Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've seen this book listed on many people's favorites lists for a while. After reading it, I can understand why. There is a lot to like about this book, even if it wasn't an absolute home run based on my personal tastes. It's a straight up romance and it really does well doing that thing. It's also a bit of a travel book. Paris is very much a character in the story. I'm not always too crazy about an author trying to show off everything they know about a foreign location, but this didn't feel that way at all. I enjoyed Anna's experience in Paris right along with her. I never felt excluded or like I was looking in from the outside. Main characters often have a hobby or interest that dominates their personality and Anna's interest in becoming a film critic was also handled nicely. The characters of the story were well written and multi-dimensional. The conflicts didn't feel manufactured and the will-they-won't-they was balanced in a realistic way. The author has an authentic voice. I cared about Anna and St. Clair pretty equally which can be difficult to accomplish, especially in a first person perspective.
My only minor complaint is one of personal preference. Even in a purely contemporary, romance, YA book, I like a little action. The stakes were never much beyond getting that kiss in by the end of the book. There were some secondary conflicts but it was easy to see they would be resolved happily by the end. Fortunately, the writing was such I could overlook the linear story line without much trouble because Anna was a very appealing character and her adventure in France was one I was glad to tagging along for.
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