Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday (#5): Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This is a more irregular feature. Flashback Friday is where I review, or possibly discuss, an old TV show, movie, book, or album. So what's considered old? Anything that was not released within the past year and a half. By years, I mean calendar year (so for this year, June 2013-December 2014 would NOT be old)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: December 2nd, 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 √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?
"I don't think I can necessarily put into words why I loved it so much..., but it just left me feeling giddy and happy and hopeful."

Why didn't I read this book before now??? Seriously. I kept hearing about how great the series is, but I was repeatedly put off by the old covers. I mean, I know: Don't judge a book by its cover. But still! Now I want to smack myself for not having read this earlier!

I've recently been in a huge contemporary mood, and I always love a good quick, fun(ny), sweet romance. Well, Anna didn't disappoint.

I love Stephanie Perkins' writing, and she wrote such an amazing slow-burning romance. Anna and Etienne are so cute together. There was just enough romantic tension and things holding them back to make the story show a tug and pull between the two characters that were so obviously in love with the other. There were so many feels and definitely a lot of swooning! I think I connect a lot to Anna's insecurity and how she tends to hide when she's upset, turning (for her) to film and what she knows for sure. But I love how Anna and Etienne see through one another and just really fit well together. I'm glad that they had so many bumps and uncertainties because for me, that resembles reality. (But maybe I have a skewed/biased view, seeing as I've never been in a relationship...)

Anyway! One aspect that really stood out to me was the group dynamic between Etienne, Anna, Josh, Meredith, and Rashmi. I've always wanted friendships like the one they have. Sure, they have problems and issues, but they're also there for one another in a way I've always wanted my group of friends to be like. This group is so fun together, yet they all bring something to the table between their problems, their thoughts, etc. But I do wish there was a slightly bigger focus on Anna's friendships outside of the group. For example, I think her falling out with Bridgette was patched up a little too quickly for my taste. (In fact, one of my qualms about Anna and the French Kiss is that it all got wrapped up a bit quickly, but.) Then there was the relationship between Anna and Toph or lack thereof. I think there was a little room for more exploration, especially since that's where many of the tensions between Etienne and Anna and Bridgette and Anna pop up. Along the same vein, I wish her friendship or maybe friendly truce with Matt was explored a little bit more. It would have been really interesting to see the dynamics between Anna and her ex. Another major friendship that does ties in more with the major France plot and the group dynamic discussed above that I wish was developed a bit more was actually Anna's friendship with Meredith, particularly right before and right after the incident with Etienne.

In terms of other relationships, Ellie seemed like both a huge and yet a smaller, background part of the story. I found her annoying. Perhaps if the story was told from her point of view, I'd view everything differently, but told from Anna's point of view, I wasn't that sympathetic towards Ellie, and she annoyed me in a way I can't necessarily explain. I do wish there was a tad more closure on Rashmi's part in terms of her fall out with Ellie. It's so saddening, and while I understand neither of them and their story lines are the central part of the story, maybe just a little bit about Rashmi dealing and/or moving on from the disappointment and heartache would have made it feel a little more resolved.

Despite all of these feelings of "it could have been better if this had happened," I really did enjoy Anna and the French Kiss a lot. As I mentioned above, the romance was incredibly well written, and it's one of the best written slow-burning romances I've read. I am a huge sucker for obvious but slow-burning romances, and Anna did not disappoint. There's a lot about friendship and trust that can be gathered from the book, both the good and the bad, and the group and friend dynamics only strengthened the book. I love books about friendship and also a romance (like Open Road Summer), so I love how well-written and refreshingly new (for me) Anna's take on that is. Overall, the book is a quick, fun read. I don't think I can necessarily put into words why I loved it so much (see how much I wrote about things I wish had been done better vs what I loved about the book), but it just left me feeling giddy and happy and hopeful.
Anna and the French Kiss: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Stephanie Perkins: Website | Twitter | Tumblr 


  1. This book left me feeling giddy too. I felt so happy when I was reading it! I wish there was a bigger focus on Anna's other friendships too and I agree that things seemed to get wrapped up pretty quickly. I barely noticed these things for most of the book, though, because it was so good! The romance was amazing. :) I just read Lola yesterday and it was also very good (but I didn't like it as much as Anna). Great review, Jessica!

    1. Totally agree! :D I need to finally get around to reading Lola, but yeah, I've heard that Anna is better. Thanks!


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