Anna and the French Kiss (2010) by Stephanie Perkins
Inside Jacket: Anna was 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. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne 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? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
Review: Perkins has debuted a fantastic story with two interesting, dynamic leads. Etienne is an American with a French name and an English accent. He's a history buff, has great hair, hates his father, and knows Paris like the back of his hand; Anna wants to be the next renowned female film critic, and her favorite kinds of movies are the old ones where people wear hats and have Big Misunderstandings. Adorably, Anna and Etienne's story is also one where people wear hats and have Big Misunderstandings. If there is one major theme in the book, it is Misunderstanding. Perkins comes at it from (at least) three angles: The characters' misunderstandings with one another, the misunderstandings in Anna's favorite films, and a teacher's lectures about translation and whether anything is ever "lost in translation" when a writer is Chinese but writes in French and his work is translated into English. In the end, the cover doesn't do this book credit! (Although I see that there are several variations). Perkins asks larger, thematic questions but never once loses sight of the delightful romantic entanglements of her characters.
Conclusion: 4/5. Perkins writes with humor and intelligence. The story is compelling, sweet, and satisfying. I read it in one sitting and I highly recommend it.