OMG. Purrfect! Full review to follow.
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Without a Bookshelf.
Let me warn you, this review will hardly be coherent due to a severe case of swooning. I am still recovering from the melting galore this book had me in because oh my God, Anna and the French Kiss has everything I want in a YA romance ... and more!
Don't you just hate it when parents try to live their lives through their children? That is exactly what's happening to Anna Oliphant. When her father decides to enroll her in an American boarding school in Paris, Anna's life drastically changes. She is forced to leave her family, friends and a hot boy crush back in Atlanta to be the new girl in a class of 25 seniors in a foreign country. Pretty crazy, but trust me, the author makes it f-u-n. The book follows her adventures in the most romantic city in the world...with the beautiful Etienne St. Clair, whose mere name is already so sexy!
Anna is a wonderful character and a smooth, flawless narrator. She's endearing, extremely lovable and her narration is the perfect depiction of the awkwardness of not only being the new girl in a new school in a new city (and alone!) but also of the twists and turns of falling for the perfect boy, who just so happens to be unavailable. What I enjoyed most is the fact that Anna has a surprising amount of thoughts floating about in her head. I adore her mental dialogue and humour, and there are some laugh out loud moments in the book that should be noted by all. Anna is also a little sarcastic, perhaps patronising, at times insecure. Despite all these, she's such a natural character - every girl in her shoes would probably act and think similar to her.
You will also love the secondary characters in the book. Anna's clique - Meredith, Rashmi and Josh - are a colourful bunch! There are also the classic characters - the bad, irresponsible parent, mean beautiful school queens and the bullies. And Etienne St. Clair. I swear, he is an honest-to-God dream boy. Despite the fact that he is taken, he is simply too irresistible. Anna certainly thinks so!
Throughout the book we see the complex web of friendship-only-or-is-it-something-more interaction between Anna and Etienne. There is a lot of hints, chivalrous actions, smiles and teases to decipher and decode! Strikes a chord, girls? I'm sure you remember those high school days where every action of the boy you had your eye on is turned inside out, analysed, assessed, and sorted into 'he-likes-me' and 'he-likes-me-not'. Anna goes through the exact same process, and who doesn't enjoy the ride? Anna and the French Kiss will have you sighing, clicking your fingers, giggling, and rooting for this couple!
The book is as much about romance as it is about adventure. Anna's life is Paris is certainly not only about romance, and her adaptation to the new lifestyle is well-described. There is the language, of course. The book has a lot of French phrases, which are quite fun to figure out. There are also references to Paris landmarks which would make you want to be there. Then there is the culture, which Anna has to adapt to as well, by learning to get over stereotypes and misconceptions. We see how her acceptance in Paris coincide with the blossoming romance between Etienne and her.
The plot is crafted perfectly. I mean, what better to cure homesickness with than love? In the city of Paris itself? This book just oozes romance! And I shall end with a really cute quote that is so totally this book:
"Argh! Boys turn girls into such idiots.