***Warning! Spoilers ahead!***
Anna is sent to France for her Senior year of high school, at the demand of her sappy melo-drama novelist father. He insists it will expand her horizons to live abroad. Anna is reluctant at first because she just kind of started a thing with a guy back home. But as fate, and her father, would have it she is destined for France. And for Etienne St.Clair! Yummy British accented, American/French St.Clair.
Anna meets Meredith right away and becomes friends with her, and in turn Meredith's circle of friends, which includes, hunky, kind, intelligent, yummy, delightful, (did I say yummy?), Etienne St. Clair. Anna and him hit it off right away, but soon she finds out he's involved with a girl who graduated from their school last year and is attending a college nearby. So Anna tells herself they can't be anything more than friends, but quickly they are spending more and more time together; going to movies, which is Anna's passion, eating crepes and other delicious things together.
Bad news comes along for St.Clair about his mother, and he finds himself in a funk he can't shake off. His grades slip, he withdraws from his friends, including Anna. His controlling father refuses to let him return to San Francisco to see his mother until Christmas break, and he has to pull up his grades. Anna is worried about him, and the two find themselves mostly alone at the school over Thanksgiving break. She finally coaxes him into his shower and out of the dorms, to see the city and spend some quality time together.
They spend almost every moment together during the few days they have, and Anna feels herself even more drawn to him than before. She thinks he might be too, but he still has that pesky college girlfriend. Plus Anna reminds herself that she kind of has that thing with that guy back home.
As Christmas break draws near they return to see their families. They end up on the same flight out of Paris together, and keep in touch the entire time they're apart. Anna finds out that thing isn't actually anything, as her best friend back home is now officially dating that guy. Anna is upset by this, and causes a rift between her and her best friend. St.Clair gets to spend time with his mother as she's undergoing treatments for her condition.
Eventually they return to the school in Paris, and just as Anna thinks maybe something could be happening with St.Clair, he pulls back and begins spending more time with his college girlfriend. After a period of not talking, tension and hurt feelings they begin to hang out again. This time things really heat up, and St.Clair realizes Anna is the one he wants to be with. There comes a moment, a hot steamy, French romantic moment, where they both realize this and lips collide, oblivious to the world around them. Meredith spots them, and having had a crush on St.Clair since before Anna was in the picture, she becomes upset. St.Clair runs off after her, and Anna doesn't take this well. In fact, she hasn't heard from St.Clair at all in a few days after this amazing moment. She assumes he ran back to his college girlfriend, realizing his mistake.
What Anna doesn't know is that he did run back to her. To tell her it was over. Once he finally finds Anna, at the top of the tower of Notre Dame (conquering his fear of heights to do so), he tells her it's her he wants. Not only is Anna the one for him, but she also helps to solve a big problem for St.Clair. His father.
And let me tell you the kissing that ensues from there is just marvelous.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is amazing, romantic, funny, relatable, exciting and just damn good!
I give it 5 out of 5 stars!
Stephanie Perkins is a gifted YA author, and I can't wait until the release of her next book, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.
In fact, Stephanie will be celebrating the release of her second novel on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at Malaprops in Asheville, NC. The book will be available for purchase, and she will be available to sign it! Please come out and see her. As a fellow North Carolinian, I will be there, with my daughter and my bells on!
Hope to see you there!!