Anna and the French Kiss (book review)

Posted: 01/09/2012 by judgeduke1912 in Books
Tags: , , ,

DISCLOSURE: I don’t read romances and I’m a blunt kind of girl who (it just so happens) went to an American school overseas. I read this book after consulting a list of “good YA fiction” and this got the top slot. Why? Good question. Let’s try to answer that, shall we?

CAVEAT: If you loved this book, clench your teeth and read on. Thanks! 🙂

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is exactly what you’d expect from the cover art and not-so-transparent hook about our hero, the American transfer student in Paris and her myserious love interest:

Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?


Right, so Anna, this Atlanta born-and-raised gal with daddy issues is forced (OMG what? Nooo!) to go to an American high school in Paris (the horror! THE HORROR!!) for her senior year (not my senior year, daddy!). To be fair, she’s in love with a real jerk back home, so I can understand her hesitation to leave. Oh wait, she’s not in love with him, she just really likes him and they awkwardly kissed this one time. Oh wait again… he’s also a jerk. On top of that, she has this beater of a car that she likes to drive around a lot, and she knows that she won’t be able to drive in Paris, and, darn it, that really really sucks.

So yeah, we’re super sad for Anna right now, aren’t we, guys?


Cut to Paris where she is putting in zero effort to learn French – the one thing that might actually help her adjust to life in the city – and is having a hard time fitting in for some reason. Poor Anna. But things aren’t all bad news for her. She has confusing feelings for this gorgeous piece of work boy with the oh-so-awkward name Etienne St. Clair, and he’s just as confused about her. Sigh. Too bad he has his own daddy issues…. and a serious girlfriend. But that’s ok, because, you know, she has the jerk who’s waiting for her back home.

Pffffffffft. (Ok, I’ll stop.)

Thus the scene is set for the slow but eventual realization of feelings, which doesn’t exactly lead down a straight path. In fact, it’s constantly barricaded by sabotage (from other people, but mostly from themselves).

I wish they did more to break those barriers simply than to just ignore them until everyone just forgets about them. There wasn’t too much active problem-solving or character development through the story. Ok, so she apparently understands French all of a sudden for a pivotal scene toward the end of the book (Seriously! Anna doesn’t even realize that she knows French and is surprised that – OMG – she does!). Other than miraculous language skills, we also see her realize that she likes to dump her friends when she gets upset. (But who doesn’t?)

What we don’t see is her striving to achieve her heart’s desire  – she just lives in her own world and gets upset at everyone when things don’t go her way until finally, we see the boy do all the work at the end.

Pfffffffffffft. (I know I said I wouldn’t, but I couldn’t help it.)

Am I expecting too much from YA romance books? I sure hope not.


8 out of 10 if you like YA Romances
6 ouf of 10 if you don’t

Find Anna and the French Kiss in the Calvert Library catalog.


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