Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review: Anna and the French Kiss (Perkins)

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AUTHOR: Stephanie Perkins
SERIES: Anna and the French Kiss, book one
PUBLISHER: Dutton
PUBLICATION DATE: December 2, 2010
ISBN: 9780525423270
PAGES: 372
SOURCE: public library Overdrive
GENRE: romance/chick lit
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS
SUMMARY: Anna Oliphant was excited about her upcoming senior year--until her romance novelist father decided to send her spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris, France. Anna doesn't speak French and knows next-to-nothing about France. She's got a life back home in Atlanta--a loyal best friend and a potential romance that has barely had time to get started. But things in Paris start to look up when she meets some new friends, including the gorgeous Etienne St. Clair, a British-American boy with a very steady girlfriend.

REVIEW: There are lots of positive reviews out there for this one, and I concur with most of the reviews I've seen. This is a super-cute, readable romance with likeable characters, a beautiful Paris setting, and lots and lots of French language and food.

I thoroughly enjoyed Anna, which reminded me of a teen St. Elmo's Fire. You have a cast of five friends, all of whom live in the same co-ed dormitory at an international boarding school. Along the way, they fall in love and break up, lose and find their way, and deal with life and family problems and growing up. I liked all the characters--they are all developed as individuals with lives and problems of their own.

Above all, I rooted for Anna. She's very real and though she is lost at times, I think many readers will identify with her strength in the face of self-doubt and betrayal. Though she isn't perfect, Anna is a loyal friend who tries hard to do the right thing. She sometimes trusts the wrong people or allows others to influence her thoughts and actions. Anna feels like a friend whose story I didn't want to end.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Utterly charming. It's a can't-miss for romance readers.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I just ordered it. This was one I wanted to read first since it is reviewed more for high school, but honestly, I don't see anything in this book that most middle schoolers can't handle.

READALIKES: This Is What Happy Looks Like and The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight (Smith), Endless Summer (Echols)

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: medium--five fu**, 13 shi*, bastard, slut
  • Sexuality: medium--references to sex and virginity (nothing described), some sexually active characters, slut-shaming, reference to "boner", male and female friends sleep in same bed (without sex), some mild kissing, mention of condoms
  • Violence: mild--fighting, mean girls
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium--legal teen drinking (it's France), teens get drunk and vomit/have hangovers, a few references to adults smoking
  • Other: use of term "Dyke" and reference to homosexuality


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