And this quad-review was so epic that we split it into two posts, lest you get overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of this book.
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? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
We give you: PART ONE!
ON OVERALL GUSHING:
Frankie: This review is easy: I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT
Janine: I couldn't put it down. And when I had to, I couldn't think about anything else but picking it up again. And I want to go to Paris. And I want to study French. And I want to eat macaroons and sandwiches with drippy Fontina cheese. And maybe even wear uncomfortable shoes. And any book you can say all that about--including that it makes you WANT to STUDY something, must be pretty good.
Donna: I read ANNA in one sitting --- and it's not a short book!
Sara: No! But it doesn't feel long.
Janine: It flies by--which is the only sad thing about--that it ends. :(
Donna: Well some of us, (coughFrankiecough), just pick it up and re-read it. That's kinda the only cure, til Stephanie Perkins' next book comes out.
Frankie: You HAVE to read it twice!
Sara: Can you believe this was Stephanie’s debut?
Janine: Um...no. I cannot believe that. It is so perfectly paced and the tension is so just right.
Donna: It kinda makes me hope there are like 17 imperfect novels in a Perkins house drawer somewhere. Because there has to be SOME explanation for this.
ON CHARACTERS AND FRIENDSHIPS:
Donna: So let's talk about the details of ANNA --- Anna is an American teen who gets sent to a Parisian boarding school. Sounds pretty tame. The brilliance is in the execution.
Sara: Like the characters. Anna is anything but boring.
Janine: I agree with Sara--but she's also so normal. Ya know? In a writerly sense, she is very realistically written. In a character sense, she's a normal highschool girl with her own interests, opinions, quirks and insecurities. I LOVE that. She just felt so real.
Sara: I thought Anna was a lovely balance between shy and outgoing--It would be really easy to write a wallflower character, considering the crazy circumstances she's put into. But Perkins let Anna's personality shine through on every page.
Janine: Not contrived at all.
Sara: She didn’t feel like an overly dramatic reality TV version of a teenager.
Frankie: Yes! And she was so relatable--I can't think of one moment or feeling she experience that I couldn't relate directly to my own life
Donna: And she was someone I wanted to be FRIENDS with. Whereas many YA characters that I love, I know I'd never be friends with them in real life.
Janine: I wanted to be her friend too!
Frankie: I didn't! I wanted to be her! Because I wanted Etienne St. Clair, the best love interest ever.
Janine: Oh, ok, yah. good point
Donna: I love the development of friendships and relationships in the novel. Because Anna joins in with an established group of friends in Paris. And though she becomes one of them, she still feels separate.
|We love it too, Stephanie!|
Frankie: Yeah, what made Etienne and Anna's relationship work so well and feel so tense was because they really were friends, within a larger group.
Sara: In fact, there's even some tension between her and other group members.
Janine: Which I think is a very real part of highschool.
Donna: The push-pull of friends, the tension of girls liking boys who like a different girl, and vice-versa.
Frankie: You don't always know who to trust, sometimes you feel like your friends don't like you and it's all in your head--she totally captured that. But in Paris!
ON SHORT GUYS AS LOVE INTERESTS (AKA LOVE FOR ETIENNE ST. CLAIR):
Donna: I LOVE THAT HE WAS SHORT.
Frankie: Never in my life have I fallen for a shorty! THAT is how great he is.
Sara: The shortness made him more British. Like a hobbit!
Frankie: He'd be a perfect hobbit.
Janine: Not at all like a hobbit!
Frankie: Hobbits are cute!
Sara: Like a hot hobbit.
Donna: Oh, ladies.
Frankie: He'd be the hobbit all the other hobbits were in love with.
Janine: I love hobbits, but I do not envision hairy feet on Etienne!
Sara: Haha. True. He'd been much more well-groomed.
Stay tuned for part two of the quad-review tomorrow, when we talk about Paris, culture shock, and English French American Boy Masterpieces!