Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

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anna

I keep reading books that people ask if it’s believable…. so yeah, I read about meteor’s knocking the moon out of orbit; alien invasions; rich kids with a private island off the coast of the Hamptons and now a plot of a 17 year old going to a foreign school in Paris.  So, not so much my senior year of high school, but for the wanderlust folk who also like a bit of self-deprecation a ‘la Bridget Jones …… this is your book 🙂

Anna was suddenly told that her senior year would be abroad and without any say in the matter, she is packed up and living in a 10 x7 foot dorm room with walls as thin as band-aids.  Thankfully, she falls into a group of internationals quite fast and struggles mostly with beginner’s French and the occasional bout of homesickness.

This is a light, girly – yet funny, novel (series) after I read The 5th Wave, which is enjoyable, but one that I started mostly because I have the series in my library and I feel I should know all of my series before matching them to a young reader.

This is cute, a bit too cute with the perfect boy with the cute British accent who speaks way more maturely than any 18 year old and sees to fit every stereotype of a young European crush.  But if you can get over that dream guy who notices too much, apologizes for infringing on her bookshelf, and seems too-good-to-be-true….. then it’s a great story about studying abroad in Paris.  In other words, the preteens will love it (and him).

Totally fine for young readers – a brief drunken night between St. Clair and Josh, but the resulting hangovers certainly don’t put drinking in a good light.  Of course when Anna comes home for Winter Break she is surprised that her life moved on without her: friends, a crush, even her family.  She is surprised “home” is now Paris and not Atlanta.

This portrays both the homesickness and the excitement with living abroad accurately – when I did it, we were told to expect a “W” of highs and lows.  The group of friends is honest with fights, jealousy, annoyances, and inside jokes.  I actually liked the group dynamics the best.  In the end though, of course Anna gets the guy- but it doesn’t happen easily and she has to navigate through hurt feelings, insecurities, and teenage angst.

So yes, a perfect YA European romance.  There’s mention of sex, two occasions of drunkenness, bullying and rumors, and a sick parent.  But there is also realistic friendship and honest dialogue.  14 and over if you are worried about the drinking, but I think it’s fine for under 14’s for those already reading YA.

Series: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

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