Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Anna has everything figured out – she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere…

Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris.

On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above.

But he’s taken – and Anna might be too.

Will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

My Review

Anna and the French Kiss tells the story of an American girl who goes to school for a year in Paris. She has to leave behind her best friend and the boy she likes and move to a country where she does not speak the language (but gets enrolled in an English speaking school so that’s fine), knows no one and has to (sort of) fend for herself…

I mean she is in boarding school so she’s got dormitory accommodation and food sorted.

In her dormitory she quickly makes friends with Mer who then introduces her to one Étienne St. Clair…

The moment Anna sees Étienne her heart goes all aflutter and she falls head over heels for him…

One tiny problem…

He already has a girlfriend… but then again, she has a kinda, sorta boy at home too…

Anna and the French Kiss reminds me of one of those sickly sweet fizzy drinks; they’re nice at the start, all lovely and tingly on your tongue and just the right amount of sweetness… but then they start to make you feel queasy from their overly saccharine taste and ultimately leave you feeling unsatisfied.

To start with we HAD to have a protagonist who really knows how to get on your wick!

Gosh Anna could be SO annoying… her constant moaning about her Dad… eh get over yourself already! So the man writes easy to read tug-at-the-heartstrings fiction that appeals to the masses????? Big whoop… Go take a look at your own book Stephanie Perkins! Because you didn’t do something similar?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Ehhhh so what was the sob story with Étienne’s mom all about then?!?!?!?!?!? *cough cough* hypocritical *cough cough*

And did I mention Anna was spoiled and irritatingly clueless about life… Oh dear so your parents think that a year abroad might broaden your horizons and your (already alarmingly narrow) perspective on life but you are all mad at them because you’ll be away from your friends for nine months??? Oh PUHlease… If you think your friends won’t be there for you after the nine months is up, and won’t stay in contact with you… then you are better off without them!!

And the romance… oh I love this new boy!! He’s so dreamy with his English accent

*eye roll*…

No maybe I like this old boy at home cos he’s such a dreamy musician-type

*cue another eye roll*…

So I’ll keep in contact with him while I judge new boy for being interested in another girl… ‘Cos it’s perfectly okay for me to get to keep my options open but not for you…

*raises eyebrow*

Oh and then I’ll go and be one of those girls who totally forgets about her other friends when I like a boy…

This is a book laden with shallow characters. Anna’s friends pretty much blended all together with not one of them having a strong identity.

And our love interest Étienne… What a snooze-fest he turned out to be… BOOOOOOOOrrrrrring!! And utterly bland… Think of every cliché you can about a dream teenage boyfriend and that was Etienne… okay so I wasn’t exactly expecting some gritty and multi layered character but he was just so sweet…TOO sweet… gosh this book should come with a dental health warning!! May cause cavities and LOTS of tooth ache!!

The best part of this book for me was the food… Ah food… ALWAYS makes me happy! This book made me want to eat… A LOT!!! Here are a few of my favourite passages about food… warning, read these at the peril of your waist-line LOL!

“On the way back, he leads me to a walk-up sandwich stand for a late-night snack. The yeasty smell is mouth-watering, and my stomach growls in anticipation. We order panini, sandwiches pressed flat on a hot grill. St. Clair gets his stuffed with smoked salmon and ricotta cheese and chives. I order Parma ham and Fontina cheese and sage. He calls it fast food, but what we’re handed looks nothing like the limp sandwiches from Subway… We pay and stroll down the street, enjoying the night. Crunching through the crusty bread. Letting the warm, gooey cheese run down our chins. I moan with pleasure. “Did you just have a foodgasm?” he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips. “Where have you been all my life?”, I ask the beautiful panini. “How is it possible I’ve never had a sandwich like this before?”

Oh smoked salmon and ricotta cheese… *drools*… although I’d like a few sun-dried tomatoes in mine to make it absolutely perfect!

“Our favourite crêperie is only minutes away, and my fear of skipping school eases as I watch the crêpe man ladle the batter onto the griddle. I order mine the way I always do here, by pointing at the picture of a banana and Nutella crêpe and saying please. The man pours the warm chocolate-hazelnut spread over the thin, pancake-like crêpe, folds the banana in, and then drizzles more Nutella on top. As a final flourish, he adds a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Real vanilla, which is tan with black flecks. I moan as I sink into the first bite. Warm and gooey and chocolaty and perfect.”

PANCAKES… food of the gods!!!!!!!!!

“…until we reach the front case. It shimmers with neat rows of square-shaped tarte citrons, spongy cakes swelling with molten chocolate, caramel éclairs like ballet slippers, and red fruity cakes with wild strawberries dusted in powdery sugar. And more macarons. Bin after bin of macarons in every flavour and colour imaginable. Grass greens and pinky reds and sunshine yellows. While Mer debates over cakes, I select six. Rose. Blackcurrant. Orange. Fig. Pistachio. Violet. And then I notice cinnamon and hazelnut praline, and I just want to die right there. Crawl over the counter and crunch my fingers through their delicate crusts and lick out the fragrant fillings until I can no longer breathe.”

Oh how do I love thee macarons, let me count the ways…

Ok so I did kinda like this book… or to be more accurate I didn’t completely hate it. It passed the time, it was an easy read and there were some cute romantic moments. But does it encourage me to read another Stephanie Perkins novel???

Unfortunately no it does not.

I have already made an attempt to read Lola and the Boy Next Door, the next book in the series, but that became a quick DNF…oh I could go on and on and ON about how much I hated *THAT* protagonist but that is for another review…

So I’m thinking that Stephanie Perkins and I just aren’t meant to be. Sorry! Yikes!!!!!!! This book lagged in the middle, had a hurried ending, shallow supporting characters and an irritating main one… and it was just too sugary-sweet for my liking.

Two stars

10 thoughts on “Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Book Review

  1. LOL I’m so glad I made the decision to give a pass on this book because judging from your reactions, I would probs feel the same about the characters 😂 But I would most definitely feel the same way about you with the food too so… !!!! Omg, that crepe scene… I was just thinking last night that I want to make pancakes soon but maybe I’ll have to make some banana nutella crepes instead!? Drool… It’s just the morning here but I already want all the baked/pastry goodness mentioned in this post 🤤

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  2. After reading your review, I feel like how you describe this book is the generalization I have in my head for all romance books and that’s why I stay away from them…but I know there’s a bunch of really good ones I just haven’t found them

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    1. Yeah I don’t think this is a really good example of a ya romance. There’s just too many inconsistencies with the narrative, prose, characters etc. A cute ya romance I did love was Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz. Definitely recommend that one if you’re in the mood for something sweet but with a little more grit ☺️☺️☺️💜🧡

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  3. I actually quite enjoyed this one in a guilty pleasure sort of way 😁 But honestly, Anna got on my nerves so much! You’re right, she’s horribly shallow and narrow-minded, and when I read that she didn’t know Paris was famous for its films despite apparently being a movie nerd, I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes… But gosh, those food descriptions! 😍 You’ve just made me really hungry!

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