I wish for the thing that is best for me.
Anna and the French Kiss is perfect not in spite of, but because of all its imperfections. Anna and Etienne are both flawed characters with the typical teenage drama. But there's nothing "typical" about the way their story is told. These characters pop out of the pages and transform an average teenage story into a very believable and magical account of true love. This book is the reason why cliches are called as such. It is also a wonderful account of a relationship developing from attraction to friendship to true love due to circumstance, which I've always believed to be the most common cause of love.
“My belt. Would it be weird …”
I’m thankful he can’t see me blush. “Of course not.” And I listen to the slap of leather as he pulls it out of his belt loops. He lays it gently on my hardwood floor.
“Um,” he says. “Would it be weird—”
“Oh, piss off. I’m not talking trousers. I only want under the blankets.That breeze is horrible.” He slides underneath, and now we’re lying side by side. In my narrow bed. Funny, but I never imagined my first sleepover with a guy being, well, a sleepover.
“All we need now are Sixteen Candles and a game of Truth or Dare.”
He coughs. “Wh-what?”
“The movie, pervert. I was just thinking it’s been a while since I’ve had a sleepover.”
A pause. “Oh.”
“Your elbow is murdering my back.”
I love how Anna always second-guessed her feelings for Etienne. She constantly asked herself whether what she felt for him was truly love or simply a strong attraction towards a charismatic, hot guy. And Etienne, for his part, knew from the start that there was something special about Anna and I love how he began to open up to her, little by little. Simply put, these two are perfect for each other!
For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It’s a person.
And we’re finally home.
I hated Etienne for more than half the book, and no matter how much he grows and straightens up by the end, it's hard to get over my irritation with his actions. I can overlook a lot of faults in my main characters, but insecurity and cowardice aren't two of them. Unfortunately, those two characteristics define Etienne, and I, quite simply, hate him for it. Harsh? Hell, yes. Unfair? Not the way I see it.
But Anna more than makes up for every single misdeed of Etienne's. Most female readers should be able to identify one way or the other with her and her personality. She's one of the best and most relatable heroines out there, and I LOVE her sense of humor, her love of movies, her passionate and slightly paranoid personality, and the fact that she always seems to gain something from every conversation, ever day. That last aspect makes her a rather inspiring figure, and makes me believe that we should all be more accepting when someone wants to have a do-over. It's always encouraging to believe that people can and do change.
All in all, Anna and Etienne's story is a light and fun read, but alive and real enough that it won't be forgotten anytime soon.