Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Length: 372 Pages
Publication: December 2010
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
When Anna's wealthy author father decides to ship her off to an American school in Paris for her senior year of high school, she isn't very thrilled. Having to leave behind her mom and younger brother is bad enough; throw in her best friend and a crush that was just starting to get somewhere and she's devastated.
But Paris, and the school there, aren't as bad as they seem. Anna is drawn into a tight knit group of friends from her first day and soon life is starting to look up. Particularly since one of those new friends happens to be Etienne St. Clair-a gorgeous guy with only one flaw: he already has a girlfriend.
My sister and I agreed to a book exchange read. If she reads the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, then I would read the three novels in this series by Stephanie Perkins. I don't tend to read a lot of contemporary novels, sticking mainly to the fantasy genre. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with this read. It was enjoyable enough and a very quick read (I think it took me about six hours). Let me discuss some of the thinks I liked and disliked about this novel.
Anna-who's head we reside in throughout the novel-is a likable character...until near the end. I found Anna's struggles with being shipped away to a new school and leaving her old life behind made sense. Sure she's a teenage girl living in Paris (who wouldn't want that!?), but she's been uprooted from all she's ever known and wanted. And I like the fact that she even says this herself. She knows she shouldn't complain, it's just hard not to when she feels like she had no choice.
Toward the end of the novel I felt that Anna became rather annoying. She knew what she was getting into by becoming attached to Etienne and she still did it anyway. And sure her friends back home treated her very poorly, but she had kind of started to blow them off it seemed like. I don't really know what it was, but she just didn't feel the same at the end as she did in the beginning. And not in a good way.
I hear people raving about how perfect Etienne (St. Clair) is and while, yes, I did like him, he is not someone I would want to date. Ever. He had a girlfriend the entire time he was flirting with Anna and it didn't stop him! Why would you want a guy like that? Sure, he and Ellie were having problems, but how does that make his behavior ok? It just doesn't. So as much as I think he was a good guy deep down, he really has some growing up to do. And I think that growing up should take place on his own without a girlfriend holding him down. Sometimes you need to be alone so that you can learn to appreciate yourself. Etienne had a lot of growing to do. It's not good enough just to love others, you have to love yourself too.
The rest of the characters were likeable enough. Meredith, although I liked her, didn't serve much of a purpose besides being another obstacle to cross. She was the one who brought Anna and Etienne to each other, I suppose, but she just felt like a filler character. I honestly thought that Rashmi was the most important to the overall story and then Josh, at least as far as the main group of friends goes. I also felt that Dave was just thrown in to be a place holder. His character seemed to just spiral in random directions like Perkins wasn't really sure what her intentions were for him in the beginning. I wish it had been a little more consistent.
A good love story can be enjoyable and this one was fun, but I wouldn't call the love good. Etienne and Anna are cute together, but again, there is no excuse for keeping an old girlfriend if you know you're falling for someone else. I think this is really what made the story fall apart for me. In the beginning it made sense, toward the end, not so much. Etienne could have broken up with Ellie half way through and then had some new drama introduced to thwart his relationship with Anna and I would have been much happier. I almost feel like the characters backtracked instead of moving forward.
Overall it was an enjoyable read and I will likely pick up the next two to see what life is like for Lola and Isla, but I wasn't over the top excited for the message and conclusion of this novel. We shall see what I think of the next two.
Until next time, my friends. This has been your book loving friend,