Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins

I read a teen romance.


I do not normally read pure romances of any kind, because I firmly believe that it's not a real story unless someone is trying to kill you, but after hearing all my GR friends rave about this book and then stumbling across it at the library, I decided to give it a try. And honestly, it wasn't awful. It was cute, mostly. Aside from the times when I was absolutely overwhelmed by fourteen seventeen-year-old drama, it wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. However, I apologize in advance for the facetiousness of my review. Keep in mind that I really didn't hate this book, this is just how I feel when confronted with this sort of story.

Note: This review will contain spoilers, but they're not really spoilers because, as in all romantic comedies, you know exactly what's going to happen from the very beginning. (Only tangentially related other note: this is why I only go to romcoms when my friends make me. Then I will look at my phone the whole time and think about how I really want to go see Fast Five instead, because even though you pretty much know what's going to happen in that one, too, there are explosions, which always make movies better.) End Note.

For no apparent reason, Anna's father decides to send her to school in Paris. Anna, having friends at home in Atlanta and no knowledge of Français, does not want to go. But when she arrives, she meets a boy, they like each other, yadda yadda yadda. Unfortunately, St Clair (the boy) is dating someone else. Hijinks ensue. They (spoiler) end up together and live happily ever after.

Anna is most definitely fourteen seventeen. She is often melodramatic, overly emotional, insecure, obsessive, and so on. However, she apparently makes up for it somehow by having the Cute Quirk of being a movie buff and also being Extraordinarily Neat. So now she is Interesting and Different From Other Teenage Girls, even though she is constantly freaking out over her minor problems. She has completely disproportionate reactions to things that happen to her, like her best friend going out with her former crush back in Atlanta, while she was lusting after another guy who was seriously dating another girl. She finally has a sort of "aha!" moment, months later, but really, how does she miss that they are the Exact Same Thing, only hers is worse?

I really did have a problem with that whole situation. (A real problem, and not just me complaining about the nature of the romance genre.) There's no evidence that Ellie was a terrible person - true, maybe she wasn't the best of friends, but she wasn't a horrible girlfriend or evil in any way. It bothers me that this book was based on breaking up an existing relationship. It was probably going to end anyway, but that's not really the point. Everyone handled the situation badly and that's never actually addressed, other than St Clair telling Anna he messed up. But then everything is okay, because it is a Romance and that is how Romances work.

Most of the characters were your usual Cardboard Cutouts - the Loyal Friend, the Mean Girl, That Weird Guy With A Crush (and what was that whole thing about, anyway?), the Couple, etc. There wasn't really any adult supervision in their lives (which was another thing I found hard to believe), so parental figures were mainly present in their absence, except when they popped in to Mess Up Their Children's Lives, which is the only thing parents do. And I already talked about how Anna was completely Girl Next Door, and of course St Clair is entirely perfect, except for his inability to break up with his girlfriend, but even that is excusable, because he is Suffering a Terrible Tragedy and his father is Evil Incarnate.

On the bright side, there were plenty of sweet moments, and funny ones too. Like I said, it was a cute story, in the end, and I imagine that if you are a fan of romances, you will like this book. Personally, I was waiting for Anna to find out she was a witch and that St Clair grew fur and howled at the full moon, or at least for someone to get kidnapped or possibly involved in some sort of mafia conflict, but it's possible that I may be biased.

Quality: Fair
Enjoyability: Fair


  1. I'm surprised at this review! Thanks for the honesty! :)

    stop by my review of Fever?!

  2. Wow - someone else who felt the same way as I did about Anna. It was cute just not up to the hype.

    But since it was a quick easy read I did follow it up with Lola and really enjoyed Lola.


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