I picked up Anna and the French Kiss mostly because I like reading Stephanie Perkins’s blog. Natural/Artificial (that’s the name of the blog) is a lovely little slice of the interwebs that encourages me to keep writing and to be a kinder human being. Everything from the stylish blue stripe in Stephanie’s hair to the adorable invitation beneath her picture that says, “I like you. Let’s be friends,” makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside as if all of the cynicism and mistrust of normal life never existed. And Anna and the French Kiss is a perfect extension of that warmth and optimism.
YA romance is just about the last genre on my list to read (mostly because I’m a snob), but I have to admit that Anna and Etienne kept me interested for all 372 pages. Anna’s voice is one that could easily have become cliche and annoying, what with her saying things like, “It’s official. There’s nothing worth living for.” Yet Perkins manages to portray such common teenage angst without ever alienating the reader. The romantic tension was relatable without losing its over-the-top, love conquers all optimism.
That being said, I recommend Anna and the French Kiss to readers who are looking for a light, encouraging read. It isn’t by any means literary fiction. It isn’t a book to be analyzed and contemplated. It’s nothing more than a teenage love story. If you expect that from it, you won’t be disappointed.