f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 372
Published:  December 2, 2012 (Dutton)
Series or stand-alone: Stand-alone
Source: Purchased from Hastings
Rating: Swoon-worthy
Further info/purchase: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble
Find the author onlineTwitter | Website 

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 Etienne St. Clair: 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?

My Review

So my relationship with Anna and the French Kiss went like this: read about book.  Watch everyone swoon.  Wonder if it's really THAT good.  Finally buy book.  Start reading book - immediately fall head over heels in love with the book, the setting, the characters, and THE BOY.  But fangirling aside, in all seriousness, Anna and the French Kiss is possibly my favorite read so far of 2012, and I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. 

Stephanie Perkin's main character, Anna Oliphant is incredibly down-to-earth, relatable, and the kind of girl I immediately was able to identify with after the first several pages.  Dropped off by her mother and estranged father in Paris to attend a boarding school for her senior year, Anna is understandably overwhelmed and ill-prepared to cross the language barrier, but as she navigates the unfamiliar territory of her school and meets an astounding cast of supporting characters along the way, Anna grows from an emotionally guarded teenager into a brave, bold young women - and it is done in a way that left me amazed at Stephanie Perkin's ability to write such a sympathetic, engrossing character.  Anna and the French Kiss is so much more than the cover or the synopsis can prepare you for - it's about friendship, love, hit-and-miss flirtations, new experiences, courage, fear, mistakes, and so much more.  But mostly, it's about life and living life to the fullest.

Along for the ride with Anna are the well-developed and likable secondary characters: flashy, outspoken Meredith, artistic Josh, reserved Rashmi, and Etienne St Clair.  The group immediately takes Anna under their collective wing  and I found something to love about each of them.  Etienne's girlfriend, Ellie, was part of their circle the year before and when she moved away to college, they all lost a friend, yet they welcome Anna with (mostly) open arms.  Together with the four, Anna begins to slowly find her wings, in small ways at first - like leaving the school dorm for the first time - and eventually, trips to movie theaters father and farther away.  My favorite scenes were the ones with Anna and St Clair exploring Paris, because I felt like I was right there with them, at Notre Dame, at various restaurants, and so forth.  Stephanie Perkins drew me in effortlessly - I never felt like I was reading a book; instead, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into these character's lives.

I can't properly review Anna and the French Kiss without mentioning the relationships.  Anna's friendships were all complex and awesome, whether it was hers with her best friend from home, Bridgett, or hers with Meredith, or with Rashmi.  I felt like everyone helped teach Anna a bit more about herself than she knew at the first of the book, and all the growth on her part was just  so poignant and meaningful, and truly gorgeous.  I'm a huge fan of character growth; watching a character mature over the course of a novel sets my heart fluttering, and there was a great deal of growth on Anna's part, and St Clair's, too. 

And speaking of Etienne St Clair...what to say that hasn't already been said?  Readers have been swooning over him for some time now, and with good cause.  Etienne is supportive and loyal with a fierce streak that, although we don't see a great deal of, is incredibly appealing.  He's independent and loving, yet he also has flaws of his own.  Together, he and Anna begin a friendship that evolves into something so heart-achingly real and genuine that they brought me close to tears more than once.  The tension between them is never over-done but always just enough and so resonating.  Their interaction was my favorite part of the book - I laughed with them, shook my head at them, inwardly cringed at their missteps, aww'ed at their friendship, and ultimately, they completely won me over, becoming one of my favorite literary couples.  To me, Anna and Etienne were the heart of Anna and the French Kiss, and their story will stay with me for a long time. 

Memorable Quotes

And I realize ... it’s okay. It’s okay if St. Clair and I never become more than friends. His friendship alone has strengthened me in a way that no one else’s ever has. He swept me from my room and showed me independence. In other words, he was exactly what I needed. I won’t forget it. And I certainly don’t want to lose it.

I risk a glance, and St. Clair stares back. Deeply. He has not looked at me like this before. I turn away first, then feel him turn a few beats later. I know he is smiling, and my heart races.


Angel said...


Ignore me, I just have that kind of reaction whenever someone talks about AATFK. <3

Chloe Jacobs said...

I've been wanting to read this book for a while. Thanks for a great review :)

Steph said...

Excellent review! I could gush and swoon over this book all day, but I think it's suffice to say that I agree with every one of your words. What a perfect little book! :D

Caitlin Lomas said...

