Teen Book Reviews: Anna and the French Kiss & Twelve Steps to Normal

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Reviewed by Lily S.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is a Young Adult contemporary romance. It takes place in a prestigious boarding school in Paris, France called the School of America in Paris, A.K.A. SOAP. Anna, the main character, was forced into entering the school by her father, although she’d rather stay in Atlanta with her friends, and soon-to-be boyfriend, Toph. When she arrives, she feels a bit homesick, but soon meets a great friend group. In her friend group are St. Clair, Meredith, Josh, and Ramishi. St. Clair catches Anna’s attention, a result of his great personality, looks, and charming English accent, but Anna has to suppress her feelings for St.Clair because he has a girlfriend. On top of this, Anna struggles to actually speak French. St.Clair frequently asked to show Anna Paris, and Anna finally relented. They begin to get along and get closer and closer.

To start, Stephanie Perkins has a very great way of writing. Her writing was made for a very fun read, all while really toying with my emotions. This story was not just a simple frivolous romance novel, but it also dealt with serious issues that really make you feel for the characters and you find your subconsciously feeling so many emotions for them. Perkins’ writing made me feel so connected to each character. She also nailed it when it came to describing Paris. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, and this book made me feel like I was there. It was honestly a form of escapism for me. I felt as though I was there with Anna and St. Clair, walking around Paris, seeing vintage movies, and eating delicious food. I fell in love with Paris and it is now my dream place to visit. I especially loved the characters in this book because they each had such powerful personalities and said words that really stuck with me. Because they were so real and had real problems, I felt like I could really relate to them which contributed to the connection I felt with each character. I especially felt this with St.Clair because he was so genuine and he had a fun personality, but also said heart-warming words that had me feeling so many emotions. I felt so bad for him while he experienced family- problems. I found myself worrying about him in a really deep way. I also really loved Anna. She was so relatable and honest. Anna was such a great person and friend, so much that she makes decisions while taking into consideration how her friends will benefit. She was overall such a good narrator. It was so cute how she loved movies and reviewed them.

The next aspect of this book that really stuck with me was Anna and St.Clair’s relationship. It was so pure and innocent and then quickly escalated to a very romantic relationship. I loved how St.Clair convinced Anna to leave her room and show her Paris. I absolutely loved how they helped each other feel better and overall made each other better people. It was so sweet how they were best friends and in love. There was a lot of slow burn in the book, which was nice, but it got slightly annoying that they kept hiding their feelings. But when they admitted the love, it was so nice because of all the tension that was previously there. I think Perkins wrote their story so well and really included the very real long hill of falling in love. The other characters, Ramishi, Josh, and Merideth were written equally as well. I didn’t really like Ramishi though. I loved Josh and how he was a very talented artist. I hated Meredith at first, and how she “claimed” St. Clair, but I ended up feeling bad for her.

Overall, the story was very beautiful. Reading about Anna and St.Clair’s friendship and how it escalates made for such a great read. Anna and The French Kiss is definitely one of the best contemporary romance books I read. It had such a beautiful setting, excellent storyline, and simply had everything and more of what the perfect romance book should have.

5 stars.

Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn. Reviewed by Sarah F.

The main character Kira, had her whole life ripped away because of her dad’s alcoholism. She had to move away from her boyfriend, friends, her home, and basically everything she knew. After almost a year of being away, her father is sober and she’s moving back home. Kira is determined to fix her lost friendships and forgive her father or in her case, go back to her “normal life”. However, that is all ruined when Kira returns home to find three recoveries that her father brought home from rehab. Now another thing on her list is to get rid of them.

Without spoiling I would like to say most characters are very likable except Whitney and Jay, what they did is unforgivable in my opinion and how come Whitney is avoiding Kira and not the other way around? Some things Kira did were extremely confusing to me at least since I didn’t grow up in a household of recovery from substance abuse but, knowing her father’s past I don’t understand why she did what she did (page 342 if you want to know what I’m talking about). Kira can also be a huge brat sometimes but she isn’t too bad. I understand her temper for things and I think she blames a lot of her own issues on her father. I did enjoy the small romance between Kira and Alex I feel it lightened the mood of Kira in the book, I think Alex also really helped her accept and change the way she sees things. Nobody is perfect and I think the author purposely made Kira this way not to show that she’s a brat but, to show that nobody is perfect and feeling that way (how Kira feels) is normal.

The story was pretty good however the ending felt extremely rushed. Everything happened too quickly, there were like 5 things happening at once. Overall this book is decent, I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever read but it’s pretty good. I would recommend this book to those with similar experiences or as a light read(I am a relatively quick reader though).

4 stars.

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