Synopsis- Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Review- Anna and the French Kiss is a young adult novel set in Paris that I’ve heard a lot about since it’s release. It’s been a book I’ve wanted to read for some time and decided that my trip to Paris would be a good motivator to order a copy and read it! It took a little while to get used to the first person viewpoint of Anna but I warmed to her quickly and really enjoyed reading her story. Of course it’s hard to empathise with a teenager who has been sent to Paris (!) against her wishes, but I could genuinely understand her hurt and frustration at being sent away from home to a foreign country and it wasn’t put down to her being spoilt. It was interesting viewing Paris through the eyes of a foreigner from the food to the language to the cultural norms and how Anna came to love this city. Even though she’s left behind her best friend, a guy who was on the verge of becoming her boyfriend and everything familiar to her, she is welcomed openly by a close group of friends at her new school: Meredith, Josh, Rashmi and of course the handsome and charming Etienne St. Clair.
Now it’s not the typical romance story considering St Clair has been in a relationship with Ellie (who graduated) for the past year and is officially unavailable. But that doesn’t seem to stop him from developing an intense, emotional bond with the newcomer, Anna. The two of them really hit it off and even though their attraction and connection is quite obvious to everyone, both of them waiver on the fragile boundaries of their friendship throughout most of the school year…
This was an element of the story that I found both fascinating and frustrating. I really wanted St Clair to make a decision about his relationship earlier, but I can see from Anna’s realisation near the end that they were both at fault really as they were both quite guarded about their feelings for one another. Anna pretended she was interested in the guy back home and so St Clair was reluctant to break it off with Ellie, while Anna knew St Clair was with Ellie but kind of hoped he would leave her without him knowing how Anna really felt about him. It was all a bit of a shemozzle really! If they were ten years older then I’d probably have been angrier at St Clair because I feel like he had been emotionally cheating on his girlfriend while he was with Anna, but at the same time they were both teens, in a foreign country and dealing with some emotional problems so it’s not that unrealistic to expect that they’d end up in this mess together.
Such a great young adult novel that explores relationships not just in the romantic sense but also with friends and family and I think both Anna and St Clair learnt a lot and grew a lot throughout the course of the story. Anna and the French Kiss is a Parisian young adult love story that I found really engaging and enjoyable. I’ll be looking out for more books by this author.
Anna and the French Kiss can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
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