Anna and the French Kiss


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Blurb:

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken--and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?

Review:

I distract him with a story about the time I broke my arm playing Peter Pan. It turned out there was more to flying than thinking happy thoughts and jumping out a window. 

Lately, I've been feeling like I haven't read enough cute, cheesy, lighthearted, and ultimately fun (romance) books this summer. At least not enough I've enjoyed - especially considering that I usually like this kind of stuff - particularly during summer. And therefore, you know, as you tend to do, I spontaneously planned on reading this book after recently stumbling across it by pure chance. After all, the majority of people who've read this book loved it. But, alas, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I don't think it's a bad book, it just also isn't really all that great.

First and foremost, I was really annoyed by Étienne. I mean, sure, he seemed like a nice guy most of the time but then he did this thing where he doesn't break up with his girlfriend for like eight months even though he knows that he has feelings for someone else. I don't care how insecure and afraid you are some basic decency should definitely prevent such a situation. Seriously.

Additionally, I didn't really care for Anna. She just wasn't all that interesting made worse by the fact that she didn't even seem know that much about movies? Like, sure, I can be a total cinema-cretin sometimes but even I'm aware of the tremendous importance of cinema in France (a first clue: Le Festival de Cannes and that's ignoring historic events like the first screening of a Lumières' film in Paris). 
Basically, I've always felt that people are much more interesting when they're genuinely excited/passionate about things (it doesn't even matter what things - if you want to rejoice about trees for two hours I'll happily listen to that and find you at least twice as endearing as before) but Anna just never seems to care all that much about movies. She doesn't seem to ever talk about it (and when she, apparently, does that's entirely cut out of the book), she isn't even interested in foreign movies. Get a grip, girl, even I've watched some french movies with subtitles and I simply enjoy movies without wanting to be a professional reviewer.

Furthermore, I felt like choosing Anna as narrator was a real flaw of the story because she always saw herself/other girls as totally imperfect/slutty but guys who were proclaimed to be douche-bags just continued to seem okay (relatively)? I don't know how to explain it, so here are some examples with some spoilers: Rashmi, who's basically always nice to Anna, is kinda portrayed as this annoying, snotty character; Ellie who doesn't really ever show up in this book is a stupid slut (just like every other girl who's interested in Étienne); Toph is, apparently (everyone else says so), a total asshole but doesn't ever do anything wrong from Anna's perspective (it's all somehow okay); Dave who is, apparently, a total asshole, too, also doesn't ever do anything wrong (Spoilers: until he suddenly turns super-mean and starts spreading lies and … stuff. But that happened waaay after Monsieur St. Clair has already deemed him inferior in character. Spoilers over) Does that make sense?

Well, obviously, most of these "problems" I had are very subjective but I can't help but feeling that they kinda ruined this book for me. I smiled only once, I became slightly giddy maybe twice (I tend to be squeamishly giddy when I actually care about people and their relationships) and the rest of the time I was more or less indifferent. Well, some of the "sad" parts did somewhat almost touch me. The happy ending, though, I found intensely boring.

"Huh?" I have such a way with words. I should write epic poetry or jingles for cat food commercials.

Rating:

If you haven't guessed yet: 3/5 stars. To be fair: It was an engaging read and I hardly noticed the hours flying past.
Update:
Actually, I just decided to lower my rating to 2/5 stars. After a couple of days thinking over it, 3 stars just seems like way too much credit.

Details:

Name: Anna and the French Kiss
Deutscher Titel: Herzklopfen auf Französisch
Series: Anna an the French Kiss (though, seeing as they're all stand-alone books I'm inclined to treat them as such – meaning: if I ever stumble across another one of these I might read them but if not I'm not going out of my way to find them just to finish this series)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 372
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (Deutsche Ausgabe - Das Cover hiervon ist übrigens das lustigste Photoshop-Chaos das ich jemals gesehen habe, ernsthaft, mit 12 hätte ich das gleich gut hinbekommen können. Klar, das Englische Cover ist auch schrecklich, aber das Deutsche?)

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