Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Valentine’s Day Review)

Anna and the French Kiss Fanart

When I first saw the title of this book, my hopes weren’t too high. But, since I am a firm believer of “don’t judge a book by its cover”, I decided to check it out anyways. This book is PERFECT to read while curled up in your bedroom on Valentine’s Day. It fills your life with imaginary romance and constructs in your brain exactly how it feels like to be in love. The actual novel isn’t too great, but the feelings that it evokes are. However, I also took away a feeling of longing from this novel, which might not be a great feeling for a single girl all alone on the “Day of Love”.

The author decided to construct the typical fantasy of a teenage girl: a handsome boy with gorgeous hair and a British accent. Even though this kind of character is bound to work on the hormones of teens, I wish the author would make a bigger effort in distinguishing her work from countless others in the teenage romance genre. It’s more alluring and appealing to find someone who doesn’t fit the normal mold of “hot teenage boy”, because then the reader doesn’t know what to expect. With a stereotypical character like that, the author could at least have added some unusual facets of him that the reader initially doesn’t know to keep them intrigued. However, the author probably found it safer to stroll down the cliche path and create “Mr. Perfect”, who doesn’t have many flaws and has everything that can make a girl swoon. As a reader, I knew exactly what he was going to do in every situation, because characters like him are found everywhere, thus making him predictable and boring. Although playing it safe is not necessarily bad, it definitely has no affect on sparking the reader’s imagination and curiosity.

One thing I did love, though, was her character development for Anna. She wasn’t one of those mindless characters who throw themselves at any attractive guy they meet. She had a personality, which we can see exploding out of every single dialogue she said and every thought that crossed her mind. She was a movie buff, and the author made sure that the reader knew that by pouring her love for cinema throughout her thoughts and actions. She was a neat freak, and the author implanted that aspect of her into everything. The author never forgot the little quirks of her character and never let the reader forget, either. Anna makes mistakes, but her mistakes are paralleled by Etienne St. Clair. Since most of the teen romantic novels have the girl as the main character, it is often portrayed like the girl is the only one who has trouble expressing her feelings and is the only one making mistakes in the relationship. Anna is realistic in this book and constantly acknowledges that both of them are at fault, which gives the reader a less biased and more realistic view of a relationship. Through Anna, the readers can see that in a relationship, it’s okay to not be perfect, because perfection is impossible, and anyone who looks for it will bound to end up alone.

This novel was very romantic, but also very inclusive of the reader. When I was reading, it was almost like I was somehow transported into the story. When Anna did something embarrasing (which happened QUITE often), I would be cringing and whispering “why would you do that?” to the open pages. When something romantic happened between Anna and Etienne, I would be holding my breath while smiling. When something infuriating occured, I would shut the book and pace around my room, only to sit back down and pick it up again. I think it’s the romantic side of me, but I was very happy throughout my reading of this book, because I felt like her memories were my memories, and that I was shedding my boring, plain life for her amazing, beautiful one. The main purpose of a teenage novel is to be an escape from reality and the horribly dull life that teens today have, and I believe that this book fulfilled that  purpose perfectly.

While this isn’t a masterpiece, and the author surely isn’t one of my favorites, it is a great romantic novel to read if you don’t want to feel so alone. There are flaws in the book, and the plot was unnecessarily long and complicated, but it fits the teenage mind. Young girls will easily eat this novel up and enjoy it due to the romantic, wishful side of themselves. I understand why it’s a bestseller, but that doesn’t mean that I think that it’s good. I think that the reason why I enjoyed it so much was because of her romance that secretly all teenage girls desire. That wishful side of me wants me to say that this book is perfect, but I can’t. It is the ideal novel to read for Valentine’s Day, but I wouldn’t read it if you wanted to catch a taste of real, masterful writing.

My Rating:

4 Stars

Life Lessons Taken Away:

  • Just because life knocks you down doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
  • You must forgive others to receive forgiveness yourself.
  • Running away from your problems won’t make them disappear. In fact, without you there to fight them, they’ll only get bigger.

3 thoughts on “Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Valentine’s Day Review)

  1. Umbreen says:

    Glad you enjoyed the novel, even if it was predictable! I haven’t read it, but I’ve been hearing a lot about it and was excited to hear what you had to say about it. I’m not typically into romance novels, but this one has been getting a lot of attention lately, so I just might pick it up one of these days. 🙂


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