Thursday, December 9, 2010

J'adore Anna and the French Kiss

I had a blog post half written for you when the battery on my laptop died. But I couldn’t plug in the charger because the charger exploded a few minutes ago. I was sitting on my bed, working, when I heard a little pop and smelled something burning. I didn’t want it to be anything, so I assumed it was just the heater. Stuff like that can be kind of wonky, right? Then I shifted the pillow beneath my leg and discovered the charger lying beneath it now looks like a melty block of black cheese in a heat wave. WHICH. is why my laptop battery ran out. Because it wasn’t being charged, see.

So, if my Bookanista review sucks bananas, I blame it on the almost fire that totally could have burned up my house (I will say nothing about the new BURN spot on my bedding). And the fact that my blog writing program does not work on my husband’s laptop for some shitrocious reason, and I CAN’T WRITE ON BLOGGER TO SAVE MY LIFE ROTTEN BLOGGER WHY CAN’T YOU LET LINKS OPEN IN ANOTHER WINDOW YOU MEATHEAD WEASELLY PIECE OF TOADYWART.

I’m just kidding I love you Blogger don’t close my account muah muah muah here’s a cookie.

Before I forget, be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending today:

 Christine Fonseca and Elana Johnson recommend THE WRITERS GUIDE TO PSYCHOLOGY
Shannon Messenger raves about DESIRES OF THE DEAD and gives away the ARC
Megan Miranda gushes about REVOLUTION
Lisa and Laura Roecker present a special Guestanista review of PERSONAL DEMONS
Bethany Wiggins also praises ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

by Stephanie Perkins

Goodreads summary: 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 √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. 

The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

My Review

As cute as I think the cover of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is, I don't think it does the book justice.  For one thing, this cover implies that the book is just some sweet, cute little romance about a girl and a boy in Paris. And while it is at times cute--and romantic--and even's so much more than that. For one thing, I laughed like a freak reading this. ANNA has a razor sharp sense of humor that appeals to one's intelligence while still maintaining a youthful world-view. Any book that can make me that smiley must be something special. But it's more than just quick-witted humor, you know? Anna's voice is so strong, so incredibly real. All of her actions and dialogue are consistent with who she is. I would have LOVED to have a friend like Anna--no, check that. I would LOVE to be Anna, just like her, down to the bleached stripe and all. Anna is just so genuinely, so beautifully seventeen. 

Everything about her is spot on, down to the way she views her dad. I mean, at first I thought to myself, okay, the dad is kind of a weaselly dork, but, whatever, people like him are nothing to get upset about. But to a seventeen year old girl like Anna, a dad like hers would feel like a nightmare, and through her eyes, I actually found myself detesting him just as much--talk about brilliant characterization.

What's more, Perkins captures the trials and tribulations of an expat's life so remarkably. I've been an expat, and I can't tell you how many times in reading this I thought, "Yes YES YES! That's what it's like!" I have to believe that Perkins must have actually studied abroad. Anna's Paris was the same Paris I've experienced, down to the nutella-filled crepes and the sticky sweetness of mille-feuille. She even goes to Shakespeare and Co, my favorite book store ever! EXCEPT. Anna's experience was colored by her age, her love of films, and (at first) her fear and resentment (also a sign of excellent characterization). I'll just be upfront with you, if you read this, the first thing you will want to do is plan a trip to Paris. And then you will fantasize what it would be to like to go to school there...and fall in love with a hot English boy. It's just so dang bittersweet because I CANT BE SEVENTEEN AGAIN. And now I want to SO BAD. 

Okay, I'll be honest, the way that √Čtienne St. Claire is described doesn't exactly appeal to my tastes. Which is okay. Cuz I'm an old person. And he's, you know, a teenager. But seeing him through Anna's eyes, it's pretty much impossible not to fall in love with him. He's just so...dreamy. And then Perkins fills every scene with so much live-wire tension (which, honestly, might make you want to shout, OMG, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE THEM A HINT AND CHUCK A CONDOM AT THESE TWO ALREADY!) The romance in AATFK is naturally progressed, but the desire feels so alive, so palpable that it may just make you squirm. But like I said, it's more than just a romance. It's a representation of what it is to be on the cusp of adulthood...the fears and dreams and hopes and embarrassment and sweetness of discovery--all of it reflected in Anna's experience living in a foreign country, which is essentially a perfect analogy for adolescence's evolution ( a journey to a place where you haven't yet learned the customs and may not even speak the language). ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is a smooth read--funny, poignant, full of heart and sexy as all get out.

For the record, mille-feuille

It's freaking unbelievable. I could eat these ALL. DAY. LONG.


One last note: Kimberly Franklin is giving away Sarah Ockler's TWENTY BOY SUMMER and FIXING DELILAH! Check it out! Ends January 1!


