Anna and the French Kiss - published 2011
"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?" - Goodreads
Realistic Fiction, Romance
Love, relationships, friendship, family, communication
WHAT I LIKED
It would be easy to be critical of this book, if I were reviewing an adult work of contemporary fiction, but I am not. I am reviewing a YA love story. So, I will review it as such.
St. Clair is cute; I mean, he's cute in my head anyway. Sure, he's the stereotypical desirable male lead with his shaggy hair, ability to speak French, his love for books and cleanliness and his British accent, but it's forgivable because he also messes up a lot. He isn't as perfect as he seems. I like that. He's a teenager; if he's going to (spoiler) profess his never-ending love, I want him to have had some typical adolescent mistakes that led him there.
The setting reminded me a lot of Roseblood, which is one of my favorite YA retellings. I love the idea of a protagonist away from her family, on her own in a big city, having her own dorm room and having to figure out life on her own. Parents are so often missing in YA lit; sending your kid to boarding school happens so much more in contemporary lit than in real life. I don't know a single person who has been sent away to boarding school, but it happens all of the time in the books I read. It must be an easy way for authors to explain the lack of parental guidance.
The friend group seemed the most real to me. Anna is sort of weak and unable to see how her actions are affecting others, unintentionally selfish. St. Clair is frustrating in how he is leading two girls on. However, the friend group is awesome. Meredith and her not-so-secret crush and how upset she gets with Anna for being dishonest, Josh and his acting out because everyone is soon leaving him, and Rashmi and her immediate resistance to accepting a newcomer into their already well-established friend group is realistic to me.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
Anna is a self-proclaimed film buff who aspires to write reviews for her future career. Cool. Except she didn't know Paris would have movie theatres? C'mon, girl.
(Spoiler) I know the readers want a happy ending, and so do I, but it really bothers me when an author has a 17-18 year old teenager say things like, "I'll never stop loving you." I know high school romances can last, but they're the exception, not the norm. I would have much rather had them say, "I love you so much". Too cliche for me.
She calls her little brother "Seany" and I think that's stupid.
*Side note* it took me up until this point in my life, when I read this book, to realize in England they call our version of soccer football because you play it with your foot. What is actually wrong with us Americans? We dumb.