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. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?Oh, WOW. Every good thing that I've heard about this book before I read it turned out to be true. It is just as sweet and romantic and funny and filled with tension as everyone has said. For most of the book I really did think that Anna and the French Kiss was absolute perfection. With just one minor complaint, I had the absolute best time reading this book and finished it in a single day.
Anna is perfectly happy in Atlanta. She's going to be a senior, she hangs out with her best friend, she's maybe about to start a relationship with this hot guy she's been crushing on since forever and has a fun job at the cinema. But everything changes when her parents enroll Anna in a boarding school and ships Anna off to live in Paris. While most normal teenagers would jump at the chance to live abroad, and in such a great city like Paris, but not Anna, who seems afraid to venture off campus. Who needs help loosening up a bit. Which is when she meets gorgeous and charming Etienne St. Clair.
Ah, just writing that paragraph makes me want to swoon all over again. Paris and Etienne St. Clair, what a fabulous combination. St. Clair is good-looking and confident, he has a sexy English accent and Anna falls for him immediately. But he has a girlfriend, and Anna still has feelings for maybe-boy back home, Toph. She falls into a circle of friends at this new American high school in Paris, including St. Clair and here's where the tension begins.
I absolutely LOVE Stephanie Perkins for writing such great scenes between Anna and St. Clair. There's so much unintentional innuendo between them, such flirting and heart-racing moments. I had butterflies in my stomach reading it and felt such a connection between these two that I started feeling like I was Anna and hopelessly crushing on an unavailable guy. All the way through, my heart ACHED for the two of them to JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY. Everything was just so sweet and romantic that I was smiling from the first pages, laughing three times before I finished the first 50 pages. This is a very, very sweet love story. The slow transformation from St. Clair, friendly boy into Etienne, somebody very much closer to Anna's heart is very beautifully written. Their relationship while filled with tension and lots of misunderstandings and jealousies is also one of friendship. Neither of them is perfect, they both had issues and hang-ups that needed to be solved before moving on.
I love that this book is also a story of friendship, and not just between Anna and Etienne. I really loved the different friendships that Anna has in this book, from her dwindling friendship with old friends in Atlanta, to this new circle of friends as Anna slowly gets more comfortable in Paris. When bad things happen, the strength of those friendships are tested. (And PARIS! What a perfect backdrop for this story!)
There was so much about the Anna and the French Kiss that made me happy, from Anna's passion for the cinema, to the fact that she writes a review website for movies (movie blog!). Her father reminds me a great deal of Nicholas Sparks which had me giggling away and Anna herself comes across as quite funny. But of course it's this lovely relationship between Anna and Etienne which kept me turning the pages. The only very minor complaint I have is that the build-up of the romance is so high during the book that the ending, while satisfying, does fall just a little bit flat. Still, one of the best YA contemporary love stories I've read in a really long time. Highly, highly recommended.
A huge thanks to Lauren at I Was A Teenage Book Geek for sending me a copy of this book to read. Very much appreciated!