“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”
– Stephanie Perkins
Okay. This book. This adorable, lovely little book.
I don’t even know how to put this. Anna and the French kiss is absolutely mesmerising. I am truly, madly, deeply, butt-crazily in love with it.
- A short synopsis: This young adult novel is about a girl named Anna Oliphant. Her dad, who is a famous writer, thinks that it is a good idea to “force” (yeah right, like I’d need anybody to force me to go to France) her to spend her high school senior year in a boarding school in Paris. She is not so hyped about this at first since she has to leave her best friend, Bridgette and this “potential” relationship with a punk-rock boy with sexy sideburns, Tohp, at home in Atlanta. She also doesn’t have a clue about French. The first week of school, she is lucky enough to meet a new amazing group of friends and (literally) tumbles into Étienne St. Clair, an English-French-American guy with a “boyish laugh”, dark brown disheveled hair and “wrinkled shirts”. Unfortunately, he already has a girlfriend and she has Tohp and then things go crazy. I will just leave it at that.
First off, the setting takes place in Paris and let me tell you what will happen when it takes place in Paris, you will fall in love. You will want to ask this book out and go on a date with it, take it home and cuddle the crap out of it. This book captures the hypnotising beauty of France. It’s not just the typical Eiffel Tower touristy version of Paris. It leads us on an adventure around the City of Lights from the very Point Zero to the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter, the Notre Dame de Paris, the Seine River.
And food. Stephanie Perkins describes food so heavenly that my mouth can’t help watering. To those of you who are living in France: lucky you man, lucky you.
“He leads me to a walk-up sandwich stand for a late-night snack. The yeasty smell is mouthwatering, and my stomach growls in anticipation….Crunching through the crusty bread. Letting the warm, gooey cheese run down our chins.”
“One is a tree made from macaroons, round sandwich cookies with crusts as fragile as eggshells and fillings so moist and flavorful that I swoon on sight. The other is an arrangement of miniature cakes, gâteaux, glazed with almond frosting and pressed with sugared pansies”
As if a gorgeous setting and mouth-watering food are not appealing enough, the main characters of this novel, Anna, Étienne St. Clair and their group of friends: Meredith, Rashmi, Josh, are so infinitely hilarious, smart and likeable. Each of them has an unique personality and quirkiness and I JUST WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH THEM but they’re probably too cool for me *tears*.
And St. Clair. OH MY GOD ÉTIENNE ST. CLAIR. *knees trembling* *heart pouding* The whole picture of him is so perfect it’s unreal: a half-American, half-French guy with a British accent, wide brown eyes, perfectly disheveled brown hair, “the kind of person who radiates a natural magnetic field, who everyone is drawn to, who everyone is dazzled by.” The dude also loves history and knows how to clean his room. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HIM? I sort of imagine him like this except for the hair. Isn’t Aaron Johnson just so adorable in this photo?
My all time favourite quote about St. Clair:
Étienne. My feet trip in three syllables. É-ti-enne, É-ti-enne, É-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate.
However, I gave this book a 4.5/5 because there are small parts of over-jealousy that are a bit irritating to me like “I want to grab her Parisian-styled hair and yank it so hard it rips from her skull. I want to sink my claws into her eyeballs and scrape.” Kind of too much for me but Perkins plays it off so well that I sympathise and understand for the character. Stephanie Perkins captures young love and translates it into words so gorgeously and accurately that I can feel the butterflies in my stomach, the pain, the confusion, the jealousy and passion. This book got me giggle like a maniac at 3 in the morning (totally pissed my roommate off.) It proves how powerful (and absolutely adorable) young love can be. The plot also touches some family issues, the importance of friendship and of course, the mesmerising beauty of Paris and the love it always permeates in the air. Also, there is this little thing that I noticed. The chapters are kept short. The book has about 4 to 5 pages per chapter, which personally helps me read faster. Overall, this is a lovely and easy read. I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys this young adult romance genre. Actually I recommend it to EVERYONE. JUST READ IT YOU’RE GONNA LOVE IT I SWEAR.
“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”
– Stephanie Perkins