Wordie Wednesday – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Hey all! I announced yesterday on the facebook fan page that I’d be starting a weekly feature on the blog, and that it would take place each Wednesday.  As a clue, I noted that the name of the feature was alliterative with Wednesday.  There were lots of great guesses, mostly focusing on Weddings, but nobody quite got it.  My new feature is named… Wordie Wednesdays!

You see, I received my bachelor’s and master’s in English.  I love to read, and at my pinnacle was reading at least a 100 books a year, if not more.  These days, I read about 50.  After I read a great novel I have an incredible itch to share my excitement with everyone I know, so here it is– my little weekly soapbox to rave (or rant, perhaps?) about one of the loves of my life, books.

Today I’m going to talk about Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss.  Perkins is relatively new to the scene– Anna was her first novel and it debuted in 2010– but she writes as if she’s been doing so for years.  I almost didn’t pick this one up, as I tend to steer clear of YA romances, as they’re not my thing, but John Green, one of my very favorite authors, had said it was one of his favorite books of the year.  After hearing such high praise, I got a copy and COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  There’s not many books I longingly think about and ache to get back to.  That, in a few words, was my experience with Anna and the French Kiss.

Anna, the daughter of a famous romance author, akin to Nicholas Sparks, is sent off to boarding school in France for her last year in high school.  This feels like punishment to Anna, who wants to stay at home with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the local movie theater.  But then she meets Etienne, an irresistible student at her new school, and her life suddenly becomes much more interesting and complicated.

The reason this novel works so well as a romance is because the pair do not instantly fall in love– it is an undercurrent that simmers and boils from start to finish, and is so fraught with tension that I felt it pulling at my heartstrings and knotting my stomach.  And Anna grows tremendously throughout the book, learning how to be independent and developing a sense of self that is irresistable.  Anna is not waiting to be rescued by a man, and even though this novel would be characterized as a romance, it is also a coming of age novel.

Run, not walk, to your local bookseller or library and check our this book.  I hope you love it as much as I did.

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