Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bookanista Feature: Stephanie Perkins's ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins

I wasn't planning on posting this week.

My revisions on Book 2 have turned in rewrites. Panicked OMGosh-MUST-DO-THIS-NOW rewrites. I don't have time to read.

But then I got ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS in the mail from my Bookanista sisters.

I said, "Fine. I'll read the first chapter."

And then two hours and 100 pages DISAPPEARED.

You guys know it's rare for me to feature a contemporary novel. RARE. Well, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is a rare kind of book. Basically, it's a love story. But it's such a good love story.

What ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS has that most other contemporary love stories don't:
  • A very hot boy
    • Who also has flaws and is no where near perfect
  • A very nice girl
    • Who isn't a push-over and is willing to stand up for herself
  • A very beautiful city
    • That's so realistic, it's practically a third main character
  • A plot
    • Yes, really! There's a plot! An actual, interesting plot!
Also: Stephanie Perkins makes fun of Nicholas Sparks. I mean, I guess it's possible that Anna's dad is a completely fictional character, but I like to think of him as Nicholas Sparks.

What ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS doesn't have that most other contemporary love stories annoyingly do:
  • A love triangle
    • I mean, there are other people, but it's realistic teen dating situations, not exactly a love triangle. In other words, it's not like anyone's going to be on any team other than Team Anna and Etienne, and that's....refreshing
  • A plot that hinges on love
    • Isn't that nice? That some things happen other than goo-goo eyes and romantic sighs?
  • Lust taking priority over love
    • C'mon. Let's ask ourselves honestly. Do most teens love each other in stories because they're mutually hot, or because of their winning personalities? In ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, the teens actually, you know, get to know each other before they actually fall in love.

  • If you're a writer, then ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS can teach you to:
    • Show, don't tell
      • Anna's a neat freak. I know this as well as I know Anna. But yanno what? Stephanie never. once. tells me that. Not once. She shows me. 
    • Make setting count
      • Dude. It's Paris. It's Paris. But yanno what made it real? The little things. The jerk in the Euro Disney shirt. The macaroons. The VO tickets at movie theaters.
    • Create plausible secondary characters
      • There's a slew of them. Toph has about ten pages of face time--but he's just as real as Anna and Etienne. To say nothing of Rashmi, Mer, Josh...all superbly done.
    • Follow narrative themes
      • I'll let you discover this one on your own. But I'll just say something in the first chapter comes back in the last. And I adore that sort of thing.

I feel a bit stalkerish of poor Stephanie Perkins--I mean, I kidnapped her website designer to design my site, and I keep bugging her on Twitter, but...even should totally read this book.


Other Bookanista Features Today:

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