Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by Penguin Australia on December 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
I’m not going to lie, this book made me really angry. And I’m clearly the black sheep on this. So if you don’t want to read my emotional ranting, feel free to skip to the Epilogue.
WHAT THE HELL. I’ve heard so many raves about this book, and how swoony Etienne St Clair is, so I went in with high expectations. The first half of the book was going fine, where he shows Anna, the new girl from America, around France and they develop a budding friendship.
Then things start to go downhill from there. He sleeps in her bed. He says he likes her while drunk. She is attracted to him. All these things would bode for a cute and developing friendship to lovers relationship, if it wasn’t for the fact that HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND. He had one from when they first met, and his avoidance of talking about Ellie for the whole time he was with Anna, growing closer to her and leading her on just rubbed me the wrong way.
There’s only one thing I don’t love about him. Her.
I don’t care if he became distant from his girlfriend, I don’t care if she withdrew from him and that things become complicated and he just didn’t want to let go of his relationship. The fact is, he is in a relationship and acting on his feelings for someone else is cheating. It was partly Anna’s fault for letting it happen in the first place, because she’s the new kid in town, doesn’t know anyone in the country and a cute guy offers to show her around. But when things get a bit too close for comfort, why are you spending so much time with a guy that has a girlfriend? Why can’t you hang out with all of your other friends? Why are you letting him in? She was just setting herself up for disappointment.
Yes the book is cute, and there were some parts that I liked about it. I liked that the book was set in France and that it took us to some sights in Paris, like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Point Zero, and the Catacombs. I loved hearing the differences between the French and the Americans. And most of all, I loved the food appreciation in the novel, from the macarons, to the sweet pastries, to the delicious cakes.
“Why are you still with her?” – Anna
“Because I don’t want to be alone right now.” – Etienne.
BUT that doesn’t change the fact that the relationship in the book was all formed around dubious circumstances. Etienne is an emotional and charming guy who wears his heart on his sleeve! He clearly cares about Anna and is attracted to her! But in reality, he is a high maintenance, selfish jerk, who runs around with other girls behind his girlfriend’s back because he can’t bear to be by himself. I can’t stand people like that, especially when he confesses his intention from the very beginning. He hates his dad for cheating on his mum, yet he follows in his footsteps anyway.
Even if there wasn’t any physical cheating going on, how would you like it if you were his girlfriend? How is his behaviour fair to either girl? The book skims over the girlfriend’s story, and her friends should be really more concerned about what’s happening with a guy who is taken. Anna and Etienne’s friends do nothing to discourage them and I was taken aback by how no one relayed the story back to Ellie, Etienne’s girlfriend just because she transferred to another school.
That my friends, is how cheating begins. You meet a guy, you’re attracted to him, and begin spending time with him. He doesn’t do anything to discourage you, in fact he likes the attention and seems to reciprocate it. You learn he has a girlfriend which is your cue to run far away. But instead, Anna seems to expect something back from him after all the time he spends on her. Anna even starts thinking she has a chance with him and that he would break up with his girlfriend just for her. Once a cheater, always a cheater. If that’s how he treats his girlfriend, imagine how he’ll treat Anna later on.
It’s clear Stephanie Perkins is a talented writer and can certainly write attraction and developing relationships. But the fact that the whole book is pretty much about a guy cheating on his girlfriend just puts me off the entire thing. I really couldn’t stand it and ended up skimming the last half of the book when I saw the direction it was heading. But hey, it was set in Paris and it’s about food, so at least there was that.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
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