Thursday, December 2, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss

So  this book is really special to me because the author, Stephanie Perkins, is from my town!!  She's a local writer and we are so proud of this book.  Gayle Forman recommended this book on NPR as one of the best young adult reads of the year - check her list out here.  I couldn't agree more - this was a fun, french, flirty, fabulous read.

Anna is a senior in high school, but her senior year isn't going to be like she thought because her father really famous writer who...

"writes novels set in Small Town Georgia about folks with Good American Values who Fall in Love and then contract Life Threatening Diseases Die." (p. 5)

decides to send Anna to American boarding school in Paris for her senior year.  Don't get it wrong - Paris for a year is an amazing opportunity - but Anna is a bit bummed about leaving her best friend, her job, and the cute boy at her job for a country she knows nothing about - I mean, she took Spanish in high school; she doesn't even know a word of French.

But once she's at school, she makes friends, settles in, and meets the gorgeous Etienne St. Clair.  He's, simply put, just perfect - except that he has a girlfriend.  Anna and St. Clair become friends, have these special moments where she thinks it could be more, and seems to slip away.  But they seem to have this wonderful connection.  One of my favorite passages is about when the gang is all out at the movies.  Anna is sitting next to St. Clair.  She loves movies, but her proximity to this beautiful boy is making it hard to concentrate on the film:

"The characters on the screen are squabbling, but for the life of me, I don't know what about.   How long have I not been paying attention?

St. Clair coughs and shifts again.  His leg brushes against mine.  It stays there.  I'm paralyzed.  I should movie it; it feels too unnatural.  How can he not notice his leg is touching my leg?  From the corner of my eye, I see the profile of his chin and nose, and--oh, dear God--the curve of his lips.

There.  He glanced at me.  I know he did.

I bore my eyes into the screen, trying my best to prove that I am Really Interested in this movie.  St. Clair stiffens but doesn't move his leg.  Is he holding his breath?  I think he is.  I'm holding mine.  I exhale and cringe--it's so loud and unnatural.

Again.  Another glance.  This time I turn, automatically, just as he's  turning away. It's a dance, and now there's a feeling in the air like one of us should say something.  Focus, Anna.  Focus.  "Do you like it?" I whisper.

He pauses.  "The film?"

I'm thankful the shadows hide my blush.

"I like it very much," he says.

I risk a glance, and St. Clair stares back.  Deeply.  He has not looked at me like this before.  I turn away first, then feel him turn a few beats later.

I know he is smiling, and my heart races."

How awesome is that? I mean, I don't really know what to say except I really loved the book.  I loved all the characters.  Yes, it takes place in France, but it's just good kids and a good story.  And the romantic city is a fun get away setting for the reader.  I enjoyed my time in Paris as a read this book.  I usually enjoy boarding school books, too.  It's just fun to read a book and have the fun freedom that the boarding school kids experience.  Anna was just a great girl.  She knows what she wants.  She's got goals and ambitions, but she's just a regular girl, too, hoping for her wishes to come true.  She's in the right city for that!   I recommend it and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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