Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Review: Cheating Rant

March 11, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 1 star, Books, Reviews

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Review: Cheating RantAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by Penguin Australia on December 2, 2010
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
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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.

epiloguepink

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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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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58 responses to “Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Review: Cheating Rant

  1. Somewhat Reserved

    Literally finished this today. I can 100% understand why you're not a fan of this. Personally, I gave this a three and a half stars… it definitely wasn't for the romance. I liked St.Clair but he was annoying: keeping his girlfriend but lusting after Anna very annoying! But the secondary characters made up for it and the fact that I finished it quite quickly.

  2. Yes! Absolutely! That's what I feel while reading this book! I agree that it is cute and cheesy and whatsoever but the fact that he has been cheating with Ellie somehow makes him as not as a decent character as I hope he is.
    My recent post Book Review : An Ember in The Ashes

  3. Behind the Pages

    Oh NO!!! I heard that the main guy had a girlfriend, but I didn't know that it would be such a constant in this book! I was really looking forward to reading this series as well… Maybe I'll just skip the first book and go for the other two, I'll probably have the exact same reaction to you about this.
    My recent post Stacking the Shelves (47)

    • Yeah, it was definitely throughout the whole book which was frustrating. I\’ve heard the other two are better though, so hopefully that works out!

  4. I am really curious to try this one myself! I basically have the whole series but still need to find the time to get around to it. I might love it or hate it, not sure yet, but there doesn't seem to be much of an in between amongst the reviews I have seen thus far!
    My recent post The Boston Girl (Review & Giveaway!)

  5. danielleisbusyreading

    No, I completely agree with you. I feel bad for rating this book so high, because the cheating thing is a HUGE issue. He should have broken it off with his ex girlfriend A LOT sooner. His whole reasoning is extremely shoddy, and all for drama's sake. If the book had been from his POV, I'm sure I would have liked it much less. :/

  6. Faye M.

    This is the reason why I am so hesitant to read this. The cheating aspect just drives me nuts, and the fact that this is so popular even with that, which is already so bloody IN YOUR FACE, makes my blood boil even. I just don't understand how Anna could be attracted to a guy who would be all lovey dovey to another girl behind his girlfriend's back. What makes her think he wouldn't do the same to her? >:(
    My recent post ARC Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

  7. D: oh no. I'm yet to read this one, but Etienne sounds like a character I will hate. I really do not understand the cheater mentality, and it doesn't matter if nothing physical is going on, that's exactly what that is. Cheating!

    Thank you for posting this review, now I'm well aware of what I'll be getting into when I eventually pick it up!
    My recent post Showcase Sunday #23

  8. Zoe

    *sighs* Aww…I'm sorry this was such a letdown for you Jeann. 🙁 I haven't started this series yet, but now that I've read you're review, I'm not sure if I have any interest in it in the first place. It sounds like Stephanie is certainly a talented writer and knows her field, but the romance in this book sounds a bit irritating. Having a whole book basically centered around a guy cheating on his girlfriend would probably upset me as well. *sighs* Thanks for sharing this, and wonderful honest review.
    My recent post Liars, Inc

  9. Joy

    Awww Jeann, you clearly hated this book. I'm a fan of Stephanie Perkins and I go around saying that Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite books ever. Still is. I have seen rant reviews like yours and I totally understand the sentiment. After all, to each his own. I'm not sure why I didn't see it as cheating and why it didn't bother me so much. Maybe because I was blinded by the beauty of Paris and how swoonworthy Etienne is? Either way, I love to hear other people's opinions of books, even when we don't have the same one. 🙂
    My recent post 8 Books I Didn’t Finish and Why

  10. I am glad I am not the only black sheep when it comes to this book.I actually DNF-ed Anna and the French Kiss.
    Cheating is a sensitive subject for me.My cousin's marriage was broken by infidelity,and I can't tolerate that concept in books,whether it's physical or just emotional.It's unacceptable,and I can't get how people can find a hero like that romantic.
    Great review Jeann!
    My recent post Controversial and Dark concepts in books

  11. YES to this review! OMG, I thought I was the only one who did not like this novel when I read it. I felt something was wrong with me, and that I was judging the book so harshly so I still gave it four stars LOOL, now it's an accurate one rating on my side. Honestly, I don't see why it has such high ratings .. It's just an average novel about basically cheating. I'm not sure who annoyed me the most Anna or Eitenne. NAILED IT with your review though, happy I can relate hehe x
    My recent post A Confession dedicated to Colleen Hoover ♥ Review

    • I know, I felt like the only one in the world judging by Goodreads lol! Glad we can relate with each other Benish.

