Age Group: Young Adult
Date Published: December 2, 2010
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 Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne 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?
OHMYGOODNESS THIS BOOK WAS FREAKING PERFECT. I couldn't put it down and I would marry it if I could. It's beautiful and wonderful and so relatable, even though it's about a girl who goes to a Parisian bording school against her will and that would never be me in a million bajillion years, but that's the point of books right? To read about someone who lives a very different life than you do, and yet you can relate to their thoughts and feelings and experiences? Because, if so, Anna and the French Kiss fits perfectly into that description.
Anna Oliphant is sent to the School of America in Paris by her father (who is basically Nicholas Sparks, with the books and the movies and all. Not personality, as I don't know Mr. Sparks personally. He did go to my mom's high school at the same time as she did. Fun fact. Apparently he was cute and on the wrestling team...). She doesn't want to go 'cause she has an awesome best friend back home and a blossoming relationship that never got to blossom fully. But, she meets this girl Meredith on her first night, and they become friends, so Anna gets to sit with Meredith's friends at breakfast the next morning and she isn't so alone anymore. This is how she meets Etienne (the e has an accent aigu over it but I don't know how to make a capital E with one) St. Clair. The hit it off instantly, and become really good friends really fast. He's cute and nice and funny and has great hair. Basically every girl in school has a big ole crush on him becuase he's a cutie pie. The book chronicles his and Anna's adventures and friendship and blossoming love and it's so wonderful and happy even though there are sad parts but that's okay because Anna and Etienne are so wonderful together.
I mean, this isn't one of those books where everybody is peachy all the time (I'm not sure those books actually exist now that I say that). Etienne's life gets really difficult and Anna struggles with relationships with her family and friends throughout the book. And they fight a couple times. And there is awkwardness. But everything is so hopeful and you get the feeling that they work really hard for their love and they deserve it so much. There's always a wonder if they will ever really be together or not (I'm not telling you how that goes I swear). I just love how the two of them get each other so well. Like, from day one they made each other laugh and Etienne helped Anna get over her fears of French people and offending said French people. They aren't defined by the fact that they're in love or whatever. a) They're really great friends. They laugh together and do silly things in public. And Etienne wears a really dorky hat. b) Their characters are built so well apart from each other. Yeah, we don't see Etienne when he's not with Anna, but we get to know him really well. They aren't codependent. They're their own people. And it's marvelous.
Anna is an amazing character. She's really flawed, but it makes her so human that I couldn't help but relate. She's so scared on her first day and she feels so helplessly lost, and my heart hurt for her, because I have certainly been there. She's also a total neat freak germophobe, but it makes her quirky and I like it. She also has a gap in her front teeth and is really kinda awkward. She gets picked on for the bleached stripe in her hair, but she just doesn't mind it and keeps bleaching it because she likes it. I don't think it hurts that Etienne stands up for her a lot. I mean, who doesn't want someone to always stand up for them when people are mean? I know I sure want that. It doesn't make her weak to let him stand up for her either. She stands up for herself (and friends) too. But, even if she didn't, she still wouldn't be weak or anything silly like that. It's just so nice when he's stands up for her, and yeah she could do it herself, but its different when the school hottie does it. And also more effective.
And Etienne is screwed up too. I mean, for crying out loud, he has a girlfriend for a lot of the book, even though everyone can tell he's got it bad for Anna from the beginning. That's not good. But his life is crappy, like Anna's. Like her, he's got a crappy dad, too, even though I think his might be worse. Because of that, he makes a lot of poor decisions. His decisions are not okay, but I understand why he makes them. He does hang out with Anna a lot and do a lot of nice things for her, too, and she does a lot for him (read the book and you'll totally know what I'm talking about. She is one dedicated friend.) so I think they balance out the bad decisions they both make. I just love them as people. I really do.
And I loved their group of friends. Rashmi and Josh were such a funny couple, and Meredith was so nice. I just loved them all. I wanted to hang out with them in the cafeteria and at the movies and be friends with the group. They were so fun. Flawed like Etienne and Anna, but fun anyways.
Wow that totally turned into like an essay. Sorry. Basically, I love this book with every fiber of my being and you should totally read it. Although, I know most YA book lovers have read it. I'm totally gonna go buy the paperback copy when I go to the bookstore tomorrow (not just because it has a super cute cover). I plan on reading this one again and I want it in my collection! (And I know the pic I've got up there is the paperback cover, but it just looks so cute on my blog!)
Also, I'm sorry I haven't been posting. It's been crazy with school and surgeries and make up work and the like. I haven't even really been reading. Which sucks. I did, however, finish Wuthering Heights finally and I loved it so much there might be a review of that sometime in the near future. Basically, I suck and I love everyone who is still sticking around for me. Thanks.