Sunday, 8 January 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: Anna and the French Kiss

I am attempting to read 100 books in this year, and I'll be reviewing as many as I can along the way. My first year at college might stop me but, wish me luck! This is book number 1 (as you can see I was reading all through new years day)

Book Number: 1
Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Date of Completion: 1/1/2012 (Happy new years all!)
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Well so far Anna and the French Kiss is the best book I've read in 2012 (it also happens to be one of 5 books I've read in 2012 XD! but it'd probably be in my Top 5 or Top 10 of 2011 reads anyway. This novel would fall under the YA Realistic Fiction. Like many before me, I would say that this should be a compulsory read for all teenage girls. It covers many things that your average teenage girl would go through. It isn't too heavy for reluctant readers, and even the avid readers would enjoy it (unless every word has to be instilled with meaning for you). Don't be fooled by that horrible title, this book is gold! You'd need some pretty good excuses to avoid reading these books (I'm looking at you hipsters of the reading world). I can't wait to read Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After!

Why I Read it: Some of my friends were talking about how good it was and saying it was a YA romance unlike Twilight.

Summary: Anna Oliphant is less than thrilled to find that her dad has sent her to a boarding school in Paris  forced to leave behind her sweet little brother Seany, best friend Bridget and an almost-relationship with the cute boy at work, Toph. Things start looking up at the School of America in Paris (SOAP) when she meets Etienne St Clair  who seems to have it all (including a serious girlfriend) after all this is the City of Lights. A year of new beginnings, trial, tribulations and heartbreaks will Anna get her happily ever after? A great book that all teenage girls will enjoy.

The Characters:
Anna - Our main character is lovable, funny, and average (I don't tolerate dem Mary-Sue kinds). The best thing about Anna (and the book) is that she is relatable - she wants what is best for her, but often she doesn't know what that is or how to get it and sometimes goes about it the wrong way (dating Dave to get back at St Clair). Also unlike the majority of YA female leads, she doesn't whine too much.("Oh boo hoo, i have like, a mega-flat chest, and no car, and did I mention my flat chest! Whinety-whine-whine!)

Etienne St Clair - Our drool-able love interest. He's smart, good-looking, funny, and has a British accent and good hair!! And since I know the appeal of a British boyfriend, I can totally empathize with Anna (except my boyfriend doesn't say Pants as in rubbish). Although he has many good qualities he is certainly no Gary-Stu(I don't tolerate them either): he is short, unwilling to change, kinda clingy, there is lots of competition for him and he is dunDunDUNN a cheater (very unattractive).

Mer and Rashmi - Anna's girl friends in SOAP. Mer is her first friend in Paris and quickly gets Anna into her group, she's an all-round nice girl but she too fancies St Clair (le gasp, competition). Unfortunately for the reader (or at least me) there is a chunk of the book where all of Anna's friends are kind off replaced with St Clair. But soon after she gets closer to Rashmi and realizes that she's not so different after all.

Bridget - Anna's best friend from home. Although she mainly features in emails you can tell that she is a fun, friendly person with a flair for vocabulary and drumming who is quite similar to Anna. Although she is made worse by **SPOILERS AHEAD:** not telling Anna about her relationship with Toph and kinda turning Seany against Anna. **END SPOILERS**

Josh - Rashmi's boyfriend, Etienne's mate, friendly, really funny and he's an artist, artists FTW! **SPOILERS AHEAD:** I'm glad he breaks up with Rashmi in the end, they just didn't seem like a very good couple at that point, also I hope he'll feature as the boy in Isla and the Happily Ever After, they'd make a cute couple. **END SPOILERS**

Toph - Well firstly, from the moment I heard his name I thought of Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender (please tell me I'm not the only one who did that) and ever since then I've been picturing him as and older, male, non-blind version of her with the same bangs as Toph has (frankly the image I made of him is quite hot) but this did prevent me from seeing him with sideburns. But seriously, this guy is a douche. He led Anna on by kissing her when he didn't even like her(which made her confused, which gave her less time for ST CLAIR) and then he **SPOILERS AHEAD:** goes ahead and dates her best friend and continues to email Anna as if nothing's changed, and when he chooses to tell her, it is in such a blatant and rude manner (DON'T SCREW THE GIRL COS I ALREADY AM!! yeah, thanks for the notice ><)**END SPOILERS**

Ellie and Amanda - Ellie already has Anna's dream position, St Clair's girlfriend. She seems nice enough, and like St Clair she isn't really that into the relationship but is too afraid of change to dump him (not to mention the dealio with St Clair's mum). Amanda is the mean popular girl at Anna's new school and I think she is more accurate and less exaggerated than most of the mean queen-bee in most realistic fiction. She is the right amount of b*tchy, up-herself, whiny, and arrogant for her part.

The Plot
The plot is great because it is so relate-able (mentioned it before, but seriously it is the best part), it covers heaps of things that so many teenage girls have been through: crushes, moving away from your family, facing unfamiliar places on your own, making friends, dealing with popular b*tches, drinking and partying, romance mishaps, jealousy, cheating, romantic competition, etc.(not saying these have all happened to me BTW). 

The Writing
The writing in 1st person and was fun and simple. I for one prefer 1st person, but this Anna and the French Kiss isn't too much for those who don't like 1st person as much. It wasn't too fancy so that the reluctant readers could also get into this (and then even more books! Mwahahaha converting the population into readers). It's gentler than Meg Cabot's works but quite similar (read: hilarious)

Recommendation: All female teens, no seriously they should all read it.

Quote: “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” -Anna

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