Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.
This week’s topic: What is the best book you read during the month of December?
I read some fabulous books this month. The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, and Matched by Ally Condie. But if I have to choose a favorite it’s Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
From Goodreads: 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. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?
I’m always wary of books that get an explosion of hype on social media sites. I’ve been disappointed more than once in the past. Still, I bought Anna because I love contemporary romance AND because Stephanie Perkins appears to be an incredibly delightful person on Twitter and on her blog. I wanted to support her.
I’m so glad I did. I absolutely adored Anna and the French Kiss. In fact, I’d say it’s about as close to perfect as a book can be. I caught myself smiling while reading more than once, and had to rein it in for fear of being judged by my husband. And when I wasn’t smiling, I was stressing–hoping that Anna and Etienne would get it together and somehow manage to meet up on the same page.
It’s not easy to create a protagonist who is real, blemished and layered, yet still incredibly likeable. Anna is all those things and more. She’s funny and honest and still discovering who she is and what she wants. She’s like, the ideal narrator. And St. Claire is adorable in many of the ways Anna is. Not perfect, but so charming and endearing that it’s easy to overlook his flaws. Their relationship is so true to life. Full of mixed signals, what-ifs and insecurities, but still supportive and loving, if slow to develop. It felt real, like every other part of this book.
Oh, and the setting! I’ve never been a big Paris fanatic. If I ever make it to Europe, I’ve always been more interested in visiting Rome or Athens, but Anna made me fall in love with the City of Lights. Everything was described in such great detail: the food, the theater, the parks, even the school cafeteria sounded beautiful and glamorous. After I finished reading I told my husband (whose father is French) that I wanted to visit. Needless to say, he was thrilled.
I recommend Anna to anyone who reads (seriously, it was that good!), but especially those who love contemporary romance or books set abroad.