Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I really do not understand why this one was shelved in the New Adult Romance section of my local QBD, because filing this sweet, coming of age story sent against the backdrop of Paris beside other, more salacious titles really does not do this book justice. A little bit slow in places, full of cultural references and a little bit emotional, Anna and the French Kiss is probably one of the nicer YA novels that I have read in recent times. It tells the story of a young woman who, at the insistence of her father--a best selling author--travels to Paris to study for her final year of schooling. 

Initially our heroine, Anna, struggles with homesickness, but soon learns to love her new city and makes some new friends, particularly St Clair a cute, likeable and very taken boy from her grade. Over the course of the year, Anna and St Clair share several experiences that draw them closer to one another and that make them ask serious questions about the future, loyal and personal happiness. The whole book balances delicately on the thread of will they/won't they get together, but there are also a lot of culture references. The author also makes some subtle examinations of the differences between American and European Literature which I found quite pleasing. I also loved the way she quietly suggested to readers that a good story does not have to be melodramatic or have all avenging hero to be good--that some books are about what happens inside a person and a discovery of self, rather than featuring dramatic external events. (The novels that Anna's father writes are melodramas, that have gone on to be very popular and Anna occasionally scoffs at these. One of Anna's teachers, Professuer Cole, is quite vocal on the matter of Literature.) And, of course, there is plenty of fun, friendship and romance.

This one is a very likeable coming of age tale. I enjoyed reading this one very much and so too, I suspect, will many other readers.