Anna and the French Kiss
I kept hearing all kinds of gushing, wonderful things about this book, and the cover is amazing, so when I won it through Confessions of a Book Addict's Blogoversary Giveaway? I was thrilled. I made myself finish reading what I was reading, and then indulged.
At first glance, it's the average 'girl goes abroad-girl meets boy-girl falls in love-it's all one big happy European love story'. But no. It's more than that. I mean, yeah, there is the whole going to school in Paris-thing, and there is definitely a very strong girl meets boy-girl falls in love vibe to Anna's story. However, it's not that simple. There are other boys - and other girls. There are misunderstandings and miscommunication abounds. Assumptions are made and names are called. Things happen. There are tears and vomit, silences and yelling matches. There are sweet moments and surprises that take your breath away.
The characters are interesting and believable. The setting is foreign - Paris? Totally not my high school experience! - but the story is one that most American teenagers can relate to. (As well as those of us who have not been in high school for a while). What I really appreciated was the way the characters grow - Anna and Etienne obviously, but also their circle of friends. One thing that did bother me a little, one of those background annoyances that doesn't really affect my enjoyment of the story, is the way Anna presents/deals with her virginity. In one place she states that she's still a virgin because she hasn't met/dated anyone that she felt 'worthy' of that step - and later in the book she recognizes that she herself is "not ready" for that step. Good themes/ideas that should be in more books -- stressing the weight of the decision, you know? And yet, more often, she is horribly embarrassed about her virginity, thereby devaluing her other - more positive - statements. I realize this is a real issue in high school(s) and etc, but if we're going to give our character the first positive thoughts, don't devalue them later. Most teens I know, if they are waiting for the right time and person, are definitely not ashamed of that. So that bugged me a little, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the read - fell a little in love with Etienne St. Clair (despite the height/age discrepancy!) - and look forward to Perkins's next novel!
Book provided by my personal library.