Beth Martin's Reviews > Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
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Feb 05, 12

bookshelves: read-in-2012, favorites
Read in February, 2012

I'm not a Francophile and I think Paris is overrated. Stories about ungrateful girls who get dumped off in lovely foreign countries (even France) for a year make me grit my teeth. Cutesy titles that involve pseudo puns make me want to throw things at walls. And seriously how the fuck am I supposed to pine with Anna over some guy named Etienne? Logic dictates that I would loathe this book. Logic! All I can say is damn you, Anna and the French Kiss, you made me a believer in your awesome.

The Plot: There's really not much to say about this, mostly because there is no "plot." They don't have to save the world from a giant conspiracy, nobody is on a bucket-wish-list-crossing-off quest, Anna has not set out to land a French boyfriend, etc, etc. It's just a bunch of crazy kids running around being themselves and growing up and shit. Plot? What fucking plot?

The Heroine: Oh Anna. You make me happy. Because you are so wonderfully normal. By which I mean she is someone who is believable and likable, the sort of girl I'd befriend in a heartbeat. She's funny in a disarming way and realistic about herself without being a downer. She makes mistakes but tries to make up for it. Oh. God. Anna. You make me happy.

The Hero: Etienne. St. Clair. I don't even. You were supposed to be dumb, darling, dumb and French and a trope and a cliche. You were not supposed to make me fall in love with you slowly but surely, by being your beautiful wonderful human self full of flaws and strengths and sheer dopey boyishly charming amazingness. What is with that?!

The Others: Dude. I want to be friends with these people. I want to be friends with the entire gang and cuddle them all close to my heart, because they are exactly the sort of dorky fellows who would be my soul sisters/brothers. And I'm not even ashamed to say that.

The Villain(ess)(s): Despite the fact that there is no solid plot arc and there are no solid villain(ess)(s) to speak of, there must be this point in here. Basically, Etienne/St. Clair's father is a bastard, so he kind of haunts things with his bastardry. There's a cliche mean girl and those jerky jocks who can't keep their mouths shut. Etienne/St. Clair's girlfriend is sort of a villainess, I guess. Really, mostly they were just there to provoke more drama at opportune moments. Etienne/St. Clair's dad especially seemed to be there to provide drama. All in all, that was the weak link of all of this.

The Writing: Moments of genuine soul shattering lyricism abounded. However on the whole it was just good, solid prose that is easy to digest and understand. More than good enough for what was transpiring, which was two dorky teenagers falling in love with each other.

So all in all, Anna and the French Kiss ended up winning me over. I don't even really know how that was managed, because I basically went in dreading it. I know that it's set in an overrated city, I know cover is awful and the title is cheesy, I know the summary makes it sound like every other "girl gets dumped in a foreign country and whines about it for three hundred pages" story out there, I know that the hero doesn't even have a strikingly sexy name...but...read it. Recommended for: the dorky girls out there who just want to fall in love with a normal, amazing guy in a city that once you get past the touristy shit is actually apparently amazing...yeah.
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