Chelle gave this book to me not long after she read it, with a casual – whenever you get the chance – no pressure.” So, I should have taken note. But, I was busy applying for a new job and then preparing for an interview. After I got said job, I was too busy with that and then reading some required Westerns. Several stomach bugs and colds later I decided a nice romance in Paris might be nice. This was so much more than that. What on earth was I waiting for!
Anna Oliphant has been sent away to boarding school in Paris. She misses her mother, younger brother, best friend and potential love interest all back in Atlanta. Her writer father who sent her to Paris – not so much. Anna is a budding film critic with a website where she posts her reviews. Her life takes a turn when she walks straight in to Etienne St. Clair an American with a French father and a British accent. Swoon worthy, too. It sounds like a recipe for one inflated ego, but St. Clair is nice. He’s annoyed by the fawning girls and friendly to the unpopular. St. Clair helps Anna overcome some of her insecurities about Paris and enables her to be more independent. But, Mr. Perfect does have a few faults like a girlfriend named Ellie.
I was smitten with Anna from the first paragraph. She’s a strong character, smart and funny but with enough flaws to make her easy to identify with. Plus, it’s Paris! If I had read this book as a teenager, my brain would have exploded! I would have been begging my parents to send me to SOAP. It’s hard to write much more without spoiling and gushing, so I’m just going to give you a list instead of reasons why I felt such a connection to the book. I’m sorry it’s so “all about me,” but I’m hoping it will be a little teaser without ruining the experience of reading Anna.
8 Connections to Anna and the French Kiss
1) I was obsessed with all things French as a teenager. Every report in my European History class was about France.
2) I had a poster of Napoleon on the front of my bedroom door (see #1). I’m not kidding. I actually think that I took down a door-sized poster of James Dean to put it up much to my mother’s chagrin.
3) Instead of insuring my parent’s Jeep so that I would have a car to get around, I spent my savings on a second school trip to Paris. I went almost 20 years without driving as a result.
4) I love the books that Anna reads in her English class. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is one of my favorite books and one of the few I’ve read more than once.
5) I love books where they talk about food a lot. Kitchen is the book that really opened my eyes to that.
6) What librarian wouldn’t get excited about a book with a girl who loves the OED. I have always dreamed of finding one at a yard sale for cheap. Hasn’t happened.
7) Neruda is one of my favorite poets (and a lot of other people’s, too!). My husband and I each read one of his love sonnets at our wedding, including the one quoted in this book! It’s a good one.
Finally, Etienne was my favorite boy name in French class.