  1. Tsk tsk, Carol putting yummy looking food and making everybody's mouths water but not actually giving us the real thing! I already wanted to read Anna and The French Kiss - it's at the top of my wishlist - and your review just makes me want to read it so much more! I'd go over to the bookstore right now while this review is still fresh in my mind and I'm pretending that I don't have a physiology exam to study for but it's 3 AM here and bookstores are closed.

  2. Okay, after all that, I'm exposing my inner nerd to ask what blog writing program you normally use? Blogger has its limitations and I'm curious if I can circumvent them.

    Oh, and I feel you with the charger. My stupid battery cable falls out 1,000 times a day. NO,that is NOT an exaggeration. And the battery only lasts about 90 mins, so without the cable, Vicki is an unhappy girl.

    This one has been on my list for need to convince me, I'm there already.

  3. Sorry to hear about your laptop problems and almost fire, at least it didn't result in any serious damage. Hope you get it fixed soon.

    This book sounds great. Not my normal cup of tea but I'm going to go check it out.
    Thanks x

  4. Hope all of you laptop issues get fixed! Thanks for the great visual image...I'm going to have to check this book out! Thanks!

  5. I've heard so many good things about this book recently. I think I really need to buy it. Thanks for the recommendation! :D

  6. Glad you didn't burn down your house!

  7. I want that for breakfast..
    Anna and the French Kiss sounds so fun! Thanks for the rec!
    And good luck with your melted bedspread!

  8. I am SO EXCITED about all the reviews of this book! I bought it the day it came out(I've been following Stephanie Perkins for a long time now)and I read it with such a fury...
    I'd like to point out that Nate DID throw condoms at them at one point! Which I found hilarious because I'd been waiting. :)
    Great review!

  9. Haha your reviews could NEVER suck bananas :)
    Okay, I think you convinced me. Like you mentioned about the cover, I did think it was a "sweet, cute romance." But now I see the error in my judgement! Adding to list. Thanks!

  10. Julie, wasn't that a great scene? Upon the first mention of the condom bowl, that's what I thought of. I loved that he actually did it!

  11. Blogger opens links in new tabs just fine for me, in Firefox or Chrome, not sure about IE.

    Anyway your post was fine! And Kylie and I will be in touch. She is working with Elana next, but she's always open to new opportunities.

    Could you imagine corresponding with published authors when you were 14? I'm so jealous of my own kid.

  12. Yay for the book and review--this is definitely on my to-be-read list.

    I'm so sorry to hear about the comforter and laptop though. It's such an awful feeling to discover that kind of mishap! Glad your house is fully intact. :)

  13. That dessert looks marvelous! Anna and the French Kiss is on my wish list - great review. :-)

  14. First: glad your house didn't burn down. And YES to everything in your review. ANNA is such an amazing book. There simply can't be enough good things said about it! :)

  15. Holy awesome charger story. And I'm so glad I'm not the only one who ignores things they don't want to face. Ha!

    And I simply loved ANNA so much! Glad you did too.

  16. I really have to read this book :) I love Shakespeare & Co ! It's the cutest bookshop ever !

  17. My charger is on the fritz too, but luckily it didn't go nuclear... yet.

  18. ooo la la! The cake looks tres chic! Nice review. Sorry about your laptop woes!

  19. I finished Anna last night. Man, do I wish I was sent to American school in Paris! WTF was she whining about, yo? Anyway, I loved St. Claire and miss Paris and thought the book fun. :)

    Sorry you are so hot you melted your laptop/charger. Thank goodness you didn't get burned.


  20. Your charger exploding (!) had no effect whatsoever on this review. Sounds like a great book. Strong characterization is a must for me and I've always wondered what boarding school could be like...

  21. I'm so sorry about your charger fiasco. Ugh, what a nightmare! So glad it didn't turn out worse. :( And I can't wait to read this book! It's at the top of my TBR pile. Great review!

  22. I loved Anna and the French Kiss too. Although I love (and write) books in which epic things like fate and magic get in the way of relationships, I also loved the way Anna and Etienne got in the way of their own relationship.

    Also, as an ex-pat myself, I loved the moment when she first ventures beyond her school and is overwhelmed and nervous, but excited too. I can sympathize!

  23. You've convinced me. I usually avoid books that deal solely in romance (it's an after effect of reading too many romance novels - they were what was most available in terms of 'literature' in Fiji) but this one sounds charming. I love smart narrators who bring something different to the table in terms of their perspectives. Thanks for the review!

  24. Thanks for the awesome review...Anna just got moved from my TBR pile to next in line...

    Sorry to hear about your charger issues. I'm glad you were awake!

  25. Your battery story cracked me up. I can picture you totally ignoring it. I just saw this book on another blog and heard great things. Guess I'll have to add it to my list.

  26. Oh, SWOON. I can't wait to read this book--though Paris is my favourite city. My husband will be emailing the author to complain if this results in another trip!

  27. I've just added this to my "Books to get my daughter so I can give them to her when she's old enough" list.

    You are Golden Cee!


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