Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Anna had everything planned. Her senior year was going to be amazing. She had an awesome best friend and a guy who was heading towards being her boyfriend. Everything was looking good.
Then her dad decided to use his daughter to increase his status. A famous writer of schlock about-to-die books (you know the ones where the woman finds romance, discovers she has cancer, spends her last days in love, and croaks at the end), he wants to send his daughter to a boarding school in Paris in order to help bump up his reputation in the states.
Unable to fight him, Anna is shipped off and now must figure out how to live and study in France even though she's only ever taken Spanish in school and she's absolutely horrible at learning new languages.
Fortunately, Anna has a great new friend in the girl next door who gives her a built-in group of friends. And with those friends comes Étienne St. Claire. He's gorgeous. He's smart. And he has a great accent. There seems to be great chemistry. If only he didn't have that pesky long-term girlfriend with him.
Can Anna learn to live and love in the city that is built for that kind of thing?
Final thoughts: Great teen romance. Anna is realistic and funny. She has a great voice and her problems are real. Most people would be ecstatic to spend a year in France, but Anna's reasons for being unhappy are honest and unforced. Perkins has done a great job making the story real. My only issue has to do with Étienne's problems and his handling of the whole girlfriend vs. the love of his life issues.