Anna and the French Kiss
|December 2, 2010|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
Anna and the French Kiss is the 2010 debut novel of Stephanie Perkins. The book was published on December 2, 2010 through Dutton Juvenile and was written during National Novel Writing Month. The book was followed with the sequels Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After.
Of the book and her writing in general, Perkins has stated that she wears a different scent for each book that she writes and that she wore lychee rose while writing Anna and the French Kiss.
Anna Oliphant is a senior in high school who is forced by her father to attend the fictional boarding school 'School of America in Paris' – nicknamed SOAP by students. She is heavily against having to leave Atlanta for Paris, specifically due to leaving her best friend, Bridgette, and Toph, on whom she has a crush. Anna wishes to become a film critic, being a major movie fan. On her first night at SOAP, she meets her next-room-over neighbor Meredith (Mer), who consoles her after finding Anna crying in her room. After Anna leaves Meredith's room, she bumps into a beautiful boy who introduces himself as Étienne St. Clair, and has an English accent. The next morning at breakfast, Mer invites Anna to sit with her and her friends; Rashmi and boyfriend Josh, as well as Étienne from the night before – he is known by everyone as St. Clair.
Anna can neither read nor speak French, leading to St. Clair's assistance in ordering breakfast. She notices St. Clair's popularity amongst the students, mainly as a result of his natural charm. She meets Amanda, who antagonizes her and has a one-sided crush on St. Clair. After breakfast, they all receive their class schedules and begin classes. St. Clair and Anna are appointed as lab partners for the remainder of the year. Anna discovers she is the only senior in Beginning French, but much to her pleasure, there is a junior named Dave, who develops a liking to her. At lunch, Rashmi, Josh, Mer and St. Clair recall embarrassing stories about each other making out, including the Henri incident and English tongue. This causes Anna to feel separated from the group – this increases after she learns that St. Clair has a girlfriend named Ellie, who graduated from SOAP the previous year and is now at Parson's Photography.
Later that night, Anna meets Amanda outside the bathroom waiting in line for the loo, and Amanda makes fun of Anna's hair saying she looks like a skunk. On Saturday Anna bravely orders food from the chef only to find out he can speak near-perfect English. She then learns that it was St. Clair's birthday yesterday but that he doesn't want to make a big deal out of it. Saturday night St. Clair decides to take her out to see the city, whilst out she realizes there are cinemas everywhere, St. Clair can't drive and that he is afraid of heights.
Over the next few weeks Anna and St. Clair become best friends, he doodles on her homework, sits next to her at every meal, teases her about her sneakers, asks about her favorite films, and conjugates her French homework. But Anna knows she wants more... and St. Clair doesn't seem to be denying that there is something growing between them, something more than friendship.
- Anna Oliphant - Main and title character of the novel. Anna gets transferred from Atlanta, Georgia to Paris, France for her senior year of high school (School of America in Paris). She has dark brown hair with a bleached blond stripe through it, and she has a gap between her front teeth that she describes as being "as large as a raisin". She has a love for movies and being a movie critic is her dream job.
- Étienne St. Clair - Commonly called by his last name, Étienne is Anna's main love interest, yet he dates Ellie for the majority of the duration of the book. He was born in the United States, raised in England, and goes to school in Paris. He is described as being short. He has a wicked charm and lots of girls have crushes on him throughout the book because of that and because he is very beautiful. He is afraid of being alone.
- Bridgette Sanderwick - Anna's best friend back home in Georgia. She is the drummer for Toph's band.
- Meredith Chevalier - Anna's friend in Paris. She loves soccer and has a crush on St. Clair. Because of this Anna keeps her crush on him a secret.
- Rashmi Devi - One of Anna's friends at The School of America in Paris. Rashmi is dating Josh.
- Josh Wasserstein - Rashmi's boyfriend and another of Anna's clique at SOAP. He is an artist. He is a junior instead of a senior unlike everyone in Anna's clique.
- Ellen "Ellie" - Étienne St. Clair's steady girlfriend. She is a year older than Anna.
- Amanda Spitterton-Watts - The main antagonist of the story, Amanda is constantly making fun of Anna, because of her good relationship with St. Clair.
- Christopher - Nicknamed Toph, he is Anna's crush before she leaves for SOAP. He had kissed Anna before she left, making her think they had a chance of getting together when she gets back. He begins dating Bridgette, and they don't tell Anna, angering her.
- Sean "Seany" Oliphant - Anna's little brother.
- James Ashley - Anna's father. It was his idea to send her to Paris for her senior year. He is a famous author. His pen name is James Ashley.
Critical reception for the book was generally positive, with NPR naming it one of the "Year's Best Teen Reads" for 2010. Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly both gave positive reviews for the book, with Publishers Weekly praising the audiobook's narration. The School Library Journal gave a lengthy positive review for the novel, with the reviewer citing it as one of their favorite books of 2010. Booklist commented that while the book was "an absorbing and enjoyable read," it also had "predictable crossed-signal plot twists".
- "Published NaNoWriMo Novelists". NaNoWriMo. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "YA or Bust! Hits the Road". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Review: Anna and the French Kiss". Register Guard. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Review: Anna and the French Kiss" (PDF). Horn Book Guide. July–December 2010. p. 108. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Oh, To Be Young: The Year's Best Teen Reads". NPR. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Review: Anna and the French Kiss". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Audiobook Review: Anna and the French Kiss". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Review: Anna and the French Kiss". School Library Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Booklist Review: Anna and the French Kiss". Booklist. Retrieved 11 April 2013.