So, I’ve read the blurb about Anna and the French Kiss numerous times, it sounded like it might be good… but it never struck me as being a must-read. I’d almost written off sitting down to read it, and then I kept getting these recs from some awesome bloggers out there, specifically Brittany from The Book Addicts Guide.. I need to say THANK YOU. I am so glad I did not write off this book.
The premise of Anna and the French Kiss is about a seventeen year old named Anna Oliphant, or “banana elephant” as she is called by her best friend, Bridge. Anna’s mother is a teacher, while her father is a novelist who writes cheesy and tragic love stories, written with the intent of being made into movies. And her father is all about impressing his friends in New York, so that is why he makes the decision to send Anna off to boarding school, for her senior year… in Paris.
Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is. Napoleon, Marie Antionette, and a lot of kings named Louis. I’m not sure what they did either, but I think it has something to do with the French Revolution, which has something to do with Bastille Day. The art museum is called the Louvre and it’s shaped like a pyramid and the Mona Lisa lives there along with the statue of a woman missing her arms. And there are cafes or bistros or whatever they call them on every street corner. And mimes. The food is supposed to be good, and the people drink a lot of wine and smoke a lot of cigarettes.
I hear they don’t like Americans, and they don’t like white sneakers.
Anna is less than thrilled about being shipped off to a boarding school in Paris, instead of spending her senior year with her best friend, Bridgette and the boy that she is crushing on back in Atlanta. She doesn’t know the language, as she has spent the last three years studying Spanish. She is afraid of travelling to Paris, when she hasn’t really ever traveled before. How will she survive without knowing the language and without the familiarity of home?
I must tell you. I love Anna. She is unique, and witty, and imperfect, a blogger, self-conscious at times, and just… a breath of fresh air. Reading the story from her point-of-view was so easy. I read the entire book in about four hours. I definitely felt that I could relate to her, even though I’ve never been to Paris. Maybe because I’d never been to Paris or traveled much. I could relate to that fear of not knowing how to survive in a foreign place– things as simple as going to the grocery store, the movie theatre, or taking the train.
Luckily, Anna is not completely alone. It is at SOAP (School of America in Paris) that she is introduced to a cast of characters… they are easy to remember, as her senior class only has a sum of twenty-five students. She is forced out of her comfortable little shell, her dorm room at SOAP and with the help of her friends, begins to actually experience Paris. Experience life.
Oh, did I forget to mention Etienne St. Clair? He is a English/Parisian raised American with a swoon-worthy accent. Now, I don’t know about you, but the sound of an English accent makes me swoon! But it wasn’t just his accent, it is Etienne’s (or, as he is more commonly called, St. Clair’s) whole being that draws Anna to him. He is intelligent, and teasing, and thoughtful. They start off as friends, and it is obvious where the story is leading… but there is one thing that is a major road block. Etienne’s girlfriend, Ellie.
This story was a wonderful and light read. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows- but all in all it was a really great feel-good book.This is a book that I will be buying to add to my favorite YA Contemps. If you are like me: stop hesitating, and read this book. I don’t think that you’ll regret it!