Saturday, February 5, 2011

Show Me Five Review
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Show Me Five was originally created by That's a Novel Idea as a weekly Saturday meme and has become a favorite review format of mine.

The questions number indicates the number of answers provided. I enjoy using this format to do reviews because it allows me to put my own flair to it.

1 Name of book and author:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

2 Word to describe the book:

Sigh worthy

3 Setting where it takes place/characters:

Latin Quarter, Paris
Anna and the French Kiss takes place in Paris where Anna has been sent by her father to finish her senior year at the School of America. After being at the school for a week Etienne St. Clair (more about him later) forces Anna to check out the sights in the Latin Quarter of Paris, where the school is located.

This is an important part of the story because Anna get to know St. Clair on a much more personal level. They share background information about each other, and it is where Anna begins to fall in love not only with Paris, but Etienne.

Saint Etienne du Mont
Stephanie did a fantastic job describing the sights through Anna's eyes. Besides the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter, she sees Saint Etienne du Mont "a beast of a cathedral...with four thick colums..a Gothic facade [and] a skinny bell tower stretching all the way into the inky blackness of the night."

Notre Dame
Anna also gets her first look at the River Seinne, where the city lights "bob in the ripples of the water," and the "massive, monstrous, majestic" Notre Dame, which reminds Anna of "Disney World, but so much more magical."

4 Likes/Dislikes: 

The setting is one aspects of this book that made it me sigh and experience the romantic trance that Anna felt whenever she was near St. Clair. Like Anna, I fell in love with Paris and I feel Perkins descriptions were extremely vivid.

I liked the idea of Etienne St Clair. He was a charismatic character that had depth. Unlike many of the hotties that  end up in the pages of YA books, his background with his father and his devotion to his mother, made him a living breathing guy and I could totally understand Anna's attraction to him. If I were to cast Etienne in a movie version of the book I would choose Logan Huff. Anna, upon first bumping into him describes him as having "dark brownish hair and messy and somehow both long and short at the same time ... a beautiful boy with an amused grin." 

I really liked Anna's voice. She was the perfect narrator. She is funny, angsty without being whiny or over indulgent, caring, and the kind of girl I would happily bum around Paris and go see an old movie with. I loved how much she cared about her brother Sean, and I love being inside her head whenever she thought about St. Clair. I  tired to find the perfect teen actress to portray Anna, but had a hard time finding one, as I never totally got a true picture of what Anna looked like. I imagine her as physically pretty in a subtle and understated way. Someone who dressed for herself instead of dressing make a statement. She also would have medium long brown hair an easy smile, and she never really was aware of her own attractiveness.

Finally, I like how much Perkins surprised me with this story. I am not a huge fan of YA romance. All too often I find it much too formulaic, and despite all the rave reviews I read about this book, I figured it would end up being more of the same. I was wrong! Perkins begins building tension between Anna and St. Clair from the moment Anna lays eyes on him, and then uses the setting, and the other characters in the story to continue developing that tenseness all the way to the end of the story.

5 Stars or less:

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the best romantic contemporary novels I have read, and I definitely feel it desires  5 stars. I really loved all the elements and felt they worked symbiotically to produce one amazing novel. 



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