Seventeen-year-old Anna couldn’t be more equipped for her senior year. She has Bridge, her fun and quirky best friend, Toph, her co-worker and new love interest, and the perfect starter job for a film buff at the local movie theater. But in an attempt to show he has some class to go with his bestselling sappy author status Anna’s father has announced that she will be moving to Paris to attend SOAP (The School of America in Paris) instead. Although she misses home, Anna’s lucky enough to fall into an awesome group of friends, which includes insta-crush Etienne St. Clair, the American born, half-French, British-raised hottie of the school, who just so happens to have a long-time girlfriend. As Anna and Etienne quickly become friends over the course of a year full of romantic misunderstandings and misassumptions, Anna tries not to think that her wishes might come true. But in the City of Light, anything could happen.
With its oo la la European/romantic premise, hyped state in the blogosphere, and my cautious (okay, more like wussy) nature I was understandably a little hesitant to pick Anna and the French Kiss up. As the positive reviews started to fill my reader however, I let myself believe, just a little bit, that it could be all it was pimped out to be. So even though come release day I was feeling a little slumpy reading-wise, I went for it when a copy was so thoughtfully sent my way, and there was no looking back.
It was not only the enchantingly authentic Paris that had me from the first page but the pitch-perfect voice of Anna. She’s sarcastic, brutally honest, and full of the angsty teenage insecurities that everyone’s been through. I enjoyed being in her overanalytic, unsure mind. The back book blurb by YA author Justina Chen Headley is spot on: “but-does-he-like-me?!” was perfectly captured in this book. I found this whole approach completely refreshing amongst the many love or lust-at-first-sight YA romances. It was a fun ride to see Anna and Etienne grow from acquaintances to best friends and potential lovers. I love a slow buildup with plenty of witty conversation, chance encounters, and just plain ole hanging out, and this had it all. I could say a lot more but I won’t because it’s hard to do this book justice, and many others have already said it better.
An incredibly sweet story, smile-inducing humor, an endearing protagonist, and the perfect charming and stylish nice guy? You can’t ask for much more. Let’s just say I’ll be there in a year for the first companion book to Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door.
P.S. Also, random thought, Anna and the French Kiss was born during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). So all the aspiring blogger writers out there, be inspired and keep on going.