Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Summer Challenge: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Contemporary Romance)

Usually, I wouldn’t give a book five stars if I do have some problems with it, but since this book kept me up way past my bedtime and I read the entire thing in two days, barely doing anything else, I’ll give it that extra .5 stars.

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Series: Anna and the French Kiss, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 stars!

Description:

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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Book Review:

Usually, I wouldn’t give a book five stars if I do have some problems with it, but since this book kept me up way past my bedtime and I read the entire thing in two days, barely doing anything else, I’ll give it that extra .5 stars.

Unfortunately, I found the writing style disappointing. With a contemporary teenager narrating, it seemed rather choppy, with short sentences interspersed on their own lines, disrupting the flow of the prose. In addition, I never found myself loving the main character, Anna Oliphant. I think this was mainly because when all someone does is talk about their faults (horrible conversations, clumsy, always blushing, etc.) it’s hard to like them and understand why others like them. Anna seemed very “typical American girl” to me, and I usually enjoy other sorts of characters more.

Commenting on that “American” part — that is another reason I don’t love contemporary fiction very much, because I love travel and experiencing other cultures in the books I read. Luckily, I got that from the time she spends in France, and we got to tour the city a bit with Anna and St. Clair as well!

I did learn many new things from Anna and the French Kiss, including how to flip off and Englishman, the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery, and the difference between a gargoyle and chimera. I’ll let you read the book and find out the answers to those yourself! This book is also hilariously funny at times (just imagine a handsome boy with a strong English accent attempting to speak like a “gangsta”), serious at others, and but dreamily romantic the most often.

Genre Review: Contemporary Romance

Boy did I hate this genre until I actually started reading it and now I’m in love with (almost) every one I read, including The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and now Anna and the French Kiss. There is something about this genre that makes me a little embarrassed to read it (it just doesn’t seem sophisticated enough), although the books are good quick, easy, summer reads.

Something I was relieved about in Anna and the French Kiss is that although there is a character with cancer, (small spoiler) there are no deaths! Finally an enjoyable contemporary fiction book that doesn’t break your heart!

All in all, I loved Anna and the French Kiss, and am highly looking forward to reading the second book in the series (although I’m a little disappointed that it seems not to take place in France), Lola and the Boy Next Door, and am really excited that the third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, published on August 14th! Now to wait for the library to get it… either the public one or Gwen & Kate’s!

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4 comments on “Gwen’s Summer Challenge: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Contemporary Romance)

  1. RavenclawSam
    August 19, 2014

    I respect your views about Anna and the French Kiss even though I love the book to bits (but that may just be nostalgia- I read it more than 2 years ago), but I /had to/ comment on this sentence of yours- “There is something about this genre that makes me a little embarrassed to read it”

    I honestly feel that everyone should read whatever they want to and not feel ashamed/guilty/embarrassed about it.

    And especially YA Romance/ Contemporary Romance.

    A survey conducted showed that quite a lot of adults read YA and love it.
    The research or whatever it was, also showed that those books aren’t as shallow or meaningless as adults might think.
    Some of them, in fact, have an insight into teenagers minds like nothing ever could.
    Well, you’ve read TFiOS- you don’t think it is for kids right?

    Did I sound very defensive/ angry/ challenging in the above monologue??
    I’m actually a very nice person, I am just so tired of telling everyone that YA isn’t a stupid genre.
    Hope we can still be friends. :)

    • gwenkate
      August 19, 2014

      Wow. Thank you so much for that really deep and thoughtful comment!

      Sometimes I forget the reason I read, and your comment reminded me that I read for fun, to experience other worlds and cultures and livelihoods. And although Anna and the French Kiss is not a classic, or a sophisticated adult book, it brings me a lot more enjoyment than any of those books do. So I amend my statement. Thank you.

      And of course I could not be mad at you for that — especially if your icon is a picture of J.K. Rowling!!

      • RavenclawSam
        August 19, 2014

        You’re a Potterhead! Wow! :D

        I love it how every Potterhead will simply know that the other Potterhead is nice only because they are a Potterhead.
        I love how Harry Potter has universal acceptance. :P

        And I’m glad that you see why reading anything is always good :D
        Because it is much more fun to read like that- instead of constantly feeling like you’ll be judged by others depending on what you read.

      • gwenkate
        August 20, 2014

        Yes yes yes I’m a Potterhead. And boy you put that perfectly — I’ll keep your advice in mind. Thanks again!

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