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Friday, November 5, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss (by Stephanie Perkins)

About the Book:
Anna was 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. So she's 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? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

My Thoughts:

How's that for a kick-start?

Now, I know I tend to say this about like, everything, but I mean this one so much more than the others. Anna and the French Kiss is my favorite book. More than The Sky Is Everywhere, or Shiver, or any other book I've ever read in my entire life. No joke.

Anna has everything I look for in a book. Traveling, a cute boy, an MC who I can relate to, and oh man CRACKLING CHEMISTRY. It's absolutely the perfect romance. And everyone knows I love me some romance.

So, yes, Anna is a 17-year-old whose about to start her magical senior year. She's got an amazing best friend, a crush who could quite easily be something more, a great job. Until she doesn't. Instead of having the perfect senior year, her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris, France. And she's miserable about his choice because who the heck wants to be sent to another continent on their senior year (er, besides me) without choice? She took Spanish for a language, not French! (wouldn't stop me)

There are so many aspects to this book. Despite the title, Anna isn't really all swoony for a French kiss. Hardly, actually. She's got family drama, she's trying hard to make good friends and not forget her old ones. She's still trying to persue her dream of becoming a movie critic throughout it all. And then... there's √Čtienne St. Clair. (insta-swoon!)

Okay, seriously, one of the things I love so much about this book is Anna and St. Clair don't fall all over each other right off the bat. Their relationship develops as one in real life would. They meet, obviously she appreciates his charm and good hair because how could you not!?? (Also, he's got a British accent. It's an important aspect, I'm telling you!) But they also become friends, then best-mates, and maybe something more? There are more awkward encounters between the two than there are ones to smile over. St. Clair has a girlfriend. Meredith, Anna's first friend to start it all off, quite obviously has as big a crush on St. Clair as Anna might. It's all just set up where Anna can't like St. Clair. Or so we think. (dundundunnnn)

The novel is as much about friendship and life, though, than it is love. All of the side characters have their own problems, their own quirks. They're so real that you just want them there with you. Anna is just as focused on her career choice and passion as she is on trying not to rock the boat with everyone. There are enemies who she never meant to make, boys who she never meant to date, friends she never meant to hurt.

Besides all the relationships with the characters, Ms. Perkins does such an excellent job of creating the feel of Paris without over-loading you all at once. And she sets it all up according to how Anna sees it as she gets to know the area. It's all so magical. She makes the busy, crowded Paris when Anna first arrives, and as she begins to know the city, gets into more of the small details that make it so special. And the book you gather such a feel for the place. Small bursts of pretty. Not to mention Ms. Perkins touches on the history of the city through St. Clair, who is made to be a history-guru.

The book itself, I might add, is set over the period of a school-year. It isn't just a month or a week and all this stuff just happens. It's a slow and steady incline through time and everything develops accordingly. I felt like I spent a year in Paris myself. And I most definitely want to spend a year there after reading this book.

Honestly, Anna and the French Kiss is filled with such charm that I don't know how you can't fall in love with it. It's cram-packed with love and friends and laughter and tears and history and delicious foreign food. It's--and I promise you this--one of the best books I've ever read. And if you don't believe me, check out my amazing librarian's review (GreenBeanTeenQueen). She deserves a million chocolate eclairs for letting me borrow the book in the first place. But her review will prove how great this one is.

So pre-order Anna. I don't usually leave links for ordering in reviews, but this one totally deserves it. I'm buying about a trillion and two copies of this book once it comes out, that I know. Be sure to look for it on December 2--just in time for holiday gifts! I know you'll love it.


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

YAY! I know, I'm still gushing over this one!:) And anytime you want to bring me chocolate eclairs, I'll take them ;) hee hee

I'm so glad you loved it-I'm ordering a million copies too for everyone I know!

Maggie said...

Sarah: Man, I've got to get over there so I can talk to you about it! I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't gush with someone soon. :D

Aleeza said...

OMG YOU ARE SO LUCKY THAT GODSEND OF A LIBRARIAN GAVE YOU THAT BOOK I'VE BEEN WANTING TO READ IT SINCE...well, since I first heard about its awesomeness! No, seriously! Your review was FANTABULOUS and makes me want to read this book more than I already did before. man oh man oh man i really can't waittttt!

Sam said...

MAGGIE. He has a girlfriend?
That's why you wanted me to read it.
-pokes you with stick-
-frowns- -shakes off personal vendetta-
I really, really want to read this.

Maggie said...

Aleeza: She really, really is an amazing librarian. I'm so in love with this book that I don't even know what to say, really, and I love her so much for letting me borrow it. It's perfect! Definitely buy it!! :D And when you do read it, you should email me so we can use caps lock and lots of exclamation points. :DDD

Sam: I think you should read it for many reasons, because situations may be a tad similar. But yes, girlfriend is a big deal. Also, I just really, really like the book, and feel like you should be a witness to its amazingness. EMAIL ME WHEN YOU FINISH KTHNXBAI.