My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Home isn’t a place. It’s a person. And we’re finally home.”
I’m probably the last person on the planet to read Anna and the French Kiss, and I’m such an idiot for waiting! There were several times over the last year where I would read the summary, decide to pick it up, and then for one reason or another, I’d get sidetracked. Well, this last week, I was craving something light, funny, and swoony…and this book 100% hit the mark! Within the first few pages I was all in, completely invested in the story and the heroine, and prepared to check out of my life for a couple days in order to finish reading. And that’s *exactly* what happened. Anna and the French Kiss is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read so far this year! I give this story ALL THE STARS, and I’ll recommend it FOREVER!
I ADORE Anna Oliphant! She’s hilarious, smart, snarky, and such a great friend! Anna is also neurotic and OCD, but I love this about her too. She knows pretty much who she is and what she wants out of life, and Anna will make no apologies about it. I enjoy watching her adjust to life in Paris and deal with family and friends on both sides of the Pond.
And then Etienne St. Clair…darling Etienne…I’m so mad at everyone who has read this book and NOT told me about this guy and how swoony he is! Etienne’s charisma jumps off the page…but beyond his charm, there’s a lot of depth to his character. I love that he’s American and British and French, and that he loves his Mom and is a history buff. Etienne is totally my new fave book boyfriend!
It’s so clear that from their first meeting, Etienne and Anna have an interesting road ahead of them. Their friendship is so sweet, and their interactions and tet-a-tet spark. Even though Etienne has a girlfriend, I have NO qualms about hoping/wishing for he and Anna to act on their feelings for one another. But, of course, nothing is ever that simple, especially in high school!
Some of my fave moments:
1. This book has so much humor! From early on, there are many moments where I’m cackling out loud like a crazy person! For example:
”The only French word I know is oui, which means “yes,” and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-u-i and not w-e-e.” BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!
“He thinks I’d date a guy like Hercules?…and yes, that’s his real name. And even though he’s sweet and knows more about Japanese horror films than anyone, he also has a ponytail. A ponytail.” *giggles*
“Soon the selection is down to me, Rashmi, and a skinny dude who, for whatever reason, is called Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger is always wearing this expression of surprise, like someone’s just called his name, and he can’t figure out where the voice is coming from.” BWAHAHAHAHAH!
2. I love Anna’s love of films! I love seeing her passion, which is pretty profound:
“Some people are finicky about going to the theater alone, but I’m not. Because when the lights go down, the only relationship left in the room is the one between the movie and me.”
3. Anna and Etienne are sensational, but there are also some awesome supporting characters. I think Mer, Rashmi, and Josh are fantastic friends.
And while I don’t really care for the parental units (particularly the father figures), I think observing Anna and Etienne’s respective relationships with their parents adds a lot to the story.
Also, Toph and Bridge can suck it…even though I eventually forgive Bridge.
4. Callipygian ;))))))))))
5. The moments between Anna and Etienne where their friendship crosses into the romance zone are so fantastic and swoony:
-Etienne telling Anna she has perfect hair…
-Anna doing research so she can talk to Etienne about his Mom’s illness…
-Over Thanksgiving when they share a bed because Etienne hasn’t been able to sleep well…
-When Anna returns from winter break and he’s no longer St. Clair…he’s her Etienne:
“How could I have ever for a moment believed I wasn’t in love with him…It’s a physical sickness. Etienne. How much I love him.” :””’)
-Their first kiss…
E: “If you ask me to kiss you, I will.”
A: “Kiss me.”
“He does…We are kissing like crazy. Like our lives depend on it. His tongue slips inside my mouth, gentle, but demanding, and it’s nothing like I’ve ever experiences, and I suddenly understand why people describe kissing as melting because every square inch of my body dissolves into his. My fingers grip his hair, pulling him closer. My veins throb and my heart explodes. I have never wanted anyone like this before. Ever…All I want is Etienne.”
Anna and Etienne face several of obstacles–a few of which result from their own miscommunication–but in the end, they’re able to find their way to each other and it’s so lovely:
“He pulls me onto his lap, and I wrap my legs around his waist. His lips are velvet soft, and we kiss until the street lamps flicker outside. Until the opera singer begins her evening routine…
A: “I’m going to miss her.”
E: “I’ll sing to you. Or I’ll take you to the opera. Or I’ll fly you back here to visit. Whatever you want. Anything you want.” *SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON*
By the end I’m a basket-case of feels…weeping and flailing from all the love and joy and funny!
Anna and the French Kiss is excellent! I recommend this to those who are looking for something contemporary, hilarious, charming, and romantic. And don’t let the fact the main characters are in high school deter you; they may be young, but they deal with issues that are common to all of us, regardless of age–friendship and family dynamics, first love, unrequited love, disappointment, betrayal, and forgiveness. If you haven’t read this book, you absolutely have to; I promise you’ll love it too!