I don't read too many books with really heavy romantic focus. I'm all for a good love story, but I don't always go after stories where it dominates the plot. The reason I decided to go out of my comfort zone and give Anna and the French Kiss a chance was that young adult author John Green gave it a very favorable review in one of his vlogs. I'm very happy that I did. Anna and the French Kiss has one of the most engaging romantic storylines that I have encountered in a very long time. I think what made it so enjoyable to read was that it was not a perfect romance. Sure there were plenty of moments to give you warm and fuzzy feelings, but Perkins doesn't ignore the fact that although love can bring you to your highest heights, in certain situations strong romantic feelings (especially when they're unrequited) can make normally pleasant people turn into real jerks. The books one weakness is that it can be predictable, but I found that didn't really bother me at all.
Another thing I really liked about this book was the characters. Anna is a very likable protagonist with an engaging voice. I liked how she possessed interests, dreams, and quirks of her own and had more of a purpose than just being the girl that falls in love with the handsome guy. She makes poor decisions, as well as good ones. She feels like a realistic portrayal of a 17/18-year-old girl. The romantic interest Etienne St. Clair, although handsome and charming, also feels like a real person who makes big mistakes of his own. I also enjoyed how Anna's friends were also well fleshed out. Just because the story was focused on Anna's love doesn't mean that the other characters get left by the wayside. The book also possesses a fair amount of really great humor that at times had me laughing out loud. An example of this can be found in Anna's frustration with her father, a published author that is clearly a satire on Nicholas Sparks.
If you're looking for a charming young adult book with great characters and romance, look no further than Anna and the French Kiss. I'm very happy that I went outside of my normal comfort zone and picked up this book. I will be reading more books by Stephanie Perkins in the future.
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 372 pages
Source: Readfield Community Library
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first
Next, I will be reviewing The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockheart
xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads