Author: Stephanie Perkins
Read: December 2017
I ranted about this one in my Holiday Adventureathon VLOG and you can also watch it to see what I thought of the other books I read for the readathon. This is also a rant. lol.
Where to start with this one…
Okay so let me just say that I didn’t like this book. Its absolute trash. And I don’t mean that in a good way. You know when you pick up a book because you want something fluffy and it doesn’t necessarily even have to be a good book, you just want it for the good feeling you have by the end of it? Or you just want to read a trashy romance because for some reason those always put you in a good mood? This is not like that. At all. I have heard a lot of things about Anna and the French Kiss and I do my best not to let other people’s opinions cloud my judgement when it comes to books, but this was just bad. Like there’s no redeeming quality to it at all.
First. It is like a daydream spun out of control! Listen, I like daydreaming and pretending that my life is different and that I lived in Paris too. Okay? I like thinking of a life that seems better than the one I’m living now. But this is like the fantasy that I had when I was thirteen. I wanted to go to boarding school without parental supervision. I wanted to live in another country (I actually did want to live in Paris for some time). I wanted to date a cute guy, especially one with an accent. I wanted a lot of things when I was younger but I ditched those unrealistic fantasies when I realized how unlikely they were to happen. That’s not to say that I don’t daydream because I still very much do it’s just that I don’t think much about them and they don’t carry much weight for me. This book seems to me like someone tried to think about all the things that young teenage girls might daydream about and decided to write a book about it. I don’t like that it feels like there wasn’t actually that much thought put into it. I couldn’t connect with this story or the characters at all.
I can not stand the stories where people start falling for their friend’s love interest. So on the first night Anna is there she meets Meredith and they become friends and Meredith introduces Anna to her group of friends, which includes the main love interest, St. Clair. Anna notices that he’s cute but she learns that he has a girlfriend and that Meredith is also crushing on him. Clearly these are two reasons why Anna should not get involved with some guy that she barely knows. Meredith basically says that she doesn’t feel too bad about liking St. Clair because his relationship with his girlfriend isn’t as good as it used to be. So I guess its fine that she has feelings for one of her best friends and wouldn’t mind ruining his relationship if it came to that?? (Meredith is also friends with his girlfriend, Ellie, but Ellie sort of ditched their friend group when she went to college. But still. They were close friends until that year.)
But let’s be real. Meredith has known St. Clair for years and has been going to school with him and had plenty of chances to make a move or try to start something with him. And she gets so hurt when she finds out about Anna and St. Clair and I personally feel like she overreacted. Like Anna didn’t really make close relationships with anybody while she was in Paris and so Meredith and her aren’t actually that good of friends. But Meredith feels like Anna betrayed her and purposely hurt her in that way. I understand that Meredith was hurt by the fact that St. Clair started to fall for Anna but it had been slowly going that way over the course of the whole school year. Meredith was around them and she witnessed it and she was aware of what was going on. So when Anna and St. Clair finally got together it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Meredith and she didn’t really have any reason to react that way. The only one who should be acting in that way should be Ellie and that’s it. St. Clair betrayed his girlfriend and Meredith didn’t have any claim on him.
Eventually, Anna goes to Meredith to talk about it and she forgives her. Meredith admits that she basically already knew about them because of the way that they acted around each other and when Anna starts calling him Étienne (more on that later). So she got angry and upset and then that drama just fizzles out. Why did she overreact in the first place then?!
Another reason that Anna shouldn’t involve herself with St. Clair is that she too is in a sort of budding romance with a guy back in the USA. They call each other and talk and, up until like the middle of the book, Anna still has feelings for him. And yet Anna goes against her better judgement and starts falling for St. Clair. It’s also St. Clair’s fault as well. He flirts with her and basically leads her on while still being in a relationship with Ellie and I cannot stand cheating in any form and this is emotionally cheating. Don’t tell me it’s not.
One thing that just gets me is the whole name thing. So Anna meets the love interest (technically) on her first night at the school in Paris but they don’t actually talk until the next day. He introduces himself as Étienne but everybody calls him St. Clair so Anna decides to call him St. Clair. But she starts falling for him and when she finally admits that she loves him and that she’s in love with him she starts thinking of him as Étienne. When she starts saying it out loud, everybody notices and knows that something has shifted in their relationship and more drama stems from there. But I just don’t get why changing his name has any significance. Anna says that calling him St. Clair means that they are friends because that’s what his friends call him. But when she’s in love with him she uses his first name. But then when they are fighting she goes back to calling him St. Clair and he gets really upset about that. So I don’t understand why they both start seeing this as an important thing and make it a big deal. It really annoyed me while reading this book. And every time she changed her mind, it was irritating to read and to hear her whine about St. Clair not liking her back and still being with his girlfriend. This all seemed so ridiculous to me.
I was not into their relationship at all. St. Clair wasn’t a very good friend to Anna, especially knowing that Anna had feelings for him. He should have removed himself from that situation and worked it out with his girlfriend or broken up with her when he realized that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with her anymore. And Anna should have done the same. She seemed like a responsible character and she should have done the right thing. I didn’t like reading about that. I really didn’t like reading that Anna and St. Clair were fine with hanging out and toeing the line between friends and something more. There was too much of that in this book and I couldn’t handle it.
I was extremely annoyed throughout this entire novel. It has turned me off from Stephanie Perkins and I don’t think I’ll be picking up anything else by this author. If this is the sort of relationship Perkins thinks should be written about, I really don’t want to read any of her other work.