Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins Hooray! I have muchly been looking forward to reviewing this book! And now I finally will!So ... I was very skeptical of this book when it first came onto the scene. The cover and title make it look like the typical teen romance novel. You know ... Girl goes to new school. Girl meets hot guy. Hot guy seems like a jackass, girl thinks hot guy will not like her, but then he magically does. They make out a lot, maybe break up and get back together a few times ... In other words, the kind of story that I'm totally sick of and that I would totally hate. So, it didn't go onto my to-read list.Then I started seeing this book everywhere. Book bloggers and YA authors everywhere were going nuts over it and saying it was a must-read. I didn't hear a single bad thing about it. So, after a while I decided it was a worth a shot.And ah, what a great decision that was.It's hard for me to explain what, exactly, makes this book so good. Just describing the plot doesn't really do it justice––because it still sounds like the plot of a Disney Channel Original Movie or something. Anna is a teenage girl with divorced parents. Her father is famous for writing sappy fiction (not-so-subtly poking fun at Nicholas Sparks *snickers*). Anna goes to boarding school in France without knowing anything about France at all, she meets a cute guy named Éttiene St. Clair and his quirky friends ... and, well, stuff happens! So, yeah. You're probably not foaming at the mouth to read it yet––neither was I, after reading the plot summary. I guess it's just one of those books you have to experience before you pass judgment.What really makes this book so lovable is Anna herself. Nowadays, there seem to be two types of main female characters in YA fiction: 1) Mary Sues. Whiny, needy, obnoxiously self-conscious, etc. Need I say more? 2) The backlash at Mary Sues: the girls who are so tough/kickass they just seem overconfident and obnoxious, or just plain unrealistic. Anna is neither; she seems like an actual teenage girl.From the very first sentence, I felt a connection with her: "Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge." Ha! Right there with you, sister. And as soon as she got left at boarding school, the first thing she did was just burst into tears ... Totally what I would do, too. Throughout the book, she maintains a healthy balance between confidence and self-consciousness. Her tone is consistently honest and funny.Éttiene/St. Clair (People call him either one...) is also a wonderful character. I expected him to be the typical bad-boy/creepy-stalker type (since that's what tends to be popular nowadays)––but like Anna, he is a very believable character. He also has his flaws and insecurities; he's just as nervous and unsure as she is. And that's what makes their romance so lovable and compelling.I don't usually like these teen-romance type books, but Anna and the French Kiss is most definitely a standout from its genre. I read the whole thing in a day, and whenever I wasn't reading it I was wondering what would happen to the (awesome) characters. I highly recommend this, even to those of you who think you don't like YA romance. :)