Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I've been itching to write a review on this book for a while, but since I have had to hold off my reviews for while to hit the study books... I haven't got around to it so I apologize.

Anna and the French Kiss blew me away, I've read this book about 3 times so far and Stephanie Perkins has managed to suck me in each time. This is one of the good books that must be read.
In the story, Anna is shipped off to SOAP (School of America in Paris) by rich and shallow author dad; Anna is outrageously homesick, lost and insecure as she assimilates into the city of love. Call in the bestfriends (Josh, Rashimi, Meridith and Etienne “St. Clair”) who befriend Anna and drag her out to experience the city – Paris. Anna harbours a crush on Etienne – and vice versa ~This is one of the best couples I have read about so do check it out~ but there are things both holding them back from true love – ~hmmm lets see, well there’s Ellie (St. Clair’s girlfriend) and Toph (Anna’s offshore-crush), also there’s Meredith (who’s been crushing on St. Clair for ages – she’s friends with Anna and St. Clair), St. Clair’s family life but the bottom line – LACK OF BLEEDING COMMUNICATION?!~

So lets start off with Anna Oliphant, originally from Atlanta; she is shipped off to the pretentious school, SOAP to complete her studies. Anna is sweet, brave, wholesome and joyful throughout the book – she is insanely loyal to her new bunch of friends ~Which I absolutely love in a character~ Anyway Anna had her fair share of struggles especially with her long distance relationships with Bridgette Saunderwich, Christopher “Toph” and Matt, the love ”square” ~Yes there are 3 girls vying for Etienne’s love and adoration namely Ellie, Anna and Meredith~ Anna receives constant on-and-off love signals from Etienne – which she dealt with impulsively and bravely ~I was really proud of each choice she made regardless of the consequences – because hey if I were her I would be doing the same thing~ I really empathized for Anna – she was absolutely scared of ending up alone and even admitting her feelings (to herself and Etienne) that could destroy a friendship that was built from the start of the book until the end ~But not only that.. a friendship that she truly depends on~ Some of Anna’s decisions were really rash – lets not go into the holiday break in Atlanta – that was truly disastrous… also her little romance with Dave ~*Shudder* absolutely cringe-worthy~ Usually I hate Southern twang in books, yes everyone Anna is a southerner but Stephanie only put the right amount in deserving places which just adds to Anna ~It’s the small intricacies that count~ Ultimately an amiable heroine with a severe old day movie obsession and a few neurotic tendencies. I loved that Stephanie fleshed out Anna so much – I just felt like I was there the whole time watching Anna carry out her life.

Going onto St. Clair! He is totally amazing boy lead… he wasn’t the typical male lead of a book – clichéd six-foot tall, rock-star hair, hunky jock. ~Thank god – that was probably what sets him apart from other love interests in other books~ He was short, brunette ~wait the book did say he did have rock-star-totally-careless-but-hot-hair… my bad~ and a history dork… oh and plus he has an english accent ~Surely beats Southerner twang in American books… why am I carrying on about the twang?! Please don’t answer that!~ St. Clair had his insecurities – namely he was scared also to end up alone under his over baring father while his mother is staying in California… His relationship with Ellie ~That definitely pissed me off~ you could see from the start that they were growing apart, he always ended up going back to her when things got tough ~Which I wasn’t impressed with when there was Anna right in front of him~ Ellie and St. Clair were in different worlds to start off with (Ellie, a freshman in university and St. Clair a senior at SOAP) and he still remained with her even when he had strong feelings for Anna… Not his strong point I must say. He and I both have something in common – we are both afraid of heights ~I was impressed when he overcame his fear of heights (maybe only temporary) to proclaim his love~ The bottom line was he was absolutely swoon-worthy.

The relationship between Anna and St. Clair felt so honest and true, it made my heart absolutely ache – romances like theirs rarely exist in real life – but Stephanie made it feel totally real and normal for me. Thank the heavens! Anna doesn’t fall in love at first sight ~That’s what I’m not impressed about most books have silly girls falling for the guys in the first few chapters – but not this one~ Anna’s feelings grow gradually throughout the book. First, she acknowledges only Etienne’s hotness, but accepts he is taken and is content with friendship. ~But as you get sucked in more and more by the desirable vortex named Anna and the French Kiss~ The pair get to know each other – she sees there is more than meets the eye and voila she starts falling for him… only a little at the start but as their friendship grows and they become intimate ~Emotional intimacy guys, not physical yet~ the relationship turns straight to Lovetown. The crackling tension, the humour, wandering through the streets of Paris and old movies combined with endless conversations and brilliant banter – all leads to one thing…LOVE! The book captures the awkward moments, the bad decisions, insecurities and fights in relationships – the ultimate flip of the coin…That is all at the heart of one fantasmagorical book. Stephanie explores this relationship so well the reader just has to crave more – her writing is indeed excellent. A highlight of the book I think is when Etienne first starts to become Anna’s rock --  when he first buys her the banana and an elephant it made my heart just ache and ache and ache. The chemistry between Anna and Etienne is amazing, you can’t help but wish them together, regardless the circumstances.

Both main and secondary characters were fleshed out realistically – thank god, the group of friends Anna hung with: soccer-mad Meredith, artsy Josh, intelligent Rashimi were all diverse which I am truly thankful for you don't want the same group of clichés in all books. I actually came to like Matt, at the start of the book Anna sort of hung a rain cloud over his head – but he definitely came through as a supportive guy for Anna in the end, I question him being with Cherrie Millen though ~they seemed happy so I leave it be~ Bridgette Saunderwich seemed smart at the start – a total cool friend, I liked her emails to Anna at the start but then she gradually stopped – I was proud of her for getting in Toph’s band but that definitely had a flip coin, I hated her lack of guts just to tell Anna the truth about her relationships with her younger brother and Toph… It just proved how unworthy she was as a friend. Toph was a bit touch-and-go sort of guy – he was labelled Anna’s overseas crush – but truly did disappoint, I’m thankful to Matt for revealing all of his (Toph’s) weaknesses – because it was just a cold hard slap for Anna who just lived in a Toph-is-totally-gonna-take-me-back-once-I-come-home-from-Paris-utopia…Let me tell you she deserved it. Now this book didn’t feature a villain as such… I guess you could say Amanda – she was definitely a cold hearted bitch, but she played her part very well – made Anna’s life absolutely hell… She just highlighted Anna’s perseverance and resilience in life.

I’m going to wrap up now, this book was just amazing – I can’t describe in words how great this book was, but its safe to say in the future I will definitely be re-reading it… Its one of those romances that touch your soul – without the sappiness, it makes you want to jump pages and ultimately become friends with all of the characters. Perkin’s Anna and the French Kiss made me laugh out loud, shed a few tears, and left me with a kind of silly and content grin (and even sleep deprived and caused a huge headache for staying up until the early hours of the morning reading this book – but let me tell you its definitely worth it). This is one of the best books I have read – it is absolutely deserving of its high ratings and reviews ~I’m even adding to it!~ So make sure you read this book!


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