Friday, December 17, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Oh!! This one is a fun one. Yes, yes, it is!

First off, if you’re anything like me, you wrote this book off based on the title and cover. Still not sure why Dutton decided to err to the side of bland/not special/sorta stereotypical instead of appealing to us, fabulous, smart readers this book just YEARNS for. So what I’m asking you to do is to put it back on your holiday shopping list. You NEED this book. It is SPARKLY. (Although I promise you’ll get something more substantive than that in just a sec.)

Anna’s bestselling author of commercial fiction father decides he needs to look more cultured to the world at large, so he forces a year of The School of America in Paris down her throat. Yes, forces. Unlike you, me, and pretty much every other girl in the planet, Anna isn’t sure about this. Not when her crush has the potential to be something more. Not when she has a fantastic job. Not when she’s got friends. Think about it. Would you want to spend a year abroad in a place where you don’t speak the language, when everything in your life is going perfectly?

That’s right about where she was. But no matter—she’s being forced, remember?

So when she gets there and bawls her eyes out when her parents leave her at SOAP (love this), a girl knocks on her door and is pretty nice and awesome and that’s Meredith for you. (Couldn’t help thinking of The Office Meredith every time. Not a good picture.) She quickly finds herself situated in Meredith’s group of friends—wherein a guy named St. Clair is also located.

Three inches shorter than her and possibly all the more charismatic for it, St. Clair is just…wow. And that’s when the plot thickens. Because although her heart races, and although it’s obviously something special, and although THEY. ARE. SO. PERFECT. FOR. EACH. OTHER--

He has a girlfriend. She has a love interest back in the States. Neither wants to rock the boat, and neither wants to let go.

All this is the makings for my third favorite romance book ever (behind these two). Now we’ll get to the why.

You know how we’re always talking about how YA books have that tendency to make love based on looks pass off as something normal, or love based on the author’s insistence that love exists even when it clearly doesn’t, or some weird mixture of the two? You know how it’s almost always said too soon or without reason?

Guys. Their friendship is just—wow. You know? Think that person you just connected with. Think the closest thing to a soul connection. Now imagine that coming off the page so strongly, imagine it seems like they’re your friends and you’re the third wheel.

And here’s the hallelujah for friends first.

I loved how this novel handled things. Honestly, it’s truly and divinely romantic, in a subtle way that goes about without trying to acknowledge itself. This is just the best sort of feel-good book that inspires you and makes your heart long for the feelings it brings, so much so that it aches. I couldn’t get it out of my head—not St. Clair, not Anna, and not their story, which is meritorious of all the praise for it’s received.

If you like romance, if you like contemporary, if you’ve lost your faith in love in books, then this one’s for you.

And here’s a bonus reason to check out the book: Anna’s father is totally Nicholas Sparks and Ms. Perkins did something REALLY clever there, which, if you disliked this interview as much as I did, you’ll appreciate.

Also—Stephanie! Namesake! And Perkins! As in perk-ins!

I love a good name.

Anyway, A.

Who’s waiting for Lola and the Boy Next Door?! You gotta love Julie Strauss-Gabel’s (the editor) taste in books. The woman never fails.

Dutton Dec 2, 2010 372 pages IndieBound GoodReads Author Website (No excerpt!)
Bought (Kindle eBook)


bermudaonion said...

I'm glad to see this is so good. I grabbed it when they had it free for the Kindle.

Khy said...

This book is amazing, St. Clair is my love forever and always, etc.

Unknown said...

I'm getting this book for Christmas this year, and I seriously can't wait to read. Especially now that it's gotten the seal of approval from you. Great review!

Steph said...

Lauren -- and is it ever. WOW. Loved! Seriously, put it at the top of your list. It's just so incredibly feel-good. Nothing says holiday cheer like Stephanie Perkins!

BookChic said...

I loved this book too and just finished it last night and my review is up now. Glad to hear you loved it too! :) Also, I've missed you and your reviews!!

Also, what are your 2 favorite romances ahead of this one? The link isn't there.

Steph said...

Boothy - thanks! And I added the link. It's here, too: ;)

Connie Onnie said...

Isn't it just perfection!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Oh, I'm totally crushing on this book. Yes-HUGE hallelujah for the friends first in this book. The friendship is amazing and the relationship grows throughout the book and not only do the characters fall in love, you fall in love with them. And I loved the Nicholas Sparks jabs-too funny and made me love the book even that much more!:)

Ali :) said...

Oh my goodness! YAY! You're back! What an excellent review! It sounds like something I should get stuck right into. I'm so, so, so glad to see you posting again!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, my dear Steph! :)

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I wrote this book off too based on the title and stuff. THANK GOD I listened to blogging friends because this book was perfection. I loved it, wanted to marry it, and have its babies.

Btw, glad to see you back!

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph