Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Posted June 7, 2013 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 24 Comments

Anna and the French KissTitle: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher:  Dutton

Release Date: December 2, 2010
Pages: 372, Hardcover
Goodreads Rating: 4.19 stars
My Rating: 4/5 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 Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?


Okay, so I’ve been reading so many dystopian/paranormal novels lately that I felt like I needed to take a little break and read something lighter.  And everywhere I turn lately I’ve been hearing about Anna and the French Kiss.  I mean it seemed like it was on every blogger’s “Top 10” list or “Best Of” list for something (even best cover, which I have to disagree with – this cover did nothing to draw me to the book – but I digress).  So, I decided I needed to read it so that I could see for myself what everyone was talking about.

And the verdict?  Yep, I can definitely see why everyone loves it.  It was the perfect light romance book with tons of scenes that made my heart flutter.  When I put the book down, I had to immediately go and check Goodreads to see what the status of the sequels was.  Not that this book felt like it needed sequels – it was a great standalone, but I knew that there were sequels, so I had to go check up on them.  [UPDATE: The next two books are really more “companion novels” than sequels].  My heart dropped when I saw that the third book won’t be coming out for almost a year.  Way to make us suffer!  So, you can tell that I’m obviously hooked.

In case I’m not the absolute last person to read this book and you don’t know what it’s about, here’s the basic plot:  Anna is sent off to boarding school in France for her senior year of high school.  She is less than thrilled, but she quickly becomes a bit happier about the situation when she meets Etienne St. Clair.  He is amazingly handsome, sweet and funny, but he has a serious girlfriend, so Anna has to content herself with best friend status.  Except that they are closer than friends, constantly teetering on that line between friendship and “something else”.  

What I wasn’t crazy about (yes, there were a few things):

  • It’s formulaic.  Yep, it follows the typical teen romance formula.  Boy meets girl.  Girl falls for boy, but there is something keeping them apart.  Girl eventually gets boy (oh, come on – I’m really not spoiling anything here).  Still, call it formulaic if you wish, but the formula works for a reason.  I was entranced the whole way through.
  • Misunderstandings.  I know that there has to be the “thing” that keeps the couple apart, but it always bugs me when that thing is just that the characters won’t talk to each other and just say how they feel already and there are these misunderstandings that keep them apart.  The end of the book started to veer in this direction a bit, but it didn’t last too long, so it didn’t ruin the story for me.
  • Anna’s jealousy.  I’m actually not talking about her jealousy in regards to Etienne.  That was perfectly understandable in my opinion.  I’m referring to her jealousy of her best friend back home.  I won’t say exactly what provoked this jealousy because that would be a spoiler, but I will say that I didn’t like Anna’s reaction to it or how she completely shut her best friend out.  The jealousy didn’t even really make all that much sense to me in the first place.  Luckily, this was redeemed for me later when Anna comes to some realizations about her personality – so it actually turned out to be great character growth, but I was frustrated with Anna for part of the book over this.

What I loved:

  • The character development.  I really loved all of the characters in this book (all of the ones I was supposed to love, at least).  I think that Perkins did an excellent job of developing not just the main characters, but also the supporting characters and I really believed in their friendships.  This is a major positive for me because I hate it when only the main character and the love interest are fully developed and everyone else is background noise.
  • The love story.  Well, okay, duh?!  This pretty much goes without saying because that’s what the book is all about, but I just had to talk about it a little more.  I was thrilled that, while Anna was definitely attracted to Etienne from the beginning, it wasn’t complete insta-love.  We got to fall in love with Etienne right along with her.  I also loved that they had a believable friendship with both humorous moments and sweet moments.  I totally ached for Anna throughout much of the book as she tried to deal with her tumultuous feelings to Etienne.  Yep, my heart and gut did flip flops throughout much of the book – a sure sign that a romantic novel is doing it’s job!
  • Um, the book?  Okay, I feel like I need to put something else here so that my negative points don’t outweigh my positives – it is definitely the other way around.  But, most of my positives can be summed up in my last two points, so I’m struggling with coming up with another good one.  Oh, wait, the writing – I thought the writing was excellent and compelling.  There.

So, overall, I thought that Anna and the French Kiss was an excellent read.  I will definitely be reading the sequels.  4/5 Stars.



24 responses to “Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  1. This book! I love it. It is seriously one of my favorite books of all time and the one I turn to for re-reads when I’m book slumping. It always makes me happy when people pick it up for the first time. Lola and the Boy Next Door is a great read, too. The characters are related in a small way to Anna and Etienne, but I don’t know why they call it a “sequel.” Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

    • Now that you say this, I think that I heard Lola and the Boy Next Door referred to as a “companion book” rather than a sequel. On Goodreads it’s listed as Anna and the French Kiss #2, so I just called it a sequel.

  2. So happy you ended up loving this! LOLA is more a companion and each stand alone well. But yeah, I read LOLA right before it came out (I won an ARC) and it’s been almost 2 years. *sigh* I hate waiting but I think it will be worth it! Great review! 🙂

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    • I definitely did love it! Funny – I just wrote back to Natalie that it was a companion novel, not really a sequel and then came down and read your reply saying the same thing. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the review, I bought this book but haven’t read it yet mainly because I wasn’t sure if i’d love it or not and I had too many others to read. I’m glad I got your take on it, thanks!

  4. Amazing and honest review. I have been reading so many wonderful things about this book and I cannot wait to read it. I definitely have this one on my TBR list. Thanks again.

  5. I love this book! I’ve read it for several times already. I agree with you that it has the same storyline as the other teen romances- boy meets girl and the like. But there’s something different about it, maybe the writing, that really get me into the book.
    Great review!

  6. I really like your reviews. I can’t write reviews like this. My brain doesn’t work this way. But I like the way yours works haha. I think I’ll give this a shot 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliment! This is funny because I’ve actually been recently thinking about writing a “Let’s Discuss” post about review style and content because I’ve been playing with mine. I like bullet points with the good and bad because I feel like people can easily see what I’m trying to say.

  7. Debbie

    I was unsure whether or not I wanted to read this book… Like you the cover did nothing if not actually put me off the book. I love my contemp romances but cliche or boring covers can really be the deciding factor on whether or not I want to read. Saying all that though mostly everyone seem sto love the story and people say it’s a perfect book if you’re looking for a light contemp romance read which is never short on my list so I’m looking forward to giving this one a go.

  8. John Smith

    I find the title kind of gross because “French kisses” are kind of ooky, but this does sound like a fun and entertaining formulaic book!

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