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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne 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?
This book follows the tale of Anna Oliphant, a privileged senior sent away to a boarding school in Paris where, kind of ironically, most of the kids speak in English and there isn’t much French said throughout the whole novel. Add in some not so loyal friends and a guy with looks to die for and this basically becomes the perfect teen novel. I’ve heard mixed things about this book. Some of my favourite authors such as (John Green or Cassandra Clare) have had nothing but praise for this book, though many members of online communities (like Goodreads for example) have been rather different.
There were a lot of things I loved about this book. I have always been an honest romantic and love reading about romances because, let’s face it, we all know how it’s going to end. For me, it’s more reading their story. In this book, the story follows a strange twisting pathway that brings us close and then far continuously until you almost hope the ending is different. Stephanie Perkins also has the amazing ability to bring humour to her writing. By around page 6 I was already laughing and the way she described many tragic novels and seeing the humour within them. This book is also extremely quotable. For example: “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home”.
The characters also developed, some more than others. I feel at times, Anna became very rebellious and quite emotional. At the age they are, you would expect them to have extreme emotion and this is perfectly captured by Stephanie. St. Clair also developed. He became a lot more aware of how his actions affected others around him. Meredith became more absorbed into herself part way through the novel before becoming closer to Anna than ever. Even though there were some slight character developments, none were really very dramatic.
However much I loved this novel, I found the thing that stopped this being 5 stars was that right at the beginning, Anna hated the opportunity to go to Paris. Don’t get me wrong, if my parents forced me to attend a school over 4000 miles away, I would be pretty annoyed. But the fact still remains, it’s a brilliant opportunity and, what does Anna spend her first days doing? Lying in her room watching TV and acting like she lost everything. In my opinion, I felt like she should’ve been a bit more courageous and asked her new friends if they could show her Paris as she’s never been before. However, as the book progresses, she does start to enjoy it more and started taking advantage of the opportunity she had been given.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves classic romance novels, humour and some drama as well. I feel like the ideal age for this would be 13+ as there are occasional conversations of more serious matters that, to avoid spoilers, I will not get into now. Overall, I loved this book and hope anyone else who reads it will love it too.
Thanks for reading!