I mean, to say I have a crush on it is actually a HUGE understatement.
I have a crush on the book. I have a crush on the characters. I have a crush on the setting. I probably have a crush on the author, too, even though she's a girl and we're both married to men so that makes it kind of weird. But I promise, the crush is a totally professional, "I bow down to how awesome you are" kind of crush. Or something.
That's right folks. Today we're talking about Anna and the French Kiss. Let's swoon over the cover for a moment, shall we?
Totally perfect and flirty and wonderful. And that boy you can't see? He's Etienne St. Clair, and he's pretty perfect, as far as YA male characters go.
Sometimes, when I can't really express how amazing a book is, I like to write a little list of the awesome-ness. (I did this with Paranormalcy, and thought it came out pretty great.) I honestly think I might have to do that here, because every time I think about Anna and the French Kiss, I just get all fluttery and excited and I kind of can't think because I just want to say "OMG THE BOOK WAS SO GOOD WHY AREN'T YOU READING IT RIGHT NOW??!!"
So, to avoid a totally incoherent blog post, here is my list of reasons YOU should read Anna and the French Kiss. NOW.
1. The characters. All of the characters in this book - from Anna herself to the man who runs the local cinema - are so incredibly well-developed that you will hear their voices in your head. Everyone has their own quirks and charms and neuroses which make them come alive. Main characters have intricate backgrounds (which are both hilarious and heart-breaking) that are shown (not told) slowly over the course of the novel, and secondary characters are completely three-dimensional. There isn't a single character in the book who is a stereotype of a teen; no one is perfect or without their own struggles. The character development is careful and flawless.
2. Paris. Paris! It's wonderful! Stephanie does such a wonderful job inserting Paris into this book without using sweeping landscape descriptions that the city truly becomes a character unto itself in this book. I haven't been to Paris in around 10 years, which means that last time I went I was younger than the characters in the book and, much like Anna at the very beginning, I didn't know how to appreciate it. But I did study abroad in Italy when I was in college, so I could relate to a lot of Anna's experiences. Eating crusty sandwiches (described so well I could practically taste them) and that feeling of losing yourself amid the classic surroundings. There are so many gorgeous scenes set against incredible landscapes, and Paris is truly the perfect setting for what goes down.
3. There's an actual relationship in this book. What Stephanie really manages to nail in this book is the actual growth and development of a real relationship. You see Anna and Etienne meet, get the first-crush jitters, become friends, and...what happens then? Well, I'm obviously not going to tell you :) Heh. But one thing that doesn't happen is the love-at-first sight situation (or, for that matter, the love triangle situation): there is no sweeping glance where they're immediately attached at the hip. There is a real friendship with real ups-and-downs. The tension is amazing, and you really do constantly ask yourself where the relationship is going, what's going to happen next, and then following along with all the swoon-worthy moments (which are sometimes so minor it hurts and is just beautiful) is really amazing.
Don't believe me? Fine. But do you believe...John Green???
Yeah. I thought so.