Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Company: Dutton
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 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?
I heard about this book through some video bloggers, and they basically made it sound like the female version of one of my favourite authors. So I’ve been wanting to pick the book up for a while, and when I got it yesterday, I was extremely excited to read it.
If you’ve read my reviews before (my old blog was www.waitingforabook.blogspot.com & all of my old reviews are still there if you’d like to check them out), you know that this isn’t the type of book I usually read, it’s not, but it’s always refreshing to read something new and different. And I have to say, from reading the first page, the first paragraph of this book, I knew I was going to love it. It’s funny and easy to read from the set off and it’s refreshing and funny and just an altogether good read. I feel like I’m gushing now. Sorry about that.
I think what I like about this book is it’s honesty. It doesn’t make the characters perfect, it has them swearing and fighting and having sex and drinking and doing everything that people expects from teenagers and Stephanie Perkins doesn’t try to hide it. She puts it out there as it is. You see and feel the reality of the situation. I think for her to capture this feeling so well, it’s amazing. I also think some of the situations she gets into are very relatable. Ok, granted I don’t actually know anyone who’s been forced into a French school when she doesn’t want to go, then meet the boy of her dreams who she can’t have because he’s dating someone else, but I think a lot of people can understand the feeling of going to a new school and because scared about how they’ll fit in, who they can talk to and all of that. I also think a lot of us can relate to liking someone we shouldn’t.
Let’s talk about characters! Yay! I love Anna. She’s aware of things around her (for the most part) and yet she’s the new girl, she’s the one who you have to follow to discover the story. She’s a normal girl who you enjoy listening to. I don’t actually know how to describe her, because you just follow her story and fall in love with her as she tells you this beautiful and magical story. It’s obvious she’s in an uncomfortable position at the start, and it’s good to see her keep some of her uncomfortable and awkward characteristics throughout the book. She has flaws, she has good points about her, and she’s genuinely interesting.
I also love her hobby of writing reviews for films. It’s different and pretty cool. I don’t know many characters who go into detail about films like she does, even though we can’t read her reviews, we can see the passion in her just from her talking to us about the films she’s seeing as we read her doing it. To see her talk about the films to the reader, it’s different, but nice to see because you get a better feel for the character.
Then we have St. Clair, who’s this part American, part French, part English hybrid of a character who I instantly loved for one reason. He didn’t sound stereotypically English. That may seem weird but it’s a pet peeve of mine when I see English characters in books who either act too American or are stereotypically British. With St. Clair he was half American, half French but was mainly brought up in London, the accent he had was perfect. He didn’t say anything too stereotypical, he was a brilliant representation of an English person. Not too posh, not a stereotype, and he sounded as if he actually had grown up in England.
Ok, I realise that I’ve spoken about how he speaks a lot, so let’s get onto other parts. I think with a lot of YA fiction we see ‘the perfect man’ he’s mysterious, he’s tall dark and handsome, and you think ‘wow’ because you have to think that there must be something amazing behind his mysterious ways. That’s not St. Clair. He has a lot of personality, he gets sulky when he has problems in his life, he’s so teenagery and it’s refreshing to see a character in a book who seems genuine and who acts his age.
The setting is obvious, modern day Paris in a boarding school mostly, but the way she talks about Paris is romantic and beautiful and breathtaking. Instead of the childlike wonder you expect when you think of Disneyland Paris, or the pompous High Fashion you think of at that part in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (the film, I haven’t read the book), you see it from a teen. A romantic beautiful place where you can fall in love, have a good time with friends and to realise what matters in your life. It’s not a novel where the character discovers who she is, because in my mind I think she already has a pretty good idea of who she is, but because she’s being forced into a different situation, she has to make it work, and she does, she finds out that by stepping out from your old life, you notice the differences and the bad bits you ignored before.
This book is beautiful, it’s romantic and it’s an easy read. You fall in love with the characters, not just the main two either, all of them, and some of the moments are so cute and touching or funny and sweet, that it made me fall in love with this book.
My rating: (Using a different rating system now so this is me trying it out)
Setting: 4 out of 5
Characters: 5 out of 5
Plot: 4 out of 5
Writing: 5 out of 5
Thanks for reading x