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Top 10 of 2010: Anna and the French Kiss

29 Dec

Anna and the French Kiss

“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?” Via Goodreads.

I haven’t been running my “best of 2010” book posts in order, but it’s safe to say Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins, is my #1 pick of 2010.

I stopped reading most contemporary YA romance novels a few years ago. When I read, I want to escape reality. So paranormal and fantasy books swiftly took over my reading list. I’m so glad I broke my self-imposed rule to read this book! I’d been hearing nothing but good things via twitter posts from authors I admire (Like Kiersten White, and Rachel Hawkins) for months. So when I found Anna on the shelf a month early at the Strand in NYC, I was ecstatic…Then I let it sit on my shelf for a month. I’m a firm believer that books “choose you” when it’s the right time to read them. The blizzard that struck the Northeast the day after Christmas ended up providing me with the prime reading opportunity. Now that it’s made my best of 2010 list, I’m a bit mad at myself for not reading it sooner!

The story is so incredibly well written, honest, and REAL. Stephanie Perkins has perfectly captured what it feels like to be a teenager, and unsure of yourself or your heart. Anna is cute, smart, and has the strength to stand up for herself. Against her better judgment, she falls hopelessly in love with her (taken) new best friend Etienne St. Clair, but refuses to let him walk all over her in the process.

As for St. Clair? He’s gorgeous, charismatic, and funny, but not too perfect. From his physical appearance (he’s short, and has some crooked teeth) to his behavior (his inability to dump his girlfriend for Anna, running away from his problems), he’s a wonderfully flawed love interest.

The romance development is slow, almost painfully slow. But the story is even sweeter for it. There are dozens of accidental touches—like knees brushing in a dark theatre– before kissing comes in to play. Plenty of obstacles stand between the two lovers: a girlfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a handful of misunderstandings. And of course, time–they’re only in Paris for a year. Rather than being “soul mates” (gag) whose world revolves around their lover, Anna and Etienne get to know each other gradually over the course of that year, before realizing they’re in love. Together, they bring out the best in each other, like true love should.

Unlike a lot of books I’ve been reading lately, even the secondary characters are fully developed. From Anna and St. Clair’s circle of friends, to St. Clair’s mother (whom we never even meet!) to Anna’s little brother. I felt like I knew each of them, and was right there in the middle of the action with them. And the action just happens to be non-stop. There isn’t a single dull moment in the entire book, which had me hooked by the second page. I can’t wait to read the two companion novels “Lola and the Boy Next Door” and “Isla and the Happily Ever After”, which come out in 2011, and 2012 respectively. After reading Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins has definitely been added onto my favorite authors list. Not only is her book amazing, she has an adorable blog, with stories from her life, and trials of getting her work published. She’s so open and honest about it all, it’s like reading the blog of a close friend.

Anna and the French Kiss is the one book of 2010 I’ll be recommending to every reader I know, regardless of age, sex, or “preferred reading genre”.

It’s just that good!

Anna and the French Kiss is available now from Dutton.

5/5 Stars.