OK, so I totally get, now, why everyone (EVERYONE) on the blogosphere geeks out every time Anna and the French Kiss comes up. It is unequivocally, entirely, absolutely adorable.

Anna is a high-school senior who’s sent–unwillingly–off to Paris to attend boarding school. She’s frustrated to be leaving her friends, and feels like her father, a famous schmaltzy novelist, just wants her to go so he can prove how wealthy he is. Anna’s a little shy, a little unsure about the whole experience, and after three years of high-school Spanish, she doesn’t speak a lick of French!

It turns out, Anna acclimates quickly, with the help of a new group of friends…including St. Clair. He’s attractive, yes, but charming for some non-traditional reasons. He also has a girlfriend. Will they? Won’t they? I’ll let you read it and find out for yourselves. (OF COURSE THEY DO. YAY!)

I really enjoyed all of the characters in Anna. Anna, herself, is thoughtful, kind, and loyal. Her friends are good people, who support each other and try hard to get along without too much drama. Meredith was a nice touch–it seems like we don’t get many athletic girls highlighted in YA fiction, for whatever reason, and she wasn’t just a stock character–and Rashmi was intriguingly complicated. I’m excited we’ll get more of Josh in Isla and the Happily Ever After, since I felt we learned the least about him.

Perkins’ writing is delightful. The story unfolds at an easy pace, but the emotional values are honest and develop realistically. Anna and St. Clair did go through maybe one more round of misunderstandings than I wanted–I was getting antsy!–but it wasn’t enough to put me off. Their story is appropriately swoony, and I recognized an awful lot of my own version of first love in it. Honestly, after some of the heavier reading I’ve been doing lately, Anna was just what I needed. I read it in one sitting, and went on to pick up Lola and the Boy Next Door immediately (which is entirely different in some ways, but I love it just as much)!

If you’re looking for a fun, happy read that’ll make your heart sing, Anna and the French Kiss is for you!

A bit of language confined to a couple of angry exchanges. Otherwise clean and pretty darling. This one would get by with a PG-13 rating. 4 stars.

4 Stars

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