Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Description: 416 pages, Young Adult Fiction
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 The City Of Lights
Anna And The French Kiss was a book I would have deemed overhyped had it not been entirely deserving of the attention. Though I am not much a fan of Contemporary novels, I found this one a light yet sensational read, one that took me on an exhilarating roller coaster ride around heartfelt emotion, breathtaking romance, undeniable friendship, and an innate struggle to find one’s way towards home. Though I was, incipiently, apprehensive of the fact that the plot seemed to deal with certain first-world problems that would leave me no more than apathetic and supercilious, I was soon to find out that this was far from the case. Anna’s endeavors were not as exigent and life-or-death as is featured in most fantasy books, which remains the genre I offtimes embrace. This did not prove itself a setback however, as the conflicts and clashes of interests felt real just because they were. The situations were relatable, and close to heart, and I found myself appreciating the genuine verisimilitude, the reality behind the characters, who in addition, were charismatic and wholly appealing. I was completely sold to the setting—Paris, the City Of Lights—and in my opinion, Stephanie did a remarkable job not only in exquisitely portraying flurries of affection and melancholy, passion and vehemence, humor and sentiment, but also in keeping her readers on edge for most of the book, fallen hopelessly in love with a story so masterfully woven.
Love Is In The Air
Anna was a very forthright character, though she took care not to remain indignant and abrasive, especially when it came to the people who mattered to her the most. Though I, at first, had a hard time adjusting to her disconcerting attitude, which seemed to bridge the gap between sprightly and exasperating, I soon found myself warming up to her spunk and high-spiritedness. Her chemistry with St. Clair was pure and undeniable—despite the fact that they hadn’t known each other for long, their relationship didn’t feel even remotely like instalove. The build-up was deliciously gradual, and I loved how their friendship was pellucid in that it was profound and refreshing. Though I was a bit reprehensive of her rashness at times, I appreciated the way she tried to pick herself up and fight back. Though she was a distant cry from my idea of an excellent heroine, I was happy to have found, in some way by the end of it, an appreciation for her perfect imperfection.
Loyalty And Foreboding
I, unfortunately, had to withhold one star due to the toxic, back-and-forth motion of Anna’s relationship with St. Clair, which seemed blissful one second, and cataclysmic the next. At one point in the book, it frustrated me enough to make me think Anna should have considered giving up, because the both of them weren’t making it work, and they weren’t even together (no worries, no spoilers here as to their status by the end of it, just in case you haven’t read the book. A tragedy, that is). However, I was fond of their constant resolve to keep working towards reconciliation, and I did agree to an agitation far worse if it ended differently. Étienne St. Clair was the highlight of the experience, none too surprisingly. Though I could hardly imagine him shorter than Anna (it’s an awkward mental image, believe you me), and found his crooked lower teeth funny, I nevertheless thought he was enormously attractive and dead-sexy. Étienne did not stop at good looks however. He was an enigma, charismatic and larger than life. I loved how he always seemed to have a positive outlook on life, and only broke down when he had good reason too. Sure enough, I loved him, maybe not as much as I believed I would after the consecutive recommendations, yet I still believed him swoon-worthy and interesting, incredible where it would count.
One Follows The Heart
Overall, the book was an enticing read, a constant page-turner, and a romantic masterpiece of sorts. Despite the romance being drawn front and center, which I (under normal circumstances, which these aren’t), would look askance at and subsequently disapprove of, I found myself loving the plot, the characters, the prose, and the book itself. The plot itself was hardly fantastical, and yet it was refreshing and unique, and one that kept me interested. The sense of friendship and togetherness was overwhelming, and I found myself emotional for most of the heartfelt scenes between them. Meredith, Josh, and Rashmi were flawed, yet fallible; reckless, yet staunch.
Though contemporary with more romance than anything else may seem all too crummy and saccharine, I strongly believe otherwise. This book is a perfect read for those looking for a holiday escape between the pages of an astonishing book, one that will leave you in sentiment, in nostalgia, in melodrama, and in love, wondering for yourself where your own Étienne may be.