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February 21, 2011

Book 5: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

2011 Books

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young adult
Pages: 372
Grade: 94

When Anna's father sends her to boarding school in Paris, she's pretty unhappy - she has friends, and a job, and a boy she just started kissing, and she doesn't speak French. But then she starts making friends, including Etienne, who becomes her best friend and is basically perfect - except that he has a girlfriend. And Anna has that boy at home. Or does she? And what pain is Etienne hiding? And will Anna, a budding film critic, ever get confident enough to go to the movies in Paris alone?

This charming debut teen romance was a little slow to get going, but then I ended up staying up until 2 a.m. to finish it, so it's safe to say that I was thoroughly in its thrall by the end. One of my favorite things about it was that Anna had a big passion other than the romantic lead: she's obsessed with film and has a review site. So often, it seems YA heroines are either completely boy-crazy, or more or less blank slates so that readers can easily insert themselves in the story. In both cases, it makes the characters less interesting and doesn't exactly encourage girls to pursue things that are meaningful to them, so I was completely thrilled that Anna had her own Thing she kept pursuing through the ups and downs of the romance.

And the romance - wow. Etienne is definitely swoonworthy, but he's not perfect, which makes him a really good character. And the twists and turns were heightened for dramatic purposes, of course, but also realistic enough that I kept mentally yelling at Anna, "Don't do that! I've done that! It doesn't work! Bad idea!" Like romances, this one had a Big Misunderstanding that lead to many of the obstacles between the main couple, but the Big Misunderstanding was more believable than such plot devices usually are, so I was okay with it. If you're in the mood for a satisfying romance with a fun setting, give this one a try.

Posted by Kat at February 21, 2011 07:35 AM
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