Anna and the French Kiss

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Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins

Penguin Group, 2010

“So what do I wish for? Something I’m not sure I want? Something I’m not sure I need? Or someone I know I can’t have?”

Rating: 3/5 stars

Warning: after reading this I conclude that this is a lame review.

Let me explain why I wrote a review of this one and not one for Lola and the Boy Next Door (both titles which, believe me, give me the creeps). One, I hate the character of Lola, with her wigs and costumes (sorry) and second, the title and her name on it: Lola. Seriously. The title of this one is gross too but bearable. I did not have any intention of writing a review for this one but I changed my mind in the last minute. Well, it is mainly because the story of Anna and Étienne St. Clair. And of the setting of the story: Paris.

“So what do I wish for? Something I’m not sure I want? Something I’m not sure I need? Or someone I know I can’t have?”

Anna was sent to Paris to finish her studies by her famous author dad and that was where she met this French-American-British guy Étienne (I’m confused too) in a boarding school for Americans. He’s a guy who has this amazing group of friends and an amazing girl friend. Then, as we all know what would happen with this kind of book, she fell in love with the French guy and how could she hide her feelings when Étienne was sending this mixed message, and he refused to break up with his girl? Yoh complicated.

I reach for him. “St. Clair—”

He pulls back. “And that. Why don’t you call me Étienne anymore?”

“But . . . no one else calls you that. It was weird. Right?”

“No. It wasn’t.” His expression saddens. “And every time you say ‘St. Clair,’ it’s like you’re rejecting me again.”

The story is lame, I know. Something you should expect from the majority of YA books nowadays, but the story of Anna and Étienne is compelling, part of because I like the character of Étienne.

There’s nothing much too say about this one apart from you will enjoy it if you are a fan of Paris, and that the dénouement as well as the ending of the story were both surprisingly great.

PS: I don’t know if there’s a mention of a French kiss in there, I’ll check after this.

Favorite Part/s:

He’s exasperated. “I’m saying I’m in love with you! I’ve been in love with you this whole bleeding year!”

My mind spins. “But Ellie—”

“I cheated on her every day. In my mind, I thought of you in ways I shouldn’t

have, again and again. She was nothing compared to you. I’ve never felt this way about anybody before—”

“But—”

“The first day of school.” He scoots closer. “We weren’t physics partners by accident. I saw Professeur Wakefield assigning lab partners based on where people were sitting, so I leaned forward to borrow a pencil from you at just the right moment so he’d think we were next to each other. Anna, I wanted to be your partner the first day.”

“But …” I can’t think straight.

“I bought you love poetry! ‘I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.’”

I blink at him.

“Neruda. I starred the passage. God,” he moans. “Why didn’t you open it?”

“Because you said it was for school.”

“I said you were beautiful. I slept in your bed!”

“You never made a move!You had a girlfriend!”

——-

St. Clair looks nervous. “It’s been a good day. This was the first good day I’ve had in ages.” He walks slowly toward me. “I don’t want it to end. I don’t want to be alone right now.”

“Uh.” I can’t breathe.

He stops before me, scanning my face. “Would it be okay if I stayed with you? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable—”

“No! I mean …” My head swims. I can hardly think straight. “Yes.Yes, of course, it’s okay.”

St. Clair is still for a moment. And then he nods.

I pull off my necklace and insert my key into the lock. He waits behind me. My hand shakes as I open the door.

————

He shifts, and then shifts again, and then again, until we’re comfortable. One of his legs rests against mine. Despite the two layers of pants between us, I feel naked and vulnerable. He shifts again and now my entire leg, from calf to thigh, rests against his. I smell his hair. Mmm.

NO!

I swallow, and it’s so loud. He coughs again. I’m trying not to squirm. After what feels like hours but is surely only minutes, his breath slows and his body relaxes. I finally begin to relax, too. I want to memorize his scent and the touch of his skin—one of his arms, now against mine—and the solidness of his body. No matter what happens, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.

I study his profile. His lips, his nose, his eyelashes. He’s so beautiful.

The wind rattles the panes, and the lights buzz softly in the hall. He sleeps soundly. How long has it been since he’s had a decent night’s rest? There’s another uncomfortable tug on my heart. Why do I care so much about him, and why do I wish I didn’t? How can one person make me so confused all of the time?

What is that? Is it lust? Or something else altogether? And is it even possible for me to feel this way about him without these feelings being reciprocated? He said that he liked me. He did. And even though he was drunk, he wouldn’t have said it if there wasn’t at least some truth to it. Right?

I don’t know.

Like every time I’m with him, I don’t know anything. He scoots closer to me in his sleep. His breath is warm against my neck. I don’t know anything. He’s so beautiful, so perfect. I wonder if he … if I …

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