Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's waiting for?
My review of Anna and the French Kiss:
Anna and the French Kiss is an incredibly sweet and touching love story set in what has to be one of the most romantic cities in the world - Paris. It's such a cute contemporary story that sucked me in completely with its captivating storyline about growing up, your first love, experience the world and finding yourself even when you're lost in a strange, unfamiliar new place. The setting was truly spectacular and mesmerising; a place of adventure and possibilities, full of beauty, culture and excitement. Buzzing with life, there's something to surprise and amaze on every corner, on every page. It made me want to seize the day, pack my bag and immediately hop on a plane to Paris and gorge on Parisian delicacies - a croissant or two; gaze at the magnificent spectacle that is Notre Dame and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and see Paris silhouetted in the sunset. The detail and the descriptions in this story made it come alive; every smell, every sight and every sound so vivid and real.
At times this book was so heartwarming with lighthearted, touching scenes; then replaced with heartwrenching, sad scenes that dealt with deep problems. Anna deals with some complex issues that really tugged on the heartstrings, making it easy to sympathise strongly with the characters and feel closer to them as a reader. I empathised with them and shared in their sadness, their victories, their hopes and dreams. It really does toy with your emotions; I laughed, I cried, I sobbed and I smiled - seriously all the feels together in one book wrapped up neatly with a bow. There were some really touching and sweet scenes dotted here and there which really contrasted with some of the other agonisingly sad scenes which were full of tension and suspense. This novel was dripping in realism and emotion and it really was an emotional rollercoaster ride and I'm glad that I finally took a chance on this wonderful book and dived into it.
This story was light and fluffy, so romantic and incredibly sweet laced with realism and enjoyable, relatable characters. The first person narrative allows readers an insight into Anna's thoughts and feelings. I instantly clicked with her as a protagonist as she was so easy to relate to. At times she was a little bit frustrating and naïve and all I wanted to do was give her a push in the right direction. On the other hand, her witty personality and friendly nature made her instantly likeable. Forced to move to Paris to a boarding school, she is thrown straight into the deep end and forced to grow up fast. Anna attempts to maneuver the prickly and dangerous minefield that is growing up and has to dodge a few mines and grenades (boys, bitchy girls, bullying, friends) along the way. She transforms from a quiet and shy introvert, afraid to do anything herself, into a confident and determined young woman, exploring the city and experience new and exciting things with a close knit group of friends.
She is instantly entranced by the absolutely swoonworthy Etienne St Clair from the very first day but one big problem stands in her way of a happily ever after in St Clair's arms - he's already taken. St Clair was instantly likeable - just like all the characters really (perhaps not one or two but you'll find out who when you read it!). He's super witty, funny and intelligent - constantly spewing forth little interesting tid-bits randomly. I loved how he made Anna feel at ease from day one and made her feel more comfortable in a new, unfamiliar place. They become incredibly close and their blossoming friendship just build and builds, until the sexual tension is almost unbearable. Their relationship was extremely sweet and touching but at times feisty and passionate. The chemistry between them just jumped off the page. St Clair was such an enjoyable character - handsome and dreamy and I loved the dynamics between them. The other host of characters just added another layer of realism and enjoyability to this wonderful story. Just as Anna grew close to them, so did I and I loved the glimpse we had of characters that appear in future books.
Anna and the French Kiss just blew me away. For someone who really never read much contemporary, I loved it and devoured it. It was such a wonderful read - its setting was perfect and romantic and its characters witty and realistic. It inspires wanderlust and after reading I'd love to venture to Paris and soak up the atmosphere. I loved Anna, Etienne and co and after reading the other two beautiful books by Stephanie Perkins I love them even more. I'd recommend this story to any lovers of sweet contemporary novels and relatable, realistic characters. It was just so cute!