Now that we have that out of the way, I read Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins, when I was beginning to slump. I'd just finished Owen Meany and Life After Life, and my brain was in a fog. I literally thought to myself, "I'd like the reading equivalent of You've Got Mail." And that's pretty much what I got with this book. Ok, truthfully, it's more like the literary equivalent of French Kiss (also Meg Ryan, also awesome) but with a cast of adolescents.
Anna's dad is a successful author of the Nicholas Sparks variety, and when he comes into money through his writing career, he decides it would be best to send Anna, from her home in Atlanta, off to a French boarding school to learn something of the world. She quickly falls in with a solid group of friends including Meredith, the soccer player; Rashmi, the smart girl; Josh, Rashmi's boyfriend and an artist; and the uber-hot Etienne St. Clair, history-buff extraordinaire (rhymes!). Soon to be Anna's super-crush.
Anna is slow to venture out into Paris, preferring to stay in her room (shades of Fangirl here). Etienne ends up showing her the sites, and she discovers the huge number of French cinemas (she's a movie buff and writer of reviews). There's a definite attraction between the two, but he has a girlfriend, and Anna is left wondering what will shake out.
And that's pretty much it. I really liked this book when I was reading it, but in no less than three weeks I needed a refresher to write this review. That is, I remember bits, but nothing jumps out at me as particularly important. There's a lot of sexual tension between Anna and Etienne. OH! And she's mad at her best friend back in Atlanta a lot because of a scandal. And everyone's dad is an asshole. And everyone's mom is a pushover. And from there it bleeds into Fangirl and I'm lost.
My favorite bits were definitely the little glimpses of Paris through Anna's eyes. Learning the lay of the land, experiencing the food, and some of Anna's discussions of Parisian history with Etienne were a lot of fun. I also really liked learning about her school. It is a school for American students in Paris, so it had a comfortable feel, and truthfully, I'm really jealous of their cafeteria choices.
And yeah. Fun book. Brain candy. It kept me reading. I gave it three stars on Goodreads for a fun, upbeat story and for whisking me away for a few hours.
Stephanie Perkins is seriously adorable. She's also written Lola and the Boy Next Door and hopefully one day Isla and the Happily Ever After will finally be published. I do intend to pick both of these up at some point in the future when I need fun reading. They would also be perfect for a readathon!
Pub. Date: December 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group
Source: Gifted to me by a friend.