Genre: Contemporary/ Romance
Published: Dec 2010
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads): 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 Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
Anna and the French Kiss is a completely addictive love story that made me laugh, tear up, and get frustrated right alongside Anna. I could not put this book down and wish I had read it sooner. It did not disappoint!
Anna and the French Kiss starts with Anna being sent to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. While I understood why she was upset, I also wanted to shake her for being so mad about it. A year in Paris paid for by your parents?! You always say yes. But after her initial meltdown when her mom leaves, she starts warming up to the idea of Paris. She finds some friends, all of whom I liked, and they pull her out of her shell and introduce her to the city. One of her new friends, Etienne St. Clair, is the boy everyone likes. Including Anna. But St. Clair has a girlfriend and so they remain just friends. As the school year comes to an end, though, they've all been put through a lot, and not just the ups and downs of high school friendships. What will they have learned during their senior year and how will their relationships change? Will Anna leave Paris feeling the same way she did when she got there? The journey they all take is definitely worth reading.
As a main character and narrator, I am a fan of Anna. Even when she was dealing with being displaced, she never came off as overly whiny or annoying. And while it's sometimes hard to stomach problems like being sent to Paris, I never disliked her for being upset. She was honest about her feelings and reasons for them and I liked her for that. As the boy in the book, I liked Etienne St. Clair. He was great for Anna, except that he had a girlfriend. And I did not like that he strung Anna along for as long as he did. He obviously had feeling for her, so dump the girlfriend already and stop being so cryptic with Anna! But he had a lot going on in his life and he was a good friend to Anna otherwise, so I forgave him. As Anna does. Another bonus: both Anna and Etienne have more depth to them than I think is normally seen in contemporary romance novels. The secondary characters are also nicely developed. The friends Anna leaves behind in Atlanta and the new friends she meets in Paris all play important roles in her development throughout the book. It was refreshing to see so many real characters in one book.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss. I'm not usually a big fan of YA contemporary romance because they can get really fluffy and unrealistic. But this book changed my mind. The characters were relatable and honest, the book had more depth than just the usual boy-meets-girl-instalove stuff, and it was full of all kinds of emotions! I'll be looking into the companion books next: Lola and the Boy Next Door (pub 2011) and Isla and the Happily Ever After (pub 2013). I give Anna and the French Kiss 5 stars.