Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
The beginning of this book--the transition of Anna to her new Parisian elements--took too long. Perkins could have established Anna at the new school, introduced us to her friends, and grounded her in the world much more succinctly in order to create rising tension from the get go. Perhaps I'm being ruined by reading so many more adventurous (whether it be paranormal, mystery, urban fantasy, etc.) genres lately. But I LOVE contemporary and always have. So I persevered. Plus I'd heard fabulous things about this novel and it's rocking 4.3/5 stars on Good Reads.
And then it happens. Just like crushes in high school do. One day there's not much going on and then a tornado sweeps through and we're being carried away. That's what this book does to you, only unlike a tornado you don't see it coming. One day I was starting to grow a little bored with it and then the next I found myself lying in bed well past my bedtime to find out if FINALLY St. Clair and Anna will get together already!!!
Once Anna and St. Clair's relationship grows some legs, we're thrown into the "does he or doesn't he like me?" question full force. Perkins perfectly portrays the world of mixed signals, close calls, and the sighs and highs of first love. All in all it's a fun and entertaining read with great food references and splashes of Parisian sights. To make things even more tasty, St. Clair has the seemingly perfect combination of all things: great Hollywood hair, confidence yet also vulnerability, an extensive vocabulary (for us nerds out there), a British accent, and fluent in French. *swoon* Extra huge bonus points too because he gives Anna a book by my absolute favorite poet Pablo Neruda.
As more and more YA novels seem to portray teen characters acting like adults, this novel felt very authentically high school to me.
What good books have you read lately?