Hahah Oh Molli, I am like you! I have sat watching people swoon over this thinking "Can it really be that good?" Now a fellow sceptic has loved it I think I might have to give it a go. I bought it for my sister, Im off to borrow it....thanks for the review!!

The Cait Files

Elizabeth Rodriguez said...

Thanks for your review. This is one of my favorite books ever! You should read Lola and the Boy Next Door as Etienne and Anna are secondary characters.

Jessica S, said...

2012 is turning out to be a great reading year to read books we should've read awhile ago, isn't it? I should probably add this one to my cart on B&N now... Your review makes the story feel like something extraordinary. I don't want to miss out any longer!

Dawn said...

I'm definitely alone in having issues with this book.

Michelle @ OFTLOB said...

I dunno Molli. I just don't know if I can read this. I am so on the fence because everyone loves this book but it is not the type of book that I read!!!

Brie Clementine said...

I'm not the biggest fan of YA but this book worked for me. I couldn't stop reading it. I think the Stephanie Perkins is very talented because she uses themes that are unbelievable (that school is completely unsupervised and the students basically do anything they want), and annoying (all that angst and lack of communication), but she makes it work. Have you read Lola and the Boy Next Door? I liked that one a lot also, not as addictive as this one, but very good! You're in for a treat!!

Mimi Valentine said...

Oh my gosh, what an absolutely BEAUTIFUL and flawless review, Molli!! <3 I agree with everything you said -- from the characters to the relationships to those parts that made you & me & the rest of the world swoon off our feet. And I loved how you said it felt like it was more than just reading a book because that's exactly how I felt too. Wasn't this book just perfect? Wasn't ST.CLAIR just perfect?? x)

Super duper amazing review, Molli! I think I just fell in love with this book all over again. I'm so happy you finally read it & loved it! :) <33

Tiffany Ashmawy said...

I guess I really need to get on reading this based on your review :)
I've heard so many good things about it, but it's still sitting on my shelf.

Gina said...

Yes, this is just a fabulous, spot-on review. Fantastic! I loved loved loved this book! It was great and I just love your review. I read Anna last year and it probably was one of my favs of 2011. I am so glad you loved it. Happy reading!


Jade said...

What a beautiful review. I can feel your love and enthusiasm for this book through your words and you have me wanting to go pick up a copy and quickly. I do love a good story about character growth and navigating life obstacles and relationships. Sounds great.

Heather@The Flyleaf Review said...

'I never felt like I was reading a book; instead, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into these character's lives.'

Sigh. LOVE this book so much. Great review:)

FABR Steph said...

I loved this book. Stephanie Perkins is awesome! Don't you just love a memorable read?
-FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

Natalia Belikov said...

Awesome review!!! but.. I cant believe either that you waited so long to read this book! O_O. But my dear, you finally did and I am so freaking super happy you did!! This is A MUST READ/HAVE/DROOL OVER kind of book that no one should miss.
And welcome to the fangirl club of St-Clair!!

Now please!!! pick up Lola and the Boy Next Door as soon as you can!!! Kinda... NOW!!! =D

Dazzling Reads

Book Sake said...

I haven't read it yet either and your opening paragraph is how I feel it's going to go for me as well. At least I hope so. I really want to read it more and more every time I hear about it!
- Jessica @ Book Sake

Lan Chan said...

I haven't read this one yet and have been putting it off because of all the great reviews it's been getting. Somehow, I always end up being that one person who really dislikes a book that everyone else loves, so I might wait until all the hype dies down. Is it weird that I have zero interest in Paris as a city?

Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I'm in that "watching everyone else swoon" phase. Lol. I guess I need to go ahead and read this one. It can't be that good can it? Oops I think I just moved to the next phase. It's only a matter of time where I am buying the book and giving it a read.

Peggy @ Pawing Through Books said...

I tagged you! http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com/2012/02/ive-been-tagged.html

Marie Landry said...

I’m SO glad you liked this one! Before I read it, I wondered how good it could possibly be - what could be so great that nearly every review I read was all swoony and fangirly and gushy? But, like you, within a few pages, I was hooked and totally got it. I adored this book - everything about it. The friendships, the relationships, the characters themselves, the way Paris was like an extra character. It was all so real and believable and I could picture myself right there growing and changing and learning with Anna and Etienne. I’m always so excited to read other people’s reviews and hear they loved it all, too! <3

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