Anna and the French Kiss Paperback – 29 Jan 2014
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About the Author
Stephanie Perkins (www.stephanieperkins.com) lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
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[Originally read in June 2014]
Oh, I forgot how much I loved this book.
I’ve must have said this a thousand times in my reading life (that being all my life), but I am not a fan of cheesy love stories. At all. So you can only imagine how much I originally held off from reading this book because UGH, the title is so cringey.
So you can also imagine my surprise when I fell in love with this story.
And for the second time, it happened again.
Right from the start you can tell this is a quick read. I mean, it’s a contemporary, with a typical light and fluffy love story, so it’s bound to be a quick read anyway. But the story is told through Anna’s voice, with the chatty storytelling really shining through. There’s also a lot of dialogue, most being witty or full of humour, so it’s very easy to get caught up in the pages. Even though I’d read it before and knew just how quick I could read this book (I read it in one sitting the first time round), I thought having college work would slow me down. And it did…but it still only took me a couple of days to read. Despite me being a slow reader, and the book being 400 pages.
Now, I can’t really say I relate to Anna’s situation. Moving to a boarding school in Paris? Can’t say I’ve done that, personally. But I somehow feel like it’s done realistically, even though I don’t have any personal experiences to compare with. She seemed as nervous and frightened as I can imagine myself being in the same situation, when being left alone in an entirely new country. She was frustrated, hopeless, resentful…and yet dealt with it in the exact same way I believe I would. There was just enough curiosity mixed with nerves. It didn’t become dull to read about at all, because it’s really easy to imagine yourself in her situation.
It actually really bothers me how the synopsis makes it sound like just another love story and “oh he’s already taken whatever shall I do how can our love blossom?!?” because to me it felt like so much more than that. Of course, it IS a love story. It’s not advertised as anything other because that’s simply what it is. But like I said before, I don’t usually like love stories unless they’re mixed with an epic fantasy story or something similar, so for me to adore this one? Well, there must be something about it.
I laughed so many times during this book. And I don’t mean the slight breathing-extra-air-through-your-nose type laugh. I mean full on tried-to-hold-it-in-but-failed chuckling that would have me trying to conceal my smile in public so I didn’t look odd type laugh. I don’t even know what it was. The characters just seemed to have the exact same sense of humour as me, and witty conversations always win me over.
“Girl scouts didn’t teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys.”
Oh, and I suppose it helps that I absolutely adored all of the characters.
Important factor right there.
Another important factor for me…NO CRINGE WORTHY LINES THAT MADE ME WANT TO SHRIVEL UP AND THROW THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM!!! A blessing in disguise.
At times this book was adorable, funny, awkward, adventurous, infuriating in the best way possible, and honestly – to use one of those very well used phrases – a real rollercoaster of emotions. There were many times I wanted to slam the book shut and sulk about the situations like a child who didn’t get their way…but then I knew I wouldn’t be able to just leave it there, so I’d just mutter “noooo” under my breath painfully and carry on. There were times I wanted to squeal like a very stereotypical fangirl, and I’d have to clench my teeth together to avoid it. Times when I’d want to facepalm on behalf of the characters, feeling embarrassed for their awkwardness or missed opportunities.
And to put it simply?
I just loved this book. Even more so the second time round.
characters from the first two books casually stroll through the pages of the whole series making you wonder what will be around the next corner.
I felt It was a little silly at first that the world would never be too small for something like this to happen but since moving to america from the uk myself it feels strangely true.
I re-read these books as often as I can I have them both in paperback and in e-book format meaning I can read wherever I am. I tend to dip in and out of the books out of sequence and isla has become a firm favorite, she reminds me so much of myself and even though I'm a little older (22) the things she is going through in the book I went through recently (such as the big move on my own) the books are a great read if you want something easy but meaningful
Isla, like Anna, goes to the boarding school for Americans in Paris with her best friend, Kurt and has been in love with Josh for as long as she can remember. However, until recently Josh had always had a girlfriend, and they had only had four very awkward interactions. The two go on several dates and spend a great deal of time together and become a couple, in-love, very quickly. Whilst I do have a problem with "I looked at him and I was in love" kind of instalove, I didn't feel as though Josh and Isla were like that. I've read some reviews that disagree, but I feel as though the relationship, whilst moving quickly, was realistic as they spent almost everyday together and we saw their feelings grow.
I recently read a review on Goodreads, where the writer discusses the reasons he didn't like this book. I hate to admit that my opinion has been influenced by somebody else, but in this case, his words on the character development (or lack there of) left me considering this for a while after I had finished reading. He was right - Isla didn't have much of a personality or hobbies, as her life seemed to revolve around Josh and their relationship.
Whilst on the topic of characters, I feel as though Kurt was merely a tool for Stephanie Perkins to show that Isla had more depth. Their relationship could have been built up a lot more and we could have seen more of Kurt's personality - rather than it just being focused on his autism. Despite this, I did really like this book and it's probably my second favourite of the three books, after Anna and before Lola. Stephanie Perkins will always be an auto-buy author for me since her writing just makes me feel comfortable and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.