Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Talk: Anna and the French Kiss

I love finding books that leave me so completely satisfied, so filled with bubbling enthusiasm, that from the moment I close the cover (or in this case, power off my Nook), I want everyone I know to share in the joy of reading it. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is that kind of awesome.
Normally, it’s difficult for me to get into books that are set in the contemporary, ordinary world. Because of this, I wasn’t expecting much from Anna and the French Kiss (*gasp* I know! EVERYONE loves it!). But I know myself, and I need to feel a degree’s separation from reality. What worked for me-- what kept me from feeling like the world was too “present”-- was the fact that the story takes place in Paris.
The setting plays a real part in Anna and the French Kiss. Almost like another character, giving off a vibe and adding richness and dimension. This book couldn’t have been set anywhere else. References to French culture abound, and I’m sure I only picked up on a fraction of them. After the book was over, the things I’d read about popped up in my thoughts, and I took to google quite a few times with my wondering. 
What can I say about Anna? She’s one of those characters that felt so completely real to me, when I finished the book I wanted to find her on twitter, and check her blog to see what movies she’d reviewed recently. She’s real, you can’t convince me she’s not! She’s also funny, caring, and prone to missteps that lead to mistakes. Rather than making huge blunders I could see coming a mile away, hers were after-the-fact realizations, and I was right there with her, groaning as I’d understood what had happened-- retracing the events that led to those moments... I laughed hard and cried buckets. Everything Anna went through, I went through.
The chemistry between Anna and the swoonworthy Etienne was evident from their first meeting. Etienne, with his elegant English accent, is intelligent, charming, and dealing with almost more than he can handle. He hides his vulnerability and very real need for companionship behind smiles and wit, and sometimes in less healthy behavior, but what’s never lost is the kindness he carries with him throughout the book. Etienne has an indescribable magnetism that makes him impossible not to love, and a soft side that tugs at the heart.

There's little I can say about the plot (all this goodness, and a great plot too!) that won't spoil it, so I'll refrain :)
This slow-building romance is one of my new all time faves. It was addicting-- I read it in one sitting-- and weeks later, the story remains vibrant in my mind. I sincerely hope my brain was paying attention, because this book succeeded in every possibly way.

16 comments:

  1. Wow! This is a convincing review. I've held off reading it because, like you, I prefer fantasy. BUT, you've changed my mind. :D

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  2. I LOVED Anna and funnily enough you CAN find Anna and Etienne on twitter. They flirt with each other and its the cutest thing--its live action Anna:-)

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  3. oh man. I want to read this book so much. Maybe in February I will buy it!

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  4. It. Was. Sooooooo. Good. Oh, Etienne...*swoon* This review is pretty much what I would've said.

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  5. On to the reading list it goes!

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  6. I have this on top of my TBR pile. Can't wait to read it!

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  7. I absolutely loved this book. I write contemporary YA so I love this genre but this book in particular is especially good. Not only did it entertain me; it also inspired me with my own WIP. :)

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  8. I SO want to read this book!!!!!!! Everyone keeps talking about how fabulous it is, and I just haven't gotten my hands on it. Can't wait! :)

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  9. Thanks everyone!

    Catherine, Amalia, Liza, Melissa, KM-- I'm rarely so certain about recommending a book. It's great!!!

    Frankie, Tina, Ghenet-- Writing this post made me want to re-read!!! Love it so much :)

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  10. I felt exactly the same way about Anna and the French Kiss, and I don't usually like books set in the "real" world, either. I think this is one of those books that everyone would love if they gave it a chance.

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  11. Sounds really good - everyone is talking about it and I enjoy reading contemporary that has a magical feel to it.

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  12. Me too Nat!! Er, clearly lol <3 <3

    It is Mary! I think you'd love it :)

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  13. So glad you wrote about this. I was hesitant too (for the same reasons as you) but now, you've pushed me over the edge. I'll add it to my reading list.

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  14. "Anna and the French Kiss" is a wonderful book.
    Great find !

    Cathy
    Easy French

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