by Stephanie Perkins.
Published by the Penguin Group, 2010.
Yes it’s a love story. Yes it’s for teenage girls. And no, there’s not a vampire in sight!
Few romances written for teenage girls are easy to recommend. Their plots are often weak and predictable, their characters shallow and vacuous. Anna and the French Kiss breaks the mould and provides a breath of fresh air in the teen romance genre.
The plot is simple but provides plenty of opportunity for the obligatory twists and turns necessary to keep a romance interesting. Anna Oliphant is sent from her hometown of Atlanta to spend a year at the School of America in Paris. There she meets fellow student Étienne St Clair who is one part English, one part French, one part American and three parts gorgeous. He also happens to have a girlfriend. He and Anna become close friends and their obvious attraction casts a simmering tension over the story. This is classic boy meets girl, but written with style and substance . Anna is a witty, down-to earth but classy and intelligent leading lady and the supporting characters provide plenty of colour and help the plot move along nicely.
I first heard about Anna and the French Kiss at a conference last year, when a colleague was giving a presentation of great reads for kids and teens. She said that she couldn’t put this book down. After having read it, I have to agree. More importantly, my teenage daughters aged fourteen and sixteen both read Anna and the French Kiss in two days, with one declaring it is now her favourite book. High praise indeed.
It seems like I’m off to my local bookseller to buy the companion novel Lola and the Boy Next Door, and I can hazard a guess that I’ll be queuing up in a year or so to buy tickets to the movie adaptation – Hollywood will also find it impossible not to love this book.
Recommended for ages 14+.
Watch the book trailer here: