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?
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 64/70
Obtained: Borrowed from our dear friend, StoryLove. :)
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cursing: You know, usual modern-day teenage stuff. So, yes.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: A few scenes of teen drinking and severe drunkenness (all within the law, however, as it is France....) and a few references to drug use, I think...
Sexual Content: Several direct references to sex, but no actual scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None.
I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up this book. I had heard rave reviews from friends, but the synopsis suggested the type of book I was, frankly, quite bored of reading over and over and over in every YA chick lit novel. To be honest, I was only convinced to pick this up when it was promoted by John Green in this Vlogbrother's video.
Needless to say, I am very impressed by Stephanie Perkins' story. It is above and beyond the average of this kind of story, and that's what makes it not only bearable, but flat-out remarkable. Unlike it's peers, this novel is very realistic, and written with an intelligent and humble voice. All of the characters (despite living alone in Paris) are very real American teenagers, and their drama, likewise, is incredibly accurate to that of real-life teens. It isn't too underplayed or overplayed, and it didn't portray the teens as fickle or extra mature. They are just themselves, unapologetic human adolescents.
Perhaps the most successful aspect of this book (predictably) is the wonderful Etienne St. Clair. Unlike most chick lit pretty boys, he has flaws. Massive, all-consuming, story-altering, awful little flaws that make you hate him a little bit even as you're falling in love with him. His character, his weaknesses, are what set him apart and make him all the more dazzling, and the patient pacing of his relationship with Anna, the edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense, the doubts and confusion and hopes and wishes--these are things that
make this book worth reading. This is how real romance actually happens; it's messy, confusing, painful, but ultimately worth it. And while, yeah, this may be Paris and it may be a boy named Etienne St Clair, and maybe most of us will never get shipped off to the School of America in Paris, this is still real. This is still true. And definitely worth the read.