Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Summary:
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 √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?


Review:
I've read nothing but glowing reviews of Anna and the French Kiss, so I was really excited to see that my library had a copy and I anxiously awaited my turn to borrow it.  Once I had the book in my hands, I dove right in, expecting to be blown away.  However, my expectations were a little too high.  

Remember that movie, Ten Things I Hate About You?  Do you remember when Bianca tells her friend, "I know the difference between like and love.  I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack?"  That's exactly how I felt reading this book.  While I did like Anna and the French Kiss, I didn't love it.

I just realized what the problem may have been.  I have a hard time giving over-hyped books a fair chance.  I prefer to read a book and decide for myself how I feel before I read a lot of other reviews about it.  I prefer a kind of a 'blank-slate' effect.  When I've read too many positive reviews, I build the book up so much in my mind, thinking I'm in store for another stalker-worthy read, that the book can never meet my expectations.  That's what happened here.  Anna and the French Kiss has been out almost six months, meaning I've read six months of glowing reviews, fully expecting to finish the book and rave about it along with everyone else.

Anyway, back to Anna and the French Kiss.  I loved the chemistry between Etienne and Anna, but the middle of the book was repetitive.  There was just so much back and forth between them, it got old for me.  Also, Anna felt immature to me---and by that, I mean more immature than other YA heroines.  She held others to a high standard of behavior but relaxed that standard when it got in the way of what she wanted.  Another problem was the fact that the book is written in the present tense.  I don't like reading books in the present tense.  The writing feels awkward and doesn't flow for me.  The conflict resolution came too quickly.  I would have liked to have a more fully fleshed-out ending.


On to what I liked.  I loved reading about Paris (although I got sick of Anna complaining about being there).  Etienne's tour of Paris was one of my favorite parts of the book.  I liked the writing style, the characterization, and the chemistry between Anna and Etienne.  I liked that there was some (much-needed) character growth.  I closed the cover liking the book okay, but not loving it and not wanting to ever read it again.  I promptly forgot about the characters---the hallmark of a less-than-stellar book for me, and am left feeling mildly disappointed.

  

4 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about over-hyped books. I build them up, and build them up, and then often they don't live up to my high expectations. Anna and the French Kiss did though. I loved everything about it. :)

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  2. I felt that this book was a little overhyped and definitely wasn't as great as I expected, but still a fun read! Great review!

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  3. LOL!! I love that quote from 10 Things I Hate About You!!! I love that movie!

    I totally agree with you about it being hard to read a book that's been overhyped. I have this one on my Kindle waiting for me to read but I'm a little intimated to read it for exactly that reason. I'm afraid I won't love it as much as everyone else has.

    This is why I try to not read reviews on books I plan on reading. I want to be able to go in with a completely open and unbiased mind.

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  4. I loved this book. I would recommend it. :)

    Cathy

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