Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?
As the title suggests, Anna and the French Kiss is filled to the brim with adorable romance of the best possible kind: from friends to best friends to something more than that. It’s slow to build and, while that gradual pace may be a bit frustrating at times, it’s true to life and genuinely easy to become invested in.
Our protagonist, Anna, is the perfect balance of optimistic and critically sarcastic, and I loved how entertaining and introspective her thoughts could be. She’s very much an authentic teenage girl: she’s emotional, insecure, critical, and her preoccupation with certain boys causes her to make some silly choices. Despite this, Anna is a very loveable character: she’s passionate about film, and has so many positive, loving relationships with both friends and her family. Anna grows so much over the course of the story, and her journey of self-discovery was just as important as the romantic portion of the plot.
It’s quite easy to understand why everyone (myself included) is absolutely in love with Étienne St. Clair: he’s incredibly caring and sweet, and his swoonworthy words and actions are made even better by the fact that he has an English accent. While he has his flaws and moments of poor decision making, he definitely seemed too good to be true the first time I read this book; by the second time, though, I was struck by an uncanny resemblance to one of my best friends, so I can honestly say that boys like Étienne do actually exist — and they’re certainly no less confusing in real life.
Overall, Anna and the French Kiss is an adorable, fluffy read that certainly lives up to all of the hype surrounding it. Not only is it one of my favourite stories, but it also holds a very special place in my heart since it describes the current portion of my life perfectly (aside from the Paris part, of course). I absolutely cannot wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After!