Distiller: Hikari Loftus
Drink: Chocolat chaud
Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Speak; d edition (August 4, 2011)
First of all, I'm surprised this book was 400 pages. I didn't even realize until I just typed that. I read this in less than 24 hours and in only three sittings. So, that means two things. Easy read, and a good book.
Anna Oliphant is being sent away to boarding school by her father. Boarding school in PARIS. But as a somewhat famous author (of really awful books turned into awful movies that are somehow best sellers), her father is doing it more as a way to reflect his fame and mediocre wealth. He doesn't care that Anna's this close to bringing her friendship with Toph to the next level. He doesn't care that Anna's best friend Bridgette will remain in Atlanta. He doesn't care that he is messing up Anna's entire life and that she doesn't want to go.
But in no time, Anna finds herself starting her senior year of high school at the American School in Paris. Luckily, Anna lands herself in a group of great friends very quickly. Meredith, Rashmi, Josh, and St. Clair. But as the school year progresses, it's St. Clair who becomes her best friend. Nevermind that she needs to spend half their time together reminding herself that the gorgeous, smart, gorgeous, talented and gorgeous St. Clair has a serious girlfriend and that she's holding out to see if things will go anywhere with Toph over Christmas break.
What follows isn't any kind of story that you haven't already read a million times. Shy, not that beautiful, ordinary girl falls for gorgeous, popular, handsome, desired-by-all-girls, boy. Yet said boy sees the ordinary girl as nothing short of extraordinary.
Perkins does this cliche right. Her characters act age appropriately (she gets lots of points for this) and the feelings and thoughts that we get from Anna and her friends feel so authentic. Most any reader would be able to relate to the high school experience she outlines. (except for the fact that Anna's high school is in Paris. Which includes a lot of dreamy passages about life in France.)
Also, I didn't get annoyed while reading this book. Usually reading about high school drama is full of eye-rolling annoyance. Perkins somehow managed to fit in loads of high school and romance drama into this without annoying me AND making it feel authentic. Don't ask me how.
There is a reason why this cliche story line is popular. We like reading it. But I'm convinced that Anna and the French Kiss became a best-seller because it gives us everything we want out of this type of book in the best ways possible AND is well written. Romance, Butterflies, Drama, Friendship, Hot Boys, and French Pastries. (What, you don't like reading about French Pastries?)
It's a quick and entertaining read, perfect for a girls night in when you're in the mood for something like this.
Also, I note this because I just mentioned in my Looking for Alaska review that I thought most YA books these days don't include the "F-word." This book had is several times during one particular scene only, and it was published three years ago, so maybe I was wrong about that. Or maybe it works because it was set in France and the French get away with anything.
When Anna first arrives in Paris, she's upset, lonely and sobbing into her pillow. Thanks to the paper thin walls of the dormitory, Meredith hears her crying and comes to cheer her up with a nice, thick cup of Parisian hot chocolate. The kind that is so thick you can stand your spoon up in it. So I recommend reading this with a cup of Le Chocolat Chaud and some macaroons.