Book Review: Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

As a writer of contemporary romance, my books are written for adults, but I occasionally dip into other waters as a reader. I ran across Anna and The French Kiss, a YA, while randomly looking for something interesting to occupy my down time. It is my habit–in the manner of yore when readers browsed through brick-and-mortar bookstores–to dip into the first pages of a book. I do mostly e-books now and I’m not ashamed to say I download samples.

Because I’d read a little of this book, I knew I liked Ms. Perkin’s style. I love language and I sink right into stories by authors who use it well. I was also snagged immediately by the heroine’s plight. Anna, a teen finishing high school, has been sent away to a boarding school in Paris that caters to an English-speaking student body. Anna’s father has written several books–which don’t impress her–and these were made into movies. She doesn’t want to finish high school in a foreign country or to leave her mother, younger brother and her friends in the states.

She also doesn’t speak French.

I enjoyed the natural characterization in this book. Ms. Perkins drew a variety of characters well and she did it with apparent ease. I could see these people. I liked watching Anna cope successfully with her challenges, despite the bumps she faced along the way, and I enjoyed her developing relationship with St. Clair, the cute boy everybody likes.

I’d certain recommend this refreshing book to anyone who likes romance-among-the-real. The characters leap vividly to life and the situations play out naturally. My only quibble is that St. Clair’s struggle to deal with his feelings for Anna seem to drag on a tad. However, the boy is dealing with a crappy father and with his mom having cancer, so we should cut him some slack.

A charming well-written tale overall, Anna and The French Kiss is worth your time.

 

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