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:


Heather said...

Agreed x a billion.

Especially about the part where Paris is a character (I used exactly that phrase to describe it to my writing group! We're having our own tour of ANNA), making fun of Nicholas Sparks, and the no love triangles/OMG teens are actually getting to know each other!! thing.

Love. X a billion.

Cass said...

Wish I had a copy. :/ Glad you enjoyed it though. It's okay. Stalking Stephanie is the trend right now. ;) I love everything you said about the book though. Makes me excited that there are so many cool new authors popping up all over the place. I keep hearing something about this book being released in January that's set in a spaceship...

Jessica Love said...

YAY! I loved this book so hard, for all the reasons you said. So fantastic.

Anonymous said...

AHH. I want to read this book right NOW. Is it December yet? (also: cannot WAIT for your book. Reading the first chapter? TORTURE. Absolute *torture*.)

Fi-chan said...

Superrrrrr awesome post! I haven't read the book, or preorder it, but I think now I finally know why people love this book so much (only as much as someone who hasn't read it can know).

Jade said...

Gah! Has everyone read this book but me? I've decided that I hate reading gushy reviews of this book because then I feel like a jealous old sod.

Me wants! *grabby hands*

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Tameka said...

I seriously could not get enough of this book. Excellent captured my feelings exactly! Stephanie Perkins is perfection!

Myrna Foster said...

I love your review. I've never read anything by Nicholas Sparks, so I didn't make that connection, but it would be funny. Most of my women friends have at least one of his books.

You already know I love Steph and her book.

Anonymous said...

I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, but I'm definitely looking forward to this! It sounds amazing.

Susanne Winnacker said...

I've heard only good things about this book. :)

Amie Kaufman said...

I've been hearing such great things about this--I have a crush on Etienne and I haven't even started the book yet. Can't wait!

Renae said...

I just may have to add this to my list, it sounds amazing! Thanks for the great review!

Hope your rewites go smoothly!

Christine Fonseca said...

Dude, I felt the EXACT SAME WAY when I read it...AMAZING!

DJ D. said...

I absolutely LOVED Anna and the French Kiss! Everything about the book is amazing and I loved the reasons you pointed out. :-)

Elana Johnson said...

I concur with every fiber of my being. I really loved ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.

Lola Sharp said...

I LOVED this book too! For all your well-laid-out reasons. What a thorough and wonderful review!
Well done, Beth. :)


Penelope said...

Wow! I will read this.

Donna Gambale said...

YES! The FNC loves this book! I have a feeling it's going to be a quad-review on our blog because we'll be battling over who gets to review it.

And the whole time I read it I was like, "teehee Nicholas Sparks."

Shannon Messenger said...

YES! Love, love LOVED this book--for all the reasons you listed. It's just perfect--even though the characters aren't. I cannot wait till it comes out so I can buy a copy and read it again!

(And if you're going to stalk someone, Stephanie is an excellent choice. LOVE her!) :)

Lori W. said...

Really like your reviewing style. I smiled and nodded through the whole thing. It sounds like a great book, and yes, refreshing. Thanks for the rec.

Stephanie Perkins said...

No words, Beth.


♥ ♥ ♥

Tina Lynn said...


lotusgirl said...

I've been dying to read this ever since Stephanie sold it. I can't wait for it to come out. Stephanie is a great writer. I'm really excited for her success.

Lydia Kang said...

Great review! And so thorough, I really have a good feeling about it because of what you posted. Thanks!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

I've really been wanting to read this! Can't wait until it gets to me. Excellent review, Beth! Love how you laid it all out. Sounds like such a refreshing look at teen love. And love is my favorite thing in the whole world besides sugar.

Christina Farley said...

Oh I must read this.