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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
In turns I adored and was exasperated by Anna and the French Kiss. I read so many glowing reviews of this series that I decided I just finally had to read it. I don’t want to say it disappointed me, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype, either.
Let’s start with what I didn’t like:
-The romantic hero of the story, Etienne St. Clair, is in a relationship. A crappy relationship, but still a relationship. And every cute, adorable moment between him and Anna is basically him cheating on his girlfriend.
-As in all YA, I need to remind myself to have patience with the characters. Anna is, after all, a teenager. While I liked her character, she did a great deal of vastly immature things that just drove me crazy.
-There was not enough Meredith for me. Meredith is Anna’s first friend at her new school and she brings Anna into her circle of friends. But after that, she’s kind of pushed to the background.
Ok, now let’s focus on the good stuff:
-Despite not enough Meredith, the core group of friends: Anna, St. Clair, Meredith, Josh, and Rashmi were pretty well developed. YA usually ends up focusing on just the two main characters and maybe a best friend, but Perkins spent time developing the entire group – how they interact as a whole and how they interact individually with Anna.
-Even though Anna had those many immature moments, by the end of the book she recognizes her mistakes and grows from them, which is always nice to see in a YA book.
-St. Clair is adorable. He’s the “everybody’s friend” type of guy and is caring and funny. He’s also a bit of a tortured soul, having an abusive father and a sick mother. This home situation is supposed to help us all forgive him for his inability to make a decision regarding his girlfriend, Ellie, and Anna. I felt like that’s a little bit of a cop out, but again, he’s a teenage boy, so a little slack must be given. And the situation with his parents give his character a little more emotional depth and also helps him connect with Anna, who has similar daddy issues.
-Anna and St. Clair’s growing relationship is (overlooking the whole St. Clair cheating on his girlfriend part) just so adorable, as well. There are just so many cute moments between them. It’s not insta-love like so many books are, but a friendship that develops into more. The feelings of uncertainty and the excitement of something as innocent of a brush of the legs feels organic and realistic.
“St. Clair coughs and shifts again. His leg brushes against mine. It stays there. I’m paralyzed. I should move it; it feels too unnatural. How can he not notice his leg is touching my leg? From the corner of my eyes, I see the profile of his chin and nose, and -oh, dear God- the curve of his lips. There. He glanced at me. I know he did.”
“Do I see the same St. Clair everyone else does? I don’t think so. But, I could be mistaking our friendship for something more, because I want to mistake it for something more.”
-I enjoyed Perkins writing. This book was written in Anna’s 1st person POV and we all I know I love 1st person. The characters are likable and relatable. The dialogue is smart and funny. And she takes what could be a very clichéd story of first love and breathes new life into it, with an interesting setting and secondary storylines.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a light, easy read and just so adorable. I already downloaded the next book in the series, Lola and the Boy Next Door from the library to read next. I would recommend Anna and the French Kiss to all those who enjoy light, and fun YA.