Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was sent by her father to Paris to spend her senior year there, leaving her best friend and her maybe-boyfriend behind. But what happens when she meets Etienne St. Clair, a gorgeous boy,  in the most romantic city in the world?


 ‘Cause this is the month where I read fluffy contemporaries, apparently. And shockingly enjoy them.

At first glance, this is certainly not a book I would pick up. That title? I mean…why that particular title? Couldn’t it have been Anna Goes to Paris  or  Anna and the French-English-American Boy?

That goes to show you how wrong first impressions can be. Since I really liked this book.

First off, is there anyone out there that can buy me a plane ticket to France? This book did French culture justice. It explored quite a bit of the small niches in Paris rather than the Eiffel Tower. This book made Paris beautiful, welcoming, warm and bright. It made me want to live there every time I read a description of the city.

The writing style was easy to fall into. The story flowed in such a natural way, it felt like it was being recounted by a close friend of mine. Perkins’s writing style was ridiculously addictive and made me want to continue reading even when it was past my bedtime.

There was also a very strong presence of voice. I’ve read a lot of first-person POVs where I still felt like I couldn’t detect much of a personality. But there was so much ANNA in here that I felt firmly established inside her thoughts and feelings.

Which brings me to her friends. I liked how much her friends were there in the story. Oftentimes, secondary characters are disregarded or are used as a plot device, but all of her friends were interesting and well-rounded. They had distinctive personalities and didn’t blend into one unknown entity under the category of FRIEND.

Anna was likeable. She was funny and I loved her mental freak-outs (which reminded me of my own). I also liked how active she was in chasing her dream of becoming a film critic and hitting up all of the film theatres. She wasn’t one of those quirky female protagonists but despite that, it didn’t make me dislike her. In fact, she was relatable.

But she had quite a few “d’oh” moments which felt endearing at the time but now feels annoying, such as her believing that everyone spoke French at SOAP. Uh. No. No, silly Anna. There has to be some English-speaking employees there to guide those who don’t speak any French at School of America at Paris. For students from America. Who may not be able to speak French.

Although Anna seemed like a hypocrite at first for cold-shouldering Bridgette after she hooked up with Toph, Anna had a nice character arc when she had an epiphany about the parallels between her and Bridgette’s relationships.

I liked how imperfect Etienne was and how it made him ten times more swoonable. He’s not your typical “tall, dark, handsome” but “short, splotchy, acrophobic”. But he’s hilarious and so cute, and so protective and he’s the kind of guy everyone wants as their best friend.

Romance-wise, it was sweet. They were considerate and respectful of each other. There was so much care and love in their relationship, adorable banter and angst, that made it very real. It was a slow burn from friendship to romantic relationship and to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded if Etienne and Anna stayed friends but at the same time, I couldn’t imagine them with anyone else.

But this isn’t a new story. It’s predictable. It has a lot of cliches (hot, British accent guy, for one) but it was executed well with great character development and an engaging writing style.

Rating: 3.5-4 star book.


2 thoughts on “Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  1. I felt really similarly. I actually didn’t care for it on my first read – I liked Etienne well enough but didn’t think too much of Anna and thought the story was sweet but very cliched, like you said.

    The second time I read it, I pictured Anna as Anna Paquin from X-Men (don’t ask, I read somewhere that that’s who Steph Perkins imagined book-Anna to look like) and it gave her more life & personality somehow, with her little gap teeth and whatnot, and she became more relatable the second time around – I just liked it so much better after that.

    But… yeah. Anna and the French Kiss. Plus that cover. Not something I want to be caught reading in public. :S


    1. I never knew that but now that you mention it, I can’t stop imagining her as Anna Paquin. Wow. I can’t unsee it now. It’s like seeing Muggle Harry Potter or something: a super-human in a totally mundane setting.


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