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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review for Anna and the French Kiss

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by Stephanie Perkins
Published December 2nd 2010 
Published by Dutton
Strangemore Rating: 5 stars


Anna is not happy about spending senior year at a Paris boarding school, away from her Atlanta home, best friend Bridgette, and crush Toph. Adapting isn’t easy, but she soon finds friends and starts enjoying French life, especially its many cinemas; she is an aspiring film critic. Complications arise, though, when she develops feelings for cute—and taken—classmate Etienne, even though she remains interested in Toph. Her return home for the holidays brings both surprises, betrayals, unexpected support, and a new perspective on what matters in life—and love. Featuring vivid descriptions of Parisian culture and places, and a cast of diverse, multifaceted characters, including adults, this lively title incorporates plenty of issues that will resonate with teens, from mean girls to the quest for confidence and the complexities of relationships in all their forms. Despite its length and predictable crossed-signal plot twists, Perkins’ debut, narrated in Anna’s likable, introspective voice, is an absorbing and enjoyable read that highlights how home can refer to someone, not just somewhere. Grades 9-12. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Holy St Clair, hypothetical Batman!

This book put me in a whole new state of consciousness. It put me in the life of Anna. It took me straight to Paris and I never looked back.

When I get desperately into the groove of a book, I literally (okay, fine, figuratively) transform into a hermit crab.

I curl up so tight in the shell of my blanket in that special nook carved out in my chair, so tight that everything else melts away. It's just me and the blanket and the book. Just me and my shell. The world blurs and every word on the page comes more into focus than anything around me. It is the ultimate escape. The ultimate getaway. However, I have to make sure that I have everything I might need somewhere close by, because if I can't reach it while I'm in my shell, then I don't get it.

This is exactly the kind of book that I would consider peeing in a cup for (not that I did that or anything, just sayin'). It's really THAT addictive.

The Rundown

The synopsis of this book is fairly straight forward. Girl goes to boarding school in the City of Love and falls for a charming guy and he just so happens to be the last guy she should have fallen for. Dramarama and hilarity ensue.

While this is a fairly PG or PG-13 book, the tension between the two main characters is palpable. I used to think that true tension, capable of thickening the air around you, required a book series to develop properly. I didn't think it could be done within a standalone book. I was so, so wrong.

The Writing

This book is..... Cutesy. Everything Anna does and says is adorable. If that kind of thing bothers you, then it might not be for you. While I can often be Captain Sarcastic, I am also the cornball capital of America. So the cheese in this book didn't bother me at all.

Really, it's a total cheesefest. Oh, and it's also very ANGSTY with a capital everything. But in the best way.

This woman completely nails EVERY aspect of having a teenage crush. How the littlest detail can spark an intense puppy love. The awkwardness of being so close to someone you want to JUMP but can't. They way your heart races at the slightest touch, be it the brush of a hand or the nudge of a foot.

Pretty much: she's amazing. I would read the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Quran all in one day if they were written by Stephanie Perkins.

PS, Stephanie - Callipygian is my favorite new word.

The Characters

Don't EVEN get me started on our love interest, Etienne St Clair. Sigh.

But Anna, oh Anna. With your raisin-sized tooth gap and your skunk-striped hair. Wait a tic... Oh my GOD. I'm freaking out. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss is totally ROGUE. Wow.



Let's see:
The gap between the front teeth? Check.
Brunette with a white streak? Check.
Can't hook up with the guy she wants to hook up with? Check. Granted it's for different reasons than the fact that she might kill him. Still.

And guess what the name of the actress who plays Rogue is. That's right. AN-freaking-NA! Rogue is played by Anna Paquin! Holy shiz!! What a coinkydink. (Woooohoooo my autopredict knows the word coinkydink. That's a hell of an accomplishment right there.)

The Verdict

This is one of those kinds of books, one that I can groove with. I grooved so hard with this book that at some point near the middle, for a split second, I actually considered calling my poor poor better-half on his cell phone and asking him to bring me a glass of water, even though I knew he was asleep in the other room. I KNOW!! But I only considered it for a teeny tiny split second and then thought "Damn, this book is making me crazy."

To be honest, I hadn't had that experience in a loooooong time. I hadn't felt this in way too long. By "this", I mean that desperate need to consume every inch of a book in one sitting. Your eyes blink with sleep, but you will not let them close. You can't imagine being in a state of NOT reading the book. You inhale it feverishly like a starved animal, and when it's over, you can't believe it. Full and content with happiness yet you still crave more, even though there isn't any.

So, let's see now... It's an entirely addictive romance in Paris starring a non-celibate Rogue and a hot guy with a British accent. Do you really need me to say it? FIVER.

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