Good morning, everyone! I trust you all had a wonderful week and you’re looking for a good way to start your Sunday. Lucky for you guys, I have just the thing: the weekly Morning Muse!!! Starting from this week, I’ll be breaking out of my shell and exploring books that I might not normally open even if I think their blurbs are interesting. This is no fault of those books, it’s just that I’m obviously very narrow-minded, shame on me. But this will change. Today I’m going to review a contemporary YA novel by the name of ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ by Stephanie Perkins.
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. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
(Picture and Description compliments of Goodreads)
Now I’m going to be perfectly honest with everyone: I had trouble getting into this book. I must’ve reread the first three pages about five times before I seriously grabbed a notebook and a pen and sat down and forced myself to really read. It wasn’t that I found the beginning bad but I was so aware that I hadn’t read anything of the sort in so long that I felt out of my element so to speak. However, the author did a good job of getting me acquainted with the protagonist, Anna. And by baring Anna’s heart open to the readers at the very beginning of the book she was able to pull me in so that by the time I finished the first chapter I felt like I was settling in.
The story had a pretty upbeat pace but I felt somehow that there were ups and downs that I can’t properly explain and I wanted the story to feel more consistent somehow. I also liked the light, airy feel of the story at the beginning and I loved how well the author deepened the general tone and nudged us smoothly into more serious scenes, very well done.
Author’s Voice/ POV:
The author chose to tell this story through the protagonist, Anna, and did an excellent job of it. Anna’s personality shone through every word; I felt her sarcasm, her desperation, her agitation, and her elation. I also thought that Stephanie Perkins handled emotional scenes very well such as the scene where Anna breaks down in tears once her mother leaves. That scene broke my heart and made me reach out to Anna in her time of need.
She did an excellent job of portraying the relationships in the book through Anna’s eyes and reacquainted readers with familiar feeing and familiar questions. Yes Anna, boys do turn girls into idiots, but we let them. And by the end of the book I’m echoing Anna in asking her how could she have been so blind? I really did end up feeling like I was listening to an old friend.
Anna Oliphant is our protagonist, she’s seventeen years old at the start of the book and her biggest worries are if she’ll ever fit in at School of America in Paris and whether her crush back home will still have a thing for her when she goes back on break. Anna’s a pretty fun and friendly character with her own interesting quirks like her being a neat freak which worked well in the story rather than feeling forced. I liked her love of film and her ambition to become the top female film critic, it was so endearing. My only problem with Anna was that I felt she made too big a deal of her dad but even this gets dealt with in a mature manner by the end of the book. Anna Oliphant is a great example of a character, who grows a great deal over the course of a book.
Étienne St. Claire gave me goose bumps. He’s one fictional character I could fall for and fast. In my opinion, Stephanie Perkins did us all a favour when she constructed him so carefully. He’s the exact right combination of funny, friendly, charming, jealous, troubled, and confused. His interaction with his father was absolutely genius and I wish the author had been less vague earlier in the book as I felt it added real depth to the entire story as well as to Étienne’s character.
Josh, Rashmi and Mer are a pretty okay set of supporting characters. Josh was the most well-developed though as the book progressed the author did flesh out Rashmi for us and for Anna. Unfortunately, Mer started out okay for me but by the end of the book she felt rather flat.
Amanda Spitterton-Watts (and her gang) are the biggest set of clichés I have ever seen. Even the author admits this through her character, Anna. But strangely they work, except for Nicole. Nicole, I could’ve done without.
This book is an example of one very basic story line taken to another level. The location adds appeal as does the amount of research that went into making the setting believable. I loved how the author also focused on relationships between friends and between children and their parents instead of making Anna and Étienne the be-all and end-all of the story. It’s quite true that most books are based on a few basic story lines, but it’s what the author adds to the basics that makes a story great.
I did find myself starting to get sick of all the high school drama but I don’t think this was fair of me because where else was the author to set the story and isn’t it the perfect place to watch a character grow? I think my irritation stems from the fact I was highly irritated by my secondary school experience and it’s probably a good thing that I related so much to the book that I started to project.
Cover & Blurb (These are things the writer does not have control of):
Well I can’t say that the cover is overly exciting or spectacular, because it isn’t but somehow it’s oddly fitting. It’s simple and to the point and goes along with the story 100% and for that I give it two thumbs up. The blurb is pretty much the same, simple and spot on. I personally love when I can get an idea of a book from its cover.
Once I reached the middle of the book, I started to struggle with myself over the rating. Is this a 3? A 3.5? Or is it a 4? I had No Idea. I knew it hadn’t won me over enough to be over 4 but it was too good to be under 3… Decisions, decisions.
I’ve finally settled on a rating of 4 out of 5! A few key factors pushed this out of the 3.5 range and into a rating of 4. The way the author made me LOVE how Anna came to peace with the idea that she and Étienne might never be more than friends, the excellent dialogue, and the way the author handled Anna’s return home and how she had begun to see it in a new light, were among these contributing factors. This book is a great example of how books appeal to us emotionally and it’s an example that shouldn’t be ignored.
First I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my most recent post and I hoped everyone enjoys it and takes something away from it. In other news, I’ve decided to reschedule some of my posts on this blog, so starting next week Sunday this is what you can expect to see on what day:
Sunday – Classics Corner (This is being done in conjunction with Lisa and K over at Baffled Books, look out for more information on this)
Monday – Morning Muse (This will continue to be a weekly feature)
Tuesday – Reserved for interviews and guest posts if we should have any (I’ll always give you guys early notice)
Wednesday – Writing Exercises and Prompts
Thursday – Bird’s Eye View (This is a post I do every Thursday over at Baffled Books)
Friday – This will continue to be my recap day, however, I’ll also discuss an interesting topic and go through the writing exercise from Wednesday.
Saturday – There’s no official post scheduled, however, if something special is happening I’ll be sure to give everyone a heads up. Subscribing would be helpful too!
Did this confuse you? No worries, I’ll remind you all on Friday and I might even go into more detail and then from Sunday, you’ll see the new schedule in action. I hope you all have an enjoyable day.
Cheers to the new week!
K, the Popinjay.