Worst Read Wednesday: Anna and the French Kiss

Welcome to Worst Read Wednesday in which I talk about books that were awful or that I did not enjoy as much as it was/is hyped.  Worst Read Wednesdays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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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?-Goodreads summary

Before I begin I just want to say that I do not hate this book.  Rather, its high ratings and hype made me expect something more.  Please do not kill me! 

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the most popular YA books at my local Barnes & Noble; I had to hunt the shelves and figure out their shipment schedule in order to obtain this book.  For all the hype this book receives and the trouble I went through to purchase it, I could not wait to begin this book!

I read this book in December, 2012.  As I typically love reading romances in the summer time, there’s also something quaint about reading romance novels during the Christmas season, and I could not wait until summer to read this book!

As stated, I started reading this book with extremely high expectations.  EVERYONE told me to read it.

The book began a bit shaky for me.  Immediately, I was annoyed with the main character, Anna.  She has been given an amazing opportunity to study abroad in France.  While it is her senior year of high school and she’ll have to leave her former routine, I understand some slight disappointment.  However, Anna was extremely upset about her parents’ decision.  I recall her father’s reasoning for this trip was so she could “experience the world in which she lives.”  What a lucky girl!  Yet, Anna was appalled by her parents’ judgments and could never seem to grasp their appreciation of multiculturalism.

Therefore, this led me to believe that Anna’s character, Perkins’s attempt to fictionalize an 18 year-old girl, was not quite an accurate portrayal of girls Anna’s age.  Indeed, everyone, including characters, have their flaws, but Anna’s frequent unhappiness with her new schooling (IN PARIS!!) felt unrealistic.  I was 18 not too long ago, and I would have jumped on this experience.  Likewise, I know many others who would be thrilled to have such a trip.  

Furthermore, Anna’s frustrations do not fully cease until she meets “the boy,” Etienne St. Clair.  Admittedly, he is charming, and I did have a little crush on him.  However, I felt as thought he was too perfect.  I mean, a French/American guy with a British accent, who was also very worldly, smart, and knew exactly how to swoon girls; do such boys exist because I have never encountered one?  If they do, where do I sign up to get one?  Anyway, where Anna was lacking in some “likable” qualities, Etienne was hogging the charisma, and where Etienne was lacking in the flaws, Anna acted too annoying.  Thus, I think both Anna and Etienne needed more blending in order to be realistic teenagers.

There are some things that I really enjoyed about this book.  For example, the setting of Paris and Perkins’ descriptions of the experience were phenomenal and enable the readers to truly envision the scenery.  However, my issues with Anna and Etienne were my major reasons for not falling for this book’s hype.  In Perkins’s defense, I believe that YA Contemporary Romance is one of the hardest genres to write as one has to create a relationship that is meaningful but believable without being unbelievable or distasteful.  While the attraction between Anna and Etienne is obvious, and I enjoyed reading their various “moments” when they were together, I just could not get past the individual characters.  

Overall, this is a good book but not a fantastic book.  I look forward to reading Perkins’s next installment Lola and the Boy Next Door in the near future.

*What are some books that you did not like or felt they were/are overhyped?  Comment below!*

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