Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins 5 starsView full review here!Writing down the release date above I wonder: where have you been all this long? I knew about this book, though. I've just kept off reading it, because there were some things that didn't attract me AT ALL. First off, it was a hype, and I know I'm a hypocrite for it, but I don't like hypes. But mostly, the cover and the short summary made me feel a little itchy. I was afraid this book was going to be just like any another cliche chicklit. That I would sort of like, but not love it.Oh god, why?Honestly, I don't even know what it is about this book that made me love it so much. I'm all for cute love stories, but they never wow me like this one did. And let's be honest: the entire 'cliche chicklit' setting is there: boarding school, an incredibly cute guy, Paris... could it be any... more?But ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is not your average girly love story. Well, it is, but it's also really smart. The narrative and plot were brilliantly put together. Stephanie Perkins' writing is quirky and entertaining, and the pacing was just perfect. There was never a dull moment. Only intense moments, miserable moments, moments that made me snort with laughter. And as much as I love Paris and love how I could so vividly remember it while reading, it was the characters that made this book.I've read a review somwhere from someone who not only didn't like St. Clair (WHAT?!), but also thought Anna was whiny, and I couldn't disagree more. Sure, she's not exactly excited about going to school in Paris, but what do you want when you're seventeen? I think I would've been scared as hell. But Anna was funny, sarcastic, self-conscious, imperfect and very easy to relate to.And it's not just Anna. It's not even just St. Clair (oh god, St. Clair!). I adored Meredith, Rashmi and Josh just as well. Especially Rashmi, she was an interesting surprise. I loved how these characters each have their own issues and background stories.But for me, the very best part was that there was no love at first sight scenario, because those usually make me want to smack the book against the wall. Which would not have been good for this book, because I wouldn't have been able to fall in love with it. I love how Anna and St. Clair form this amazing friendship.The only thing - YES, THERE IS A THING - that I didn't really like was how Anna ended up switching between calling him 'St. Clair' and '√Čtienne' for quite some chapters. I didn't mind the first time, but she did it a couple of times and I got a little irritated by it. But just a little. Not nearly enough to make want to drop the rating to 4,5 stars.This book. I will read it over and over again. I'm going to have to buy the hardcover version, because the paperback won't last two years. I started reading this in the beginning of my exam week, which was not my most clever moment. I just couldn't put it down. I know this comes closer to a serenade than an actual review of the book, but that's because ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS pulled me right in and made me fall in love with it. And a little with St. Clair. Okay, a lot.Memorable quotes"I'm a little distracted by this English French American Boy Masterpiece.""I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I'm not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it."