  12. This one wasn't really a winner for me, but I still enjoyed it. But I totally understand your feelings with the cheating! I did NOT like that St. Clair led Anna on and that she encouraged it. It was clear from the beginning he had a girlfriend, and I also really disliked how their friends did nothing about it. It was like Ellie didn't matter at all.

    I didn't care for much of the drama and probably would have loved the book more if it'd been focused on Anna's and St. Clair's relationship instead of all the things they shouldn't be doing together because he has a girlfriend. I also HATED how the both of them treated Meredith and even Josh and Rashmi. It was like none of them mattered.

    Whoa, it sounds like I didn't like this. haha, I did enjoy it! I got a little bit swept away into the story. But I loved Lola the most out of them (even though it's kiiiind of sort of similar to this one). And I'm okay with cheating in books. It's not a major turn-off, which is weird considering I would 100% NOT be okay with it in real life. But I think there are some great books that really handle it well. And this one did not!

    I'm sorry you were the black sheep, but know that many people agree with you on this. Very great review, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post March Madness: My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

    • Yeah, I think it might have been something to do with her age and naivety, but people have to respect it when you have a girlfriend/boyfriend you know? There was so much drama between them, I started skimming pretty quickly when all that ridiculously happened. Great to hear you loved Lola, I've been encouraged to still give it a go and it's on my shelves. Thanks Holly for your insightful comment!

  13. literateture

    Your review made me laugh HAHAHHA A lot of people loved this because of the realism in it. I just found it okay, I was actually forced to read this because the author came for a visit in the Philippines HAHA Isla and the happily ever after is actually better. You should try it 😉

  14. inlibrisveritas

    You know of all the reviews I have seen of this one, you are the only one to actually mention cheating…thank you! This is one of my biggest peeves when it comes to relationship in books. So I'll be skipping it.
    My recent post TBR Read-a-thon! March 13th-16th

  15. Lisa @ Lost in Lit

    Oh boy. Well, I may be the black sheep here in your comments because I honestly loved this book. But I can wholeheartedly 100% see where you are coming from on this. I, honestly, don't have any problem with cheating in books. (I know, weird!!) I absolutely despise it in real life, but for some reason in books it doesn't bother me. I think because I started reading adult books before YA maybe? I don't know. But it's just another story to me, cheating or no cheating. Kind of like how some people really enjoy books about killers, but don't like killers in real life either. LOL I know, I'm rambling. But for me, the "cheating" feeling in this book didn't really bother me too much. I fell for the characters and the story line and I just ate it all up.

    But I can totally see where you're coming from, I can 100% understand your feelings for this one, and I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it like you had thought you would. That's why I always say you can't just pick books based on others' opinions. There are so many books that my bloggy friends LOVE that I seriously couldn't stand. I guess this is one of those for you. Sorry, girlie. 🙁

    My recent post Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Confess by Colleen Hoover

    • Thanks for speaking up Lisa, I was wondering where all the Anna lovers are but I scared them away with my rant lol! That\’s actually quite an interesting insight, you\’re able to keep the lines separate between fiction and real life. Whereas issues that I have a belief system on, when talked about in fiction, still affects me in the same way. It makes all of our differences in opinions really interesting I guess doesn\’t it?

