Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary (from Barnes & Noble): 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 Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?
So, full disclosure first, when I was in college I spent a year studying abroad in England (and I’m a born and raised Atlanta girl just like Anna). And while unlike Anna’s situation it was my choice (and I was extremely excited about it), it was painful at times due to the home sickness and loneliness. I lived in a very international dorm with students from all over Europe, and I ended up in a sorta relationship with my very cute French flatmate until we left to go home at the end of the year. First semester I left a guy back home who I had been sort of dating and had hoped to continue dating when I got back over Christmas, however I found out in late November that he had hooked up with, and subsequently began dating, my best friend. That was quite the shock and quite a blow to my rather insecure emotional state. So, I had a bit of an emotional investment in this story.
As a result of all of that there were parts and scenes in the book that caused me to have to put it down and walk away for a little bit in order to move past the memories that came swimming back. I think Stephanie captured the perfect feeling of a teenager left alone in a foreign country, I had many of the same experiences that Anna did and her reactions to things were spot on. Following Anna as she discovered Paris was almost more thrilling to me than watching her friendship/relationship with Etienne unfold.
The drama she found herself in with her friends felt real and relateable without being over the top. These are situations that we’ve all found ourselves in at one time on another whether we were the Anna or the Meredith, the Rashimi or the Ellie. It made reading them a bit difficult at times, but that simply attests to Stephanie’s true to life writing!
True to the YA genre this was a great book about self-discovery, friendship, young love and adventure in a foreign city. I personally think every girl should study abroad if she gets the change, you never know when you’ll meet your very own Etienne, Meredith, Rashimi and Josh and have your own spectacular adventure! This is definitely a book worth reading.