17 February 2011
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I would normally say I'm not into cheesy YA chick lit. I don't have an abundance of Meg Cabot or Kate Brian or Sarah Dessen under my belt...because they don't particularly interest me. So, why did I pick up this book? Because I saw it on NPR Books.
In a somewhat stereotypical storyline, Anna is sent to boarding school (against her will) in Paris (because obviously just being in Paris breeds culture). There, she meets a cast of friends and enemies and instantly falls for the cutest guy there...who is (obviously) taken. Anna is not too impressed with Paris and French culture to begin with...not until Etienne swoops in and shows here around. While she learns to embrace French culture (particularly through classic movies at French theaters), she is also quickly and totally falling for Etienne. I won't ruin the ending here, but let's just say that Etienne is quite reluctant to leave his steady girlfriend and much conflict ensues.
So, my intro may have seemed less than optimistic about this one, but I have to admit that I loved it! The storyline may seem nondescript but Perkins has created a fantastic story that really sucks you in and doesn't let you put the book down until you are done. The ups and downs, joys and disappointments, are all themes that readers of any age can relate to. While this novel may be about teen love, it resonates as a story of true love--where love is won on a battlefield. So there you have it: no vampires, werewolves, faeries, dragons--real characters, a real story, and a fantastic read.