      • Lisa @ Lost in Lit

        It really does! It makes me think about all of the fantasy books that so many people love, and I just can't really get into them. Our reading tastes are all so different. That's what makes the bloggy community so fun to me. I love hearing what others think of books I've read, whether positive or negative. It's so interesting!! 🙂
        My recent post Lisa’s Stacking the Shelves & Weekly Recap ~ 3.14.15

  16. Holy cannoli Batman…you definitely didn't like this book! I've seen nothing but glowing reviews for this one. There's always book where that happens, you know, the one everyone loves but you just can't connect with the story. *shrugs* I get it. Cheating is a tough subject for a lot of readers. It typically doesn't bother me but I feel in needs to be handled in a certain way for me to be engaged with his/her actions.
    My recent post Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  17. MY EXACT THOUGHTS I'M GLAD I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

    I just seriously don't understand what Anna was thinking. Like you said, the first half was FINE. She was kind of staying away because she knew he had a girlfriend and yada yada. BUT THEN everything started going downhill and she started to only care about herself (poor Michelle), and then yay for pretty much cheating. Also, I don't understand why Etienne thinks he's all alone when he's surrounded by his friends and Anna. It's freaking obvious she likes him back 😛

    LOL now you have me ranting. Ah well. Awesome rant Jeann!
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday #46

  18. Yeah, I'm with you on this one sister. No matter how swoony or adorable Etienne was it didn't erase the fact that he was cheating on his girlfriend, BIG TIME, while making Anna believe that she's special blah blah.

    Please don't give up on this series though. Read the next books! Lola and the Boy Next Door is much much better, and it's my favorite, although I haven't read the 3rd book. 🙂
    My recent post Review: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

  19. I had the same problems Jeann. I'm not sure why I rated it so high on GRs (probably because I was just starting off with blogging and didn't want to be a black sheep), but on reflection I did not enjoy the book for its themes. The emotional cheating was just horrid, and whenever someone says Etienne is dreamy and their ideal bf I just want to gag. Really? HE'S your ideal guy? I enjoyed Lola and the boy next door a lot more, Cricket is moreso bf material…but his name…dear lord.

  20. I did love this book but I do agree about the cheating. Cheating is one of my biggest bookish pet peeves so why did I end up rating this 5 stars?
    I think the author did something right: she made us see Ellie in a very negative light, not only by barely mentioning her and writing about her relationship with St. Clair as terrible but by making us believe that she is a horrible friend of Rashmi too. I guess it's always easier to turn your back on a character who never was sympathetic in the first place, at least I think this happened to me. I'm quite sure I wouldn't rate this five stars if I read it today, but this was my first contemporary romance (as far as I remember) and I made the mistake of not caring about Ellie's feelings because I didn't like her. What freaked me out even back then was when Étienne confessed his feelings, he said he loved Anna like it was totally obvious, while nothing he did was clear. Plus, Anna holding onto that guy back home was really forced, I don't think it was necessary at all.
    Awesome review. 🙂
    My recent post Jessica Sorensen – The Resolution of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence #6)

    • Yeah, I couldn't help but think about poor Ellie on the other side whose story we never heard though. It all seemed a bit too 'convenient' I guess, but it did made us a lot more detached to her character. I know, when he confessed his feelings he said that was his intention was from the start, which I found disturbing.

  21. I loved this for the setting, the Parisian art and landscape. It was so vivid that I almost felt as though I was there. I loved it, but not for it's characters, but it's location. Like Colleen Hoover's Maybe Someday, I just can't swoon over a guy who's already attached, no matter the circumstances. You don't start another relationship if you're having issues, and you definitely don't put yourself in a position to be unfaithful in the first place. There could have been multiple factors that could have written into the storyline that stopped them from being together, and it really ruined it that it had to be another woman / girl. And considering the intended audience, what kind of message is this sending to teen girls? That persistence when he has a girlfriend will pay off if you lure him into a new relationship? Cheating happens, but it's when it's seen as a positive within a storyline that irks me to no end.

    Fabulous review Jeann <3
    My recent post Every Move by Ellie Marney

    • The setting was wonderful and the food as well! But oh gosh, Etienne, There was no swooning on my part, believe me. It was pretty annoying when Anna started thinking she had a chance as well. Thanks Kelly!

