First I want to thank Amanda for asking me to take part in this. It is always nice to know what books people like for the holidays. When she first asked me to take part in this I had a hard time coming up with a good holiday book to review. After giving it some thought I realized I don’t really have a favorite book that centers around the holidays. What I do have is a book that makes me feel good around the holidays that includes a Thanksgiving/Christmas scene. And that is why my review is on Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
Since Anna came out a measly two years ago, yes, two years ago, I have managed to read this book 4 times and 3 of those times have been right around Christmas. I know you are sitting there thinking, why Anna and the French Kiss and way around Christmas?! The answer is simple…the book just makes me feel good. It makes me smile and feel uplifted and just plain happy. And what better way to feel around the holiday’s then all of that!
So basically Anna and the French Kiss is about, well Anna, a girl from Atlanta, that is forced to go to Paris for her last year of high school. Not knowing the language or anyone at her new school Anna is left alone and missing her best friend Bridgette and her crush that was possibly turning into something more, Toph. She is surrounded by unfamiliar everything and all she wants to do is go back to the safety of Atlanta. And then her next door neighbor Meredith takes her in and introduces her to her friends and the one boy that changes everything, St. Clair. Etienne St. Clair, the boy dreams are made of. All of a sudden France isn't so bad. Pretty soon Anna has a life in France and friends, Meredith, Josh, Rashmi and St. Clair. They break Anna out of her shell and comfort zone and show her Paris is what people say it is. And when things start to get complicated at home Anna wants nothing more than to retreat back to the place she had been desperate to escape, back to St. Clair. Too bad there are two problems with this. She is not only head over heels in love with him but he has a girlfriend.
I swear every time I read it I have found something else to love about it. It is really one of the sweetest, romantic, fun stories I have ever read. It plays out like a soap opera(minus the whacky brain transplant/switched at birth/back from the dead plots) where you ache and yearn for the couple to get together, where the build-up is the best part of the story, where you can’t help but talk about them every chance you get. It is like Pacey and Joey on Dawson’s Creek or Seth and Summer on The O.C. or even for you old school TV watcher, David and Maddie on Moonlighting(yes I’m aging myself with that one). It feels real and I think that was what endeared me to this book.
The chapters that take place over Thanksgiving are some of the best moments in any books I have read in the past. When I come across a book where I can feel the emotions and the awkwardness and the uncertainty jumping off the page I’m completely done for and Perkin’s created those feelings to perfection. Anna and St. Clair’s need to be around one another but the push of outside circumstances really is the culmination of the whole story and is what leads to the most important part of the book, the Christmas scenes where their friendship is cemented but takes on a whole other level. Without the inclusion of Thanksgiving and Christmas I think you would have a pretty story, but that’s all it would be. It wouldn’t have had that same feeling it did and the reading world would miss out on one of the best feel good stories out there.