Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Musings: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss

You guys. I've had it on my too-read list for at least six months, since KT Literary is Stephanie Perkins's agent, and she talked about it over the summer. Then I started following Stephanie on Twitter, read her website and knew I would totally love her book.

I tracked it down in NYC, and read it yesterday. I was almost afraid to, because I have such a friends crush on the author, and what if I didn't like the book! But how could that be when it has such a pretty cover? And is about France! And has a British-American love interest.

Well obviously it couldn't. I LOVED the book. They talked about the "Jingle bells, Batman smells", song for the love of Mike. But this blog is about learning about craft from books. So I'mma try and do that.

The one issue I had at first was understanding that the romance was the plot of this book. I'm not used to that. Obviously, books have romance, but I had to internalize the fact that Anna's journey WAS her relationship with Etienne, and other things were side-plot, including her adjustment to her French boarding school.

I literally opened this book, read two pages, and decided to rewrite my WIP in the first person. Something about Anna's voice, the way we get into her head immediately, made me see that that would work best for my characters too. She's very different from them, but I think they'd get along, actually. Strong opinions, strong voice, and a disdain for Nicholas-Sparksesque people? My MC would LOVE that. Along with Anna's love of Paris, in the end. Right.... side track.

I truly felt for her when she left school for Christmas. That feeling of alienation when things have changed, your little brother has sort-of forgotten you, your family explodes....? I've been there. The whole period was very raw, and I liked the way Anna realized her love for Etienne through it.

The plot definitely kept me turning pages, and most of the characters had depth. There were people I would have lied to have seen fleshed-out, and obvious nod to the coming-up companion novel, but in general it was fabulous! The setting has been gushed about in blogs from here to everywhere, so I won't go into that. I will go into how real it all felt. It's dialogue driven, but in a good way.

Good, good, good, good.

I'm sure I learned more, but I can't concentrate on that. Too busy trying to figure out how best to get to Paris in the near future.


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