Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is the first Romance novel I've ever read.  The closest thing before this book would be the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and those have waaaayyyy too much going on to be considered straight-up Romance.

So what did I think?  It was great!  A young woman (Anna) get shipped off to boarding school for her senior year of high school.  And it's in Paris.  But the school is for American kids.  This is upsetting because all of her friends are back home, including the guy she has a crush on.

But then she meets THE BOY.  And drama ensues.

I recently read a twitter post from an agent (can't remember who) that basically said, "YA should NOT be filled with whiny, angsty teens.  If this is how you see YA, then you don't know teenagers very well."  I have to be honest: based on some of my experiences with (bad) YA and with some teenagers (it wasn't that long ago that I WAS a teenager, and I worked in a mall, so I saw some of the worst and best of the age-group), I expected there to be some whiny angst.  But there isn't any!

There IS humor!  And well-written dialogue.  And the setting descriptions are gorgeous!  I've never been to Paris, but the way Perkins described the city made feel like I was actually there.  AND it made me want to visit.

Perkins' characters are well-rounded, three-dimensional people.  They have problems that I had in high school.  They have feelings that I FELT in high school.  In fact, I felt myself flashing back to those days so often that I want to reread this book before I send it back to the library.  And then I want to go out and BUY all of her books and read them over and over again!

Now I'm gonna get "girly" on you.  I am a hopeless romantic.  At least, I WAS hopeless until I got up the nerve to ask my wife to marry me.  I enjoy romantic movies that aren't about dumb people who have misunderstandings over stupid things like... I don't know... the man is working late, the secretary has a crush on him, but he's TOTALLY faithful to his wife, but when the wife brings him a late dinner, she catches the secretary trying to clean spilled coffee off of his shirt in a manner that suggests something ELSE is going on, so the wife gets mad at him and he spends the next two hours of movie time trying to fix a relationship that's only broken because the wife is too stupid to find out what ACTUALLY happened and the man is too proud to make her listen.

This story is nothing like that.  There are misunderstandings, but the characters GROW as human beings as a result!

But more importantly: they get experience romance!  And while some of the feelings are shallow (who doesn't have shallow feelings for someone now and then?) there's more to it than that.  Because, like I said, the characters are GREAT!

I see that I'm rambling, now, so I'm going to end this review here.


  1. Giles,
    Glad you found a romance novel that you liked. It's rare for men to read them, but there's no reason that has to be so. And I'm stuck in adolescence, so I love most things YA.

    Good review, cheers.

    1. Working in a book store for several years turned me off to Romance because I learned all of the bad, inaccurate stereotypes about the genre (it's "lady-porn" for women who treat their husbands like crap because they're not perfect like the guys in those books, so they read those books to get fulfillment, which only turns into a vicious cycle... WAY off from reality, I know). But I heard great things about several romance novels, and some of the books I've consumed lately have strong romance elements in them. I decided I wanted to check out the genre. And I was NOT disappointed. :D

  2. I really need to move this book up in my tbr pile--everyone has raved about it! And, yeah, I enjoy some romance at times too :)