Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
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?
(Cover & Description from Goodreads. Source.)
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Kat's Review
I read this book with a bit of nostalgia for the year I spent in Paris as an exchange student, although I wasn't in a school with expats. I was at University, and my roommate was an Italian girl who invited her hippie boyfriend to come and live with us for the last month and who brushed his teeth in our kitchen sink...but I digress.  Although I knew how to speak French when I was there, I could identify with how overwhelmed Anna was by the wonder that is Paris and the sudden freedom of living on her own for the first time. 
And let's be honest, Paris is a character in the book.  Not as much, perhaps, as it could have been, but more than enough for the purposes of this novel.  The author walked a fine line between providing enough info about the sites to orient the reader and providing a history lesson.  She walked it well.  It's also obvious that she did her homework, because her descriptions of many of the locations were perfect.  Paris is such an iconic and romantic backdrop to a book, although I'm perhaps a little biased to be objective about this.
I read this book all in one go, which I like to do if I'm enjoying a book.  Otherwise I just wander around thinking about the book while I pretend to do other things, and nothing actually gets done. 
I enjoyed it. 
It's a cute, feel good story about a girl finding herself, and falling in love in the process.  The love story is front and centre, there's no doubt, but it was Anna's journey from a sheltered girl afraid to leave her dorm, to a confident, self-sufficient young woman who finds the courage to stand up for herself and demand more.  I wasn't always sure that she would get there, but she did.
So let's talk Etienne St. Clair.  The American/British/French hottie that Anna (and everyone else) falls for.  Full disclosure, my first born son is named Etienne, so I'm kind of partial to the name.  Etienne is sweet, charming, and taken.  Not to mention the object of desire of Anna's first friend in Paris.  She falls for him anyway, and spends most of the book trying to decode his mixed messages. 
I liked his character, although the whole "everyone loves him" thing was a bit much.  I liked him less and less as he strung Anna along (intentionally or not) and started getting tired of his inability to make a decision.  By the time Anna lost her sh*t on him I was relieved.  Not that I didn't want them to get together, but because I didn't want her to be that girl, the one who is willing to take whatever scraps they're offered.  They were both flawed, which I thought was great.  In many ways, Etienne was also learning to be independent by letting go of what was comfortable and taking a chance on something new.
Rating: A Good Read
This is a sweet, funny book.  It takes place in a great location, giving it a twist from the usual boarding schools stories.  The chemistry between the main character and the love interest is written to feel real, and the story kept me reading until the end. 
Buy From:  Amazon        Amazon Canada

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