Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins I nervously approached this book. I checked this book out from the library a number of times and repeatedly downloaded it to my iphone from overdrive, only to delete it again. The reason for my trepidation is the range of reviews from my friends for this book. Many liked it, some loved it and a few did not like it at all. Then the subject appears to be almost entirely romance, chic-lit and young adult driven. While I enjoy some romance and some young adult, these are not my preferred genres unless the driving force of the story is meaty and strong. I tend not to be a fan of chic-lit. Okay, well this story is thick with a meaty story, the characters are well-developed and I ended up loving it. I listened to the audio version; the narrator has the French, British and American down. I highly recommend the audio version. The story in structure is a romance. American girl of a divorced family is sent to a boarding school in Paris that caters to Americans; she meets a French, British, American guy (yes that is all one person) with crooked teeth and shorter than her and falls in love. The story could have been simply and sappy. But it is more than just that. Anna, that is the name of the young American girl, does not want to move to Paris, she does not want to leave her friends and she does not want to be in boarding school. The beginning of the story deals with Anna learning to adapt, forcing to herself to stretch herself and abandoning her ideas of what a foreign country is like. Much of it is done in a pretty funny self-effacing fashion. Anna comes to Paris with many preconceptions and she finds most of these being challenged and shattered.Like many teenagers Anna has a complicated relationship with her parents, with her friends at home in the US and her new friends in Paris. There is a symmetry of Anna wronging people and her being wronged, I do not want to spoil it for potential readers (or listeners!) but the analogy is not lost and Anna; it is an eye opening experience. In the end, this is a story of a young girl growing up, dealing with family and friend issues and learning that there is more to being in a relationship than just falling in love. It is a sweet romance that contains many little pearls of wisdom. Some of my favorite quotes:“How strange, how I could wish for home for so long, only to come back and find it gone.”“Life moves on, changes our heart – changes our home.”“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”“This is home. The two of us.”“It saddens me how relieved I feel to be going back to France.”“How could I ever believe for a moment that I wasn’t in love with him?”“The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”