Anna and the French Kiss is a good book about a year in the life of an American high school student who is sent to Parisian boarding school by her parents. Her father is a sappy romance novelist whose books are finding fame as films, and to seem more cultured he sent Anna to Paris. Understandably, Anna is not pleased by this. But like all good stories, the main character does not brood for long. Anna soon finds companions and indeed a crush or two, but this isn’t a typical teenage love story.
Perkins does well not to heap the romance in n over the top fashion — that is, if you can call it romance. There are longing looks, but Anna isn’t self-involved enough to believe they are solely for her, or because of her beauty. But that’s not to say that Anna is a wallflower, waiting for the right man to come along and show her how beautiful she really is. Anna is as logical and selfless as any teenage girl; she doesn’t always think the world revolves around her. In fact, when a crush makes a drunken pass at her she denies him because of his own emotional problems, and she doesn’t want to add to them, but that doesn’t stop her from making a fool of herself when she too is drunk later in the novel. Anna sometimes acts cringe-worthy, but Perkins does a good enough job getting into her head that you accept why she acts these ways even if you don’t agree with them.
The characters are believable, if not a bit bland, and the story does gloss over some important aspects of a teenager’s life like picking the right college. But it is a great read and something that people of all ages will like, not just teenagers.