This is the Rainbow List of Must-Reads: Where I review a different one of my favourite books each week! last on our list we have a pink book with a pink cover:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
It was one in the morning on a school night and I was lying restless on my bed with a throbbing ache in my heart. ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ lay open on the pillow beside me, spine still stiff from the bookshop that day. As I lay sighing at the ceiling, there was only one thing occupying my mind.
Étienne St. Clair.
I was in love. Really in love. I was in love with someone who I had only ever seen in my imagination; who only actually existed on paper. I longed to pull Etienne out from the pages of ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and into my own comparably boring world. This just wasn’t fair! Why are the hot boys always fictitious?!
‘Anna and the French Kiss’ had truly slayed me. Never before had I felt such an ache of yearning when reading a romance novel (and trust me – I’ve read a lot of them). But what was it that made this book so perfect? Let’s analyse shall we?
The Setup: The story follows Anna Oliphant as she is unwillingly pulled from her happy life in Atlanta to go and attend her final year at a prestigious boarding school in Paris. First off – Paris: The city of love. We’ve not even started the book yet and already our heart is melting a little bit. Romantic things just seem to happen in Paris. Maybe it’s the language? You could describe a particularly bad case of athlete’s foot in French and I’d still want you to kiss me under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. Whatever it is, as soon as Perkins so much as mentioned Paris, I was drawn like a moth to a flame.
The Boy: Of course it wouldn’t be Paris if there weren’t a few good-looking chaps floating about, now would it? You simply cannot have one without the other. Our boy takes form as Étienne St. Clair. I’m not sure how she did it, but Perkins somehow manages not only to wedge a French boy into an American boarding school, but give said boy a gorgeous British accent as well. Étienne was the perfect mix of cheek, chivalry and charm, (not to mention, fantastic hair) but somehow didn’t come across as over-the-top or arrogant. Despite being otherwise engaged with long-running girlfriend, Ellie, St. Clair was a love interest you could really lust over, making the rest of the book a tantalizingly tasty read.
The girl: I am a massive fan of teen romance fiction, but usually when I pick up these sorts of books I find the female narrative a little… irritating. Seemingly as some kind of rule the girls who star in these books are self-involved, shallow and little bit too obsessive – I expected a similar situation with ‘Anna and the French Kiss’. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did Anna give a likable and interesting narrative to the book, but she also managed to break every single one of the rule I just stated. Anna cared about her friends and her family back home; she was ready to put them before anything else in her life. As much as she lusted after Étienne St Clair, she also showed an interest in other boys and kept a constant and thriving film blog too.
Sure, maybe Anna fell for Étienne unrealistically fast and a few other details are slightly off, but this is romance fiction, people! It’s what we’re here for! We read this stuff because sometimes real life just isn’t exciting enough. If we start picking apart every detail in a romance novel that’s the slightest bit unrealistic then you might as well chuck the entirety of Waterstones’ teen romance section into a massive bonfire and go and buy a big fat history textbook instead.
The bottom line is if you don’t like romance novels; don’t read ‘Anna and the French Kiss’. It just won’t be for you. It is the most brilliantly, satisfyingly romantic novel I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and it isn’t pretending to be anything else. I regard ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ so highly that there were really no other contenders for the pink spot on this list. The book pushed me into a deep cavern of love and longing that I don’t think I’ll ever really climb out of. Not that I’d even want to try.
Find out more about Stephanie Perkins here!
You can read the other reviews in the Rainbow List of Must-Reads here: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple