Cue “La Vie en Rose” preferably by Louis Armstrong as I’m a sucker for his music, but of course with unwavering respect to Edith Piaf. Pour a glass of your fanciest Pinot Noir, and in the case of those underage some grape juice, and you’re ready to set off on this fun, romantic, YA contemporary set in Paris. I was immediately welcomed with witty humor and a spunky attitude from the narrator, an authentic feeling of being in France, and relatable topics. Tell me about completely real American tourist stereotypes that make me think directly of my parents and you’ve got me chuckling up a storm. “It’s true what they say about white sneakers. Only American tourists wear them, big ugly things made for mowing grass or painting houses.” Yes mom and dad I’m looking at you after this quote. Quite literally they rock those shoes every trip they go on and yup my dad definitely wears them while mowing the lawn. Stephanie Perkins nailed the bona fide stereotypes of American tourists, how girls act with guys with English accents (um yes please), and everything about Paris. I was in love from page one.
Anna is 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. Which is why she is 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?
Stephanie Perkins captured Paris so accurately I couldn’t help but be transported back to my 7th grade school trip to Paris, walking along the streets, eating my crepe, and enjoying all the amazing history. Not only that but the love story was so cute, both Anna and St. Clair made for amazing characters that I enjoyed their story from start to finish. For a YA contemporary a lot of knowledge was thrown in that actually made the experience more fun. Parts of Paris that I didn’t know about were spoken of and the history lessons about them were so fun and interesting that I didn’t even realize I was reading history lessons. I also learned random knowledge along the way such as the difference between graveyards and cemeteries, because yes I really had no idea of the difference. If you’re wondering I guess a graveyard is always in a churchyard and a cemetery is a plot of land designated for burial. I also now know what callipygian means…having shapely buttocks.
Ok any who, fun facts aside thank you Stephanie, another aspect of this book that I was happy to find was that the amount of teenage self absorbency wasn’t too over done. Teenagers certainly do believe their crises are the end all be all so its always understandable why YA books have their characters act this way. But when its too over done and the characters are too ‘woe is me’ it certainly takes away from the book. This wasn’t the case here in the character of Anna. Yes, she was very wrapped up in her love life, but she was also aware of other peoples feelings, acknowledging when she was in the wrong, and accepting life situations she might have originally not wanted too. Too much teenage angst can give any one a headache, I however loved Anna and thought she was very reliable, relatable, and cute!
My two complaints are that the idea of when Anna kept thinking about if St. Clair likes her, doesn’t like her anymore, likes her again, got a bit redundant especially when we all knew what was going to happen. Also St. Clair staying with Ellie was way too prolonged and not really necessary, I didn’t like how that situation was handled. Not too big of complaints there though because all previously mentioned factors made up for these annoyances.
Was it just me or was Anna’s father a hit at Nicholas Sparks, HA! I have no idea I love his books but it sort of made me wonder..hmmm??? I thoroughly enjoyed this read, I fell in love with all the characters and the mood the whole book created. I melted and swooned over St. Clair. As soon as he quoted Neruda to Anna, in his English accent, I just knew they were going to be together forever. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy and quick read thats also adorable and humorous.
“‘I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.'”