Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Speak, Penguin Group 2010.

Anna is not looking forward to her senior year of high school. Her father has some crazy idea that she should broaden her horizons beyond Atlanta and spend her much anticipated year in Paris with strangers instead of at home with her friends. The City of Love is the last place she wants to be, but unfortunately for her, the American School had exactly one opening in its senior class and her father used his fame and influence to get her in.

When Anna learns that her negative assumptions about Paris are almost entirely wrong, she begins to enjoy herself. But nothing is simple. Her best friend seems to be taking over her life back home (including her mother’s and brother’s affections), she’s not sure where she stands with her almost boyfriend there or the incredibly cute, but absolutely unavailable, boy at school. Can Anna navigate the turgid emotional waters of her senior year abroad, managing local and long distance friendships, a foreign city, and first love?

Stephanie Perkins has written a book that put me immediately back into the mindset of a teenager. She captures the dithery angst of trying to discern the feelings of someone you’re totally crushing on without leaving yourself too vulnerable, the moral determination to remain friends with someone who’s involved with someone else, and the strain of trying to sort it all out while navigating life as a teenager. A lovely, but not entirely unrealistic, romantic read, great for the summer or any time you need a lift.

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