak the language. I would be terrified. And pissed beyond belief. And I felt it all for her. 

St. Clair - le sigh. I frickin' frackin' love this guy. He's amazingly sweet, yet, thankfully, not too sweet. I hate it when guys in books are just too damn perfect. You know? Etienne is awesome because he's flawed. He keeps secrets from Anna. He's moody sometimes and doesn't always treat her as sweetly as perfect book boyfriends should. In other words, he was TOTALLY believable. 

The slow burn romance between Anna and Etienne was perfectly paced. The sexual tension was off the charts for the majority of the book. The payoff didn't come until the very end. And, when it did come, it was so very sweet. 

Perkins' writing is flawless. Seriously - it was absolutely perfect. These characters talked and acted like 17- and 18-year-olds. The internal musings were so cleverly crafted. The dialog was sharp and intelligent. I want more. On to Lola and the Boy Next Door...

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