Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: October 11, 2011
Publisher: Listening Library
Format: Audiobook, Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
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?
I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to re-read some of my favorite books. But, instead of reading the physical book or ebook, I’m listening to them on audiobook. I love listening to audiobooks in the car. It definitely helps to keep me calm in the horrendous DC area traffic.
First up on the favorite re-read list was Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I fell in love with this book when I read it last year. I fell even more deeply in love with it the second time around. I mean, what’s not to love about this book? Beautiful English-French-American boy with an amazing English accent, sweet and likable heroine, PARIS. Big fuzzy hearts.
“I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It’s so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn’t have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.”
Anna is your average teenage girl. She was witty and cute, smart and sassy. She feels completely out of her element at an American school in Paris. She misses her best friend, Bridgette, and her crush, Toth. She’s annoyed with her parents for sending her away and concerned about her little brother. Once she starts to settle in at school, she misses home less and less. As she begins to drift from her friends from home, she forges some great friendships with Etienne, Mer, Josh, and Rashmi. After a few weeks, Paris was beginning to feel more and more like home. A disastrous trip home over the holidays solidified this.
“I’m a little distracted by this English French American Boy Masterpiece.”
Oh, Etienne St. Clair. I love him so. He was beautiful, charming, sweet, and thoughtful. He was a friend to everyone, but only close to a select few. He also had a girlfriend who was not Anna. Etienne doesn’t have an easy home life, either. His father is a jerk and his mother is sick. It really takes a toll on him in the book. So much was changing that he was trying to hold on to the constant in his life, his girlfriend Ellie, thought it was rather obvious he was having very strong feelings for Anna. They had a ton of chemistry and it was a joy to read.
“Most people in Atlanta don’t have an accent. It’s pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though,” I add jokingly.
“Fo’ shiz,” he replies in his polite English accent.
I spurt orangey-red soup across the table. St. Clair gives a surprised ha-HA kind of laugh, and I’m laughing too, the painful kind like abdominal crunches. He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. “Fo’. Shiz.” He repeats it solemnly.
Cough cough. “Please don’t ever stop saying that. It’s too-” I gasp. “Much.”
“You oughtn’t to have said that. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions.”
“My birthday is in February.” Cough choke wheeze. “Please don’t forget.”
I couldn’t get enough of the scenes with Anna and Etienne together. Their dialogue was snappy and playful. While their attraction and chemistry was nearly immediate, they took the time to get to know each other. They quickly became friends and then best friends. They were the one person the other leaned on. No need to look for instalove here. Instead, their feelings grew slowly and steadily. The book was full of the sweet taste of first love… and some teenage angst. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the dynamic of a friend crush to first love story. There’s just something so real about it. I get sucked in every single time.
“How many times can our emotions be tied to someone else’s – be pulled and stretched and twisted – before they snap? Before they can never be mended again.”
There was conflict with friends and family, and sometimes with each other, as the novel continued. Anna and Etienne faced many obstacles: Ellie, their friends and relationships with them, uncertainty on what the future holds for them. But, I didn’t find anything to be overly dramatic in that way that YA books can sometimes be. The voices felt real – as did the situations that unfolded. This was a beautiful story of friendship, love and family set against a fabulous Paris backdrop that was described so well, in such detail, that it felt like I was there.
“I don’t want to feel this way around him. I want things to be normal. I want to be his friend, not another stupid girl holding out for something that will never happen.”
I loved that I got to spend the entire novel inside Anna’s head. Her inner dialogue was perfect. While it might have been nice to be inside Etienne’s, the story was perfect as is. Now, that’s not saying I wouldn’t thoroughly enjoy a book written from his POV. But it wasn’t needed. Stephanie Perkins does such a fantastic job of writing a teenage girl perspective that I had absolutely no problem believing it.
“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”
Because this was an audiobook, I feel I have to touch on the narrator. She was perfect. She sounded just as I imagined Anna when I first read the book. She did a fantastic job with all of the different voices and accents. I found myself taking the long way home or spending extra time running errands, just so I could listen to more of this book. I swear, I had a big goofy smile on my face for almost the entire book. If you like lighthearted, whimsical contemporary young adult books, you will likely find yourself in the same position if you pick this one up. And you really should. You won’t be disappointed.