I tend not to read much contemporary fiction, either in YA or adult fiction. But there was so much buzz about Anna and the French Kiss and I follow Stephanie Perkins on Twitter, so when I saw it on the shelf at work I decided to give it a whirl.
I've read a few YA romancey books in the last year, but haven't ever been excited enough to talk about them. But Anna and the French Kiss is not your average YA romance. In the absolute best way possible.
Yes, there is romance. And yes there is kissing (after all it IS called Anna and the French KISS) but it's so much more than that.
Her characters are so complex and rich and ALIVE. I seriously feel like if I went to Paris I might run into Anna and Etienne at the movie theatre. <3
Not really spoilery summary:
Anna is sent off to the School of America in Paris against her will. She doesn't speak French and just wanted to finish out her senior year of high school in peace, but her Dad has other ideas and doesn't seem to care what she thinks.
Fortunately she meets Meredith on her first day and then Meredith introduces her to her group of friends and suddenly it doesn't seem like such a lonely place after all. Especially when she meets Etienne St. Clair. Who unfortunately already has a girlfriend. But in some ways that takes the pressure off. They can just be friends and talk and get to know each other without the pressure of wondering where the relationship is going. Until Anna starts to realize that she might want more than friendship. And it seems like he might too. And things get complicated.
As much fun as the romance part of it was, the stuff I loved was the background of the characters and how absolutely real they felt in their reactions and interactions. Sure there are the typical misunderstandings and such, but they don't feel cliched or overdone. I really feel like I got to know these people.
It's not often that I cry over this kind of book, but I found myself tearing up several times (yes, I am a big crybaby) and I laughed quite a bit too.
And did I mention that I totally need to meet an Etienne that's my age. He has a BRITISH ACCENT and he likes history and random facts <3
In short - if you like a good story with romance, humor and rich characters, you should love this book.
Warning - there is some brief language including the F-word, but it is basically in one scene and isn't gratuitous. I am pretty sensitive to profanity, so I like to warn people about it.