  22. YAYYYY! I'm so happy to hear you didn't like this one either lol which sounds like a awful thing to say, but now I can relate to someone finally. I don't understand the hype of this novel 🙁 It's just cheating and teenage angst .. I didn't like Lola and The Boy Next Door either, it's a little better though. It has a similar concept, just no physical cheating. Love the honest review x
    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday #6 ♥ Court of Thorns and Roses

    • Yeah, it sounds like more people can relate to that side of things now that I've shared my opinion lol. Hmmmm, I still don't know about Lola. Thanks Benish!

    • I know, I didn't even think about the cheating part and was appalled that the whole book pretty much condoned it.

  23. Omg in all the reviews i've read of this book and all of them have been raves, never once was this mentioned! That's sooo disappointing!

  24. You know, I never really thought about the cheating.
    I mean, obviously, it was annoying in terms of being an obstacle in the romance, but I never really thought about it as an absolutely terrible thing to do. And my god, it's definitely really terrible.

    I feel like I'd still recommend you read the others in the series- Anna was my least favourite of the three books (Lola was my favourite), and the others don't have cheating so there's that lol
    My recent post Review: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

    • Yeah, it was easy for me to recognise the signs, and got even more frustrating later on. I think I will read the others though, I mean I don't want to be a grump about the series just because of this one.

  25. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this review. Even though I did end up giving it a high rating because of the fluff, I got pretty pissed about the cheating myself. And it was written in such a way that we were meant to dislike Ellie – you know, they grew apart, she went to a different school, she dresses as a slutty nurse for Halloween.. so we shouldn't feel sorry for her because she's not as likeable as Anna.. NOPE.

    Look, I get it. Anna and Etienne were cute. But the fact of the matter is, he was taken. And, like you said, once a cheater…
    My recent post [Guest Post] The World Tour of Literary Havens: Olivia’s Park

    • I know, I mean I felt sorry for the poor girl who didn't know what her boyfriend was doing behind her back. *shudders*

  26. Before I read your review:
    Yes, yes, yes!

    After reading your review….:
    Yes, yes yes yes yes yes yes!

    Just, everything you said, yes. The first half was great. I loved it. Then the second half happened and it was just torture. And it's even worse because Anna's a hypocrite, she hangs out with St. Clair and later wants to get mad at Bridgit for getting with Topher when SHE WASN'T EVEN DATING HIM. It's ridiculous.

    And Anna not liking Ellie was freaking ridiculous. Just ridiculous. You can't NOT like someone just because they're dating a guy you like. I mean, you can, but come on. She took it to extremes "I don't know/understand/get why she doesn't like me", Anna thinks that AFTER thinking "I don't like her" in a previous chapter. God, Anna was so irritating and St. Clair was a complete tool for dragging Anna and Ellie along. And the fact that Anna and him slept in the same bed? Completely UNACCEPTABLE.

    And ugh, I won't even get into Mer. Ugh. Your review.<3 I apologize for my rage-filled comment, it's not often I find people that didn't like Anna. You are one of few, we shall be black sheep together!
    My recent post ARC Review: How To Win At High School by Owen Matthews

    • I know right, Anna's behaviour was just atrocious and so was St Clair's, I didn't like any of them. I mean it was set up for us to hate Ellie from the beginning and the slut shaming and everything but ANNA! Pull your head in.

  27. bethwhatley23

    I finished reading this yesterday, and I kinda have mixed feelings about it. I loved Anna and Etienne's friendship, but the 'distant girlfriend as a plot device' thing was hideous. Also, I HATED how Anna became all possessive and jealous of this boy who was in another relationship simply because she liked him. How many times did they argue about him seeing his girlfriend? BASICALLY THE ENTIRE NOVEL. But you know. They were destined to be, and he even picked his college to be near her. Kinda creepy, actually. What if they break up?
    Anyway – I appreciate your rant. But for something light and fluffy, it was alright.
    Beth x
    My recent post The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater