Annaâ€™s voice was strong, clear, and consistent from beginning to end. I knew exactly who she was, what she wanted, and even what she wanted to be when she â€œgrew up.â€ Her idiosyncrasies and insecurities made her authentically adolescent. She was easy to relate to and downright likable. Although not a saint, the fact that she wouldnâ€™t go after a boy who was already taken gave her integrity and made me root for her. If Anna were a real person, I would want to be her friend – one of the many reasons I couldnâ€™t put this book down (I mean, turn my Kindle off).
All the other characters in the book rang true as well. Best of all, Annaâ€™s love interest was honest, real, and anything but the archetypal tall, dark, and handsome male. He was a friend first – a real friend – which is a refreshing take on a love story.
As for the setting, there was something magical about Ms. Perkinsâ€™ presentation of France, something that, when contrasted heavily with Annaâ€™s return to America, made me really want to visit Paris! From the food to the films to the quaint cafes and shops, I was excited to explore the city with Anna and her friends.
When it comes to wit and humor, Anna and the French Kiss had it. Both Annaâ€™s external foibles and her interpretations of life were laugh-out-loud funny. But while she and her friends were still high schoolers, they also had class. Â Their tastes were more refined than what mine were as a teenager, and their topics of conversation more sophisticated than weekend plans or whoâ€™s going out with whom. This made them constantly interesting to read about.
As for experiencing the story in first person present tense, I loved it! It made me appreciate everything Anna lived through in the most immediate and intimate sense. What better way to get inside the head of the protagonist than to have her tell you everything as itâ€™s happening, instead of as a memory, far removed from the here and now?
I will admit, Anna and the French Kiss was recommended highly, so there was a lot to live up to. But the story did not disappoint. It was smart and funny and more than anything, full of heart. I know I love a book when, upon reading the last sentence, I flip back to Chapter 1 to start over. Â And thatâ€™s exactly what I did with Anna.
AnnaÂ Sargeant lives with her husband and dog in Austin, TX, where she writes curriculum for a living. She enjoys watching movies, traveling, and eating out, like most Austinites. She and Magan have been close friends for five years. They meet every Friday to catch up on life and try to get a little work done.