Sunday, 17 August 2014

Book Review | Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
My Rating : ★★☆☆☆

If you are one of those readers who like cutesy YA romance novels full of cliches, then you will LOVE this book.

Sadly, I am not one such reader. But I'm not gonna drag the author through the pit just because her book was a pint too adorable for me (not to mention thoroughly un-researched). Because it was my decision to read it, even though I knew exactly what kind of shit I was getting myself into.

It's not the first time I've done something like this, actually. I read this kind of muck every once in a while, in between a couple of awesome Sci-fi and/or Fantasy book series.
Why would someone do that to themselves?

To quote Anna herself, "I must be a masochist to keep putting myself in these situations. I need help. I need to see a shrink or be locked in a padded cell or straitjacketed or something."

But, no. I think it's more because, from time to time, I need something to criticize. You know, to keep the critic inside me nice and sharp.

Anyway, let's talk about the story, now.

Anna is an American teenager who has her fair share of first world problems.
Her Dad (whom she doesn't waste any opportunity to call a selfish bastard, just because he looks like a Ken doll and writes lame novels that get made into even lamer movies) has sent her to Paris for her senior year at high school. This means she has to leave her mother, brother, pet guinea pig, and friends behind, and go fend for herself (read: live at campus along with the rest of the students) in an unfamiliar land. How can she stay away from her mom for four straight months? She's only seventeen!
No, in fact, that's not what she's really mad about. She's mad because her father doesn't give her a choice in the matter. She is so upset about this that she cries when she sees her parents leave (and I'm not exaggerating, she has a proper break down with tears and shit).

If all that wasn't enough, she feels that her father has sent her here to be cleansed, because her new school's name is SOAP. School of America in Paris. (Seriously.)
Once she manages to score an amazing group of friends the very next morning (I kid you not), and develop a teenage crush on one of them, she faces her next problem: she doesn't know French.

But that's not why I think she's dumb. (Oh, I didn't mention that I think she's dumb?) She's a film buff, and has a serious plan to study film theory in college and become a famous film critic. But, guess what?
She doesn't know that Paris is the film capital of the world. In fact, she's surprised that Paris has so many cinemas! Come. Fucking. On.

Now, let's rewind a bit to this mysterious crush of Anna's. He's an American guy who was brought up in England and has a French name: Etienne St. Clair. Yeah, for real.

He is another Jesus figure in the world of YA romance. You know, has broad shoulders, amazing hair, is callipygian (which, incidentally, is a word I came across for the fist time when I read this book. It means 'having beautifully shaped buttocks'. Figures.), has a dazzling smile, a charming demeanor, an accent to kill for, is a history buff and keeps a meticulously clean room. Phew. Basically, everything about him except for the fact that he's short, screams of YA cliches.
Oh, and he also already has a girlfriend. Whoa, I didn't see that one coming (totally did, though).

As the story unfolds, she falls in love - big surprise, that - and then we see her break down all over again as she toils to gather up the remains of her shattered social life.

What will happen next? How will Anna sort out her tangled love life? How will she deal with her enormous problems?
Wait. What did you say, she doesn't have enormous problems? Are you kidding? Her life is miserable. Puh-lease.

So, go read this book if you wanna find out how Anna's life ends up - which, by the way, is totally unpredictable. NOT.
But it can also be useful if you are looking for a way to make yourself gag.

* * * * * * *

I've never done a book review before. Not on my blog, anyway. But, since we're talking about cliches, there's a first time for everything, right?

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