Saturday, August 11, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Pages: 372 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | author website

Anna and the French KissAnna was 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. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne 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? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.


Review:


With my summer almost over, I wanted to indulge in something fluffy--you know, the kind of fluffy fun summer reading is made of. With rave reviews all around praising its swoony male lead and cute romance, Anna and the French Kiss seemed like a good bet.

It wasn't.

Perkins undeniably has talent as a writer. Anna's narrative voice is engaging and some of the scenes are so adorable that I smiled a little bit despite my annoyance. It was only when I remembered who was having the cute scene (usually Anna and St. Clair) and what kind of people they were (really terrible people) that I stopped smiling. That the author's talent is wasted telling the story of despicable characters like Anna and St. Clair is a shame because with more likable characters, I could see myself loving this book the way everyone else does.

See, Anna makes me want to scream because she hates all other women who are her "competition" in any way, shape, or form for a guy she likes. Amanda, Bridgette, Ellie, eventually Meredith--all of them. She describes them badly (which isn't help by the narrative portraying them badly and I have a boatload of issues with that) and is generally a hypocrite. I'm not into abundant girl-hate in novels and that's exactly what Anna and the French Kiss has to offer. Her melodrama about non-problems like going to a beautiful boarding school in France didn't endear her to me either.

Meanwhile, St. Clair is an asshole. No other way to say it. He spends the entire book leading Anna on when he already has a girlfriend while also discouraging any guys who show interest in Anna and that is the sign of a guy who isn't worth any girl's time. He doesn't like change? Too bad. How much I care is less than or equal to zero. I feel he would have done something about it much earlier than he did if she really mattered to him. Seeing him be praised as THE BEST GUY EVER makes me want to find a trash can.

I estimate that I began skimming somewhere around page 100 and didn't stop until the book ended. Everyone good pronouncing Anna and St. Clair to be the best people ever when they're not was too annoying to sit through for long. I wanted them to be together solely so no one else had to deal with being in a relationship with them. If they can tolerate each other's crap, why not let them? It saves other people the pain of having to deal with it.

This book is very, very lucky I'm gifting it two stars and not just throwing one badly-constructed star at it. The cheesy, soapbox-like way homosexuality is declared okay and slut shaming is declared wrong (but only when it's Anna being called a slut; all the other girls are fair game and this hypocritical position is yet another reason why I hate this book) made me want to give the book only one star, but with writing this great, I couldn't. Anna and the French Kiss should consider itself lucky.

Recommendations of well-written, non-offensive fluff, please? I'm a little tired of being negative.

2 stars!


What am I reading next?: The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

6 comments:

  1. I've put off reading this because I'm not a fan of infidelity or characters that are upset about being in a first-world country. However I'll be looking out for other novels by Stephanie Perkins. Maybe I can find something better.

    No recommendations. Sorry! I don't usually read much of fluff, and when I do, I chose the wrong books. Thank you for the review!

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  2. Mmmhmmm! Thank goodness for this review. I read this a few weeks ago based on rave reviews and the promise of a cute romance. And while I didn't HATE Anna and the French Kiss, I wasn't impressed. I definitely agree.

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  3. Although I wouldn't exactly call the Dairy Queen books fluff, they do use a lighter, chattier tone to describe some complex depictions of growing up. I've also heard some good things about the Georgia Nicolson books. I don't know if you've already read either of those series.

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  4. Haha I love this review! I think it is the first negative review I have ever seen of 'Anna'. I thought it was average- bit angsty.

    P.S- I only just found your blog and I love that it has cats and feminism- MY TWO FAVOURITE THINGS :-P x

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  5. Thank you so much for your review! I hated St. Clair's treatment of his girlfriend and cannot believe how many bloggers still swoon over him. I didn't think Lola and the Boy Next Door was better but I'd still be interested to read your thoughts about it :)

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  6. I was about to give this book a try when I came across a review that had similar problems with the book. Then, after talking to others who had read it and loved it, I was almost re-convinced to try it. But now, reading this, it sounds like a book I would end up hating. I don't understand how so many people like it and, like you said, say how great St. Clair is. So now I'm back on the "I'll skip it" side...

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I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!