I’m a little bit afraid this is becoming a theme with my reading experiences. Books that lots of people I love, admire don’t hold up to their expectations for me. It was the case with The Book Thief and to some extend also with Fangirl.
Advice: I usually try to keep these reviews as spoiler free but I can’t with this one and also, I feel like everyone and their grandma has already read this book so proceed with caution.
Anna and the French Kiss started out fine and I love a good cute story but directly from the beginning, I knew what was coming. Anna and St. Clair have the epic love feels for each other but he has a girlfriend. Duh! Meredith, Anna’s nice neighbour also has feelings for the pretty boy. Jealousy. Misunderstandings. You get the drift.
I would have been far more forgiving, had it not taken until the very end of this not too short book, for Anna and St. Clair to get together. Because we all knew what was coming and while I understand for certain stories, it’s all about getting there, the pacing was just off for me. It all took too long. I so wanted to love this book but I couldn’t.
The characters are great and I really enjoyed them, the writing in general was fine, the setting was awesome and I really dig a boarding school story every now and then but eh. I wanted more plot and less misunderstanding.
What bothered me most was, when Anna returned back home over Christmas and her friendship with Bridge totally blew up over this stupid guy. I have talked my way into thinking I have fallen in love with a guy many times so I’m sympathetic to that but she was behaving like such a brat, I was not enjoying that part of the story.
Obviously, this is a very subjective review. These things work for certain people and they apparently don’t for me. Which is fine. It’s still a decent book I just don’t get the OMG-SQUEEEEEE-y-ness of it.
And not to make it sound all bad, because there were parts I enjoyed. The friendships between the characters were nice and I especially liked Anna and St. Clair as friends when they were not mad at each other for some stupid reason. I could really feel their true and genuine friendship. All the other relationships, be they platonic or romantic, in this story. I think the author captured the teenage environment very well. Like I mentioned above, I too, have felt a lot of the feelings and thought a lot of the thoughts Anna goes through. It reminded me a lot of myself which is a good thing. It’s just, the pacing didn’t work for me.
One more thing that is very specific to me as a reader. There is a throwaway line in the book, when Meredith is mad at Anna for making out with St. Clair that Meredith is a dyke for playing football (soccer to you Americans). It’s not meant as anything other than a reason to get Anna riled up but I would have loved to read that twist. Let me elaborate.
Meredith is not jealous of Anna but of St. Clair and it would totally have worked in this story. Meredith is so welcoming to Anna right from the beginning because she has an instant crush on the girl just like Anna has on St. Clair and vice versa. You could keep the jealousy part in, not much would change with that. The book would be more diverse (I mean, it already is but still, my little gay heart always craves more). And it’s a not so common twist in popular literature than girls fighting over a boy. I would have never thought of this, had there not been that line about 80% into the story.
So there you have it, my attempt at explaining why I am not head over heels in love with this story.