Monday, January 21, 2013

Being young is wonderful: Anna and the French Kiss book review

My Rating: 4.75/5
As promised, I am here on this fortnight (:P) to write my review of Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins.
"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?"

Just the jacket blurb is promising enough, right? I was happily surprised to find out that the book is so much more that what's in the plot summary. 

It's not your regular chick flick. And I'm not saying it's not a quick and enjoyable read. I'm just saying that it's not one of those "no-brainer" books that you don't have to waste one brain cell on. Anna and the French Kiss, you actually have to pause at times to think. And that's when I know I'm reading a great book—a book that makes me think.

Anna and the French Kiss succeeds largely on the level of portraying an authentic life of a teenage girl. Through Anna, the protagonist's narrative, we as readers get to experience all that she experiences in Paris, the City of Light. In her seventeen-year-old voice, everything is a bit exaggerated, with a spin of sarcasm and the daydreams of a typical girl. 

Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but I cannot help but fall in love with Etienne, as Anna slowly but surely falls for him. The way the author portrays him constantly reminds me of the male protagonist in the 2008 French movie LOL (see pic here ;) like, HONESTLY.) So yeah, that's how I picture him. 

Most of all, I think the relationship between Anna and Etienne is totally believable. We as readers it. Effortlessly. The will-we-won't-we tension is perfect, and as events escalate, the story is sure to keep you up late at night. The "friend-zone" relationship is refreshing, and will absolutely make you feel like a teenager.

The only thing I'm a little eh about this book is the ending. While it's certainly great and what I wished for, I can't help but think it's a little...too perfect. Throughout the whole story I've been awed by its authenticity and believability, until now. Somehow I don't think the ending is how life works--all the problems solved, everybody happy. I guess I had hoped too much for a YA book to have a not-so-Hollywood ending. 

But overall, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. It's a thrilling read, and absolutely beautiful and funny and pleasantly surprising.

Finally, music accompaniment to the book:
Vanessa :]

One more thing: the secondary characters (Meredith, Josh, Rashmi, etc) are all very realistic and fleshed-out, and they feel like real people instead of just being there to fill up the plot/back picture.

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