Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Stephanie Perkins - Anna and the French Kiss

Anna was 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. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris-until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne 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?

Comment: I got this book at a discount price one time I went to the supermarket. They were having a discount offer on several titles and since I got this book translated at only 5€, it was quite a bargain. I already knew the title had had good opinions and so, even though it's a YA title, I got it hoping that I wouldn't feel like my time was wasted, something I tend to feel about YA stories and all their predictable teenager dramas. Thankfully, this was fun/sarcastic enough to be appreciated.

In this book we meet Anna Oliphant, a girl of 17 (I assume, since it's her senior year) whose father
decided she would have her last year in an international boarding school in France, as an opportunity for her to broaden her horizons. 
The book starts right after they leave Anna at school for the first time alone and how sad she feels. Anna then meets the girl next door and somehow she becomes part of a small group of friends, where is included Etienne St Clair, a boy all his friends call simply St Clair.
In the following months, Anna sees herself finding courage in Paris and also close friends and a romantic interest. But St Clair has a girlfriend, an authoritative father and apparently he gives off some not-just-friend-vibes which confuse Anna. 
Will Anna be the person she is meant to after being in France on her own?

Of course the focus would be on Anna's love interest and how her relationship with St Clair progressed. Seen from this perspective, all teenagers with good hearts have it easy on the romantic expectations if only they show how smart and unique they are. At least I got this idea from reading about Anna. She is not perfect but she is definitely portrayed as being special and although the reader might want to have that as a given, it just makes this book a bit too predictable and repetitive.

That aside, I actually had a good time reading, especially when it came to Anna's steps in Paris (which I have visited so it was fun to re-do it with her) and what she did outside mooning over St Clair. 
Anna's personality development issues were well explored, I guess. Since most people who read this are or were a teenager, there are many situations to relate to:
- seeing parents go away leaving us alone...my first day before University I had the same happening to me when mine left the apartment I was staying in;
- facing a potentially distant group of people with little groups already formed... all new students feel awkward and needing to belong;
- needing to go along with an idea just because but learning from it...peer pressure exists and in school it can be as ruthless and in an adult environment.
These things before Anna found her friends did call out to me as being perceptive and obvious but still something that is part of everyone's life lessons.

The romance...ehhh, I'd say too much attention was given to it but I suppose that is to be expected.
The two of them did enjoy sightseeing, going to movies and doing things together like any friends, even without the romance vibe there. I did like seeing Anna interacting with other people, I liked how she thought about things, her voice was often funny, she did say some things I thought were quite informal and realistic if one things a young person would think of it. Anna, as a person, is engaging and interesting to read about.
I liked her way of dealing with being away, how she missed her family... I liked how she behaved for the most part.
Obviously there is teenage drama, I expected that so while not really wanting to read bout, it was something that didn't caught me unaware as too negative.

The end is as cute as the majority of the novel so I ended up happy enough to have read it.
It probably helped how the secondary issues dealt with here were captivating enough to distract me from the romance drama. Still, surprisingly positive but not something I'd want to read over and over, like I do with my favorite genres.
Grade: 7/10

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