I wonder how many people saw my book when I was reading in the airport/on the plane and thought, why did that girl rip the cover off her book? To be realistic, I bet no one even noticed because staring at someone else’s stuff is a bit rude. But either way, I am going to explain just briefly why the book pictured above has no cover. The simple answer it was a strip return that I saw in the back room at work and booksellers are allowed to take some home… If you have ever worked for a book store you probably know what I mean. Moving on to the review now…
Summary taken from Goodreads
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?
I really enjoyed this book! It was a quick read for me, mainly because I read it on my airplane trip back to school and it’s easy for me to read a lot on travel days (Vegas to Boston usually takes roughly 9 hours including layover time). I also related to Anna a bit in that I had the opportunity to study abroad last year (and I have a blog where I review things like books and tv shows, okay we aren’t exactly the same), and she has a large interest in film, which happens to be my area of study in college! Paris is a beautiful city, and when I visited for a day, I didn’t get to see nearly everything that I wanted to. Either way, I found Anna and St. Clair’s love story cute and just the right amount of frustrating that I think Stephanie Perkins intended. I have seen some pretty harsh opinions of this book, but as I have said before, I give books high ratings based off of the amount of joy they gave me while reading and this story made me feel happy. It’s intended for a bit of a younger audience than my current age range I think, but it was so easy for me to get invested in this story and feel the emotions that Anna and her friends were going through and that’s what really made it work for me.
My Rating: 4 stars
My biggest critique of this novel would be that it’s full of occurrences of plot convenience. A lot of the scenes between Anna and St Clair out in the middle of Paris happen just by chance that he was on the same road as her, or happened to be visiting a certain place when she impulsively went there. So in that way, the book was maybe a bit cheesy. There are also tons of time gaps, which makes sense because this was a 372 page book that covered 9 months of Anna’s life. You’re going to have to gloss over some stuff to get to the end of the story.
The thing I liked most about this novel is the message it provides for readers about the arbitrary nature of friendships and relationships. There are a wide variety of relationships established at the start of the story: the core friend group consisting of Meredith, St. Clair, Josh and Rashmi, romantic relationships between Josh and Rashmi as well as St. Clair and Ellie, Anna and her best friend Bridgette from back home, and Anna’s somewhat romantic relationship with Toph back home. I loved that there was so much character development in the novel and that none of the relationships I listed were unchanged by the end. St. Clair is very much afraid of change and hasn’t ended his relationship with Ellie even though he knows it needs to be over. Josh and Rashmi are seemingly great together but they begin to grow apart and realize they’re better off being friends. And there’s sort of a love quad going on between St. Clair, Ellie, Meredith, and Anna. For the most part it’s a triangle because Ellie is hardly in the story and doesn’t matter too much. It’s the friendship between Anna and Meredith that really gets into the heart of the issue. Anna knows Mer has a huge crush of St. Clair, and therefore refuses to let herself act on her own crush. But it becomes very clear that St. Clair reciprocates the feelings for Anna and not Meredith. I like the trials that this puts Anna through, and also that a similar situation happens with her friends from home because it really builds character for Anna. She has to realize that some feelings are out of human control, but it isn’t worth losing friends over lost love.
I liked the little dig at Nicolas Sparks with the character of Anna’s dad. That was cute, and also that Stephanie Perkins added in the cancer element with St. Clair’s mother but left us with a hopeful ending that she will survive. There are two more books in the series, but judging from the titles, they are not about the same main characters. After this, only Josh will be remaining in Paris for another school year, so I’m sure he’ll be around and maybe there will be some connection to Anna and St. Clair. But maybe not. Maybe this is the end for them.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Please don’t comment with any spoilers about the whole series though because I do plan to read the rest of this series eventually 🙂