Making the Impossible a Possibility

Archive for December, 2010

xxxBisesxxx {And some other controversial topics}

I have just finished Anna and the French Kiss, a great YA novel by Stephanie Perkins. This book is considered to be the best YA Fiction book of 2010, and is even recognized as one of the notable John Green’s loved books.

The great thing about Stephanie Perkins is that she does not try to demean teenagers. A lot of YA fiction is all about the lovesick girl who wants the boy she can never have. The books contain busloads of life lessons, heartache, and teen angst. It is true that some of the stereotypical teen lit came out inside of Stephanie Perkins’ novel, but she hid them so well that they were barely even noticeable. Let’s evaluate:

  • There is the ever-popular parents-are-divorced-and-I’m-trying-so-hard-to-deal-with-it. The good thing about Perkins, though, is that she made the emotions so real that it didn’t seem like a fake character ranting on about how unfair life is. She recognized that it’s a natural part of life for many teenagers, and showed how some would deal with it.
  • There is the heartache of a family member with a deadly illness. I don’t want to give too much away, but Perkins definitely caught the range of emotions that goes through one’s head. It was easy to relate to the character’s struggles with realizing reality.
  • There is the friendship struggles that result in many fights, break-ups, and tears.
  • There is the stereotypical teens-want-to-party-and-get-wasted, as well as peer pressure issues. This is the only part that I really didn’t like. Not everyone would immediately cave in to drinking alcohol. Oh, yes! And then there was the huge issue of a character being embarrassed to say that they were a virgin at the old age of… oh. Seventeen? Come. On. I know that there are some teenagers that do find virginity to be “uncool,” but should sex be  an inter-focus of a teen lit book? The media puts a lot of emphasis on intercourse by itself. It’s obvious that teens are interested in the subject, but should it really be generalized that teens are embarrassed to say they’re virgins?
  • Finally, there is the very-happy-ending-where-everyone-gets-along-nicely-and-the-bad-people-are-punished. I’m sorry to say that most girls won’t be sent to boarding school in Paris and then come back to America with a boy that is head over heels for her and absolutely wants to marry her and visit her every single day at college and profess his love underneath her dorm room. Nuh-uh. There’s probably only about ten girls that are lucky enough to have that as reality. Just saying. Then again, there’s always a way to prove something wrong. 🙂

So now, looking back at this review, I suppose you can say I was being quite negative. Although I have to say just the opposite. I am only posting this criticism to get you thinking about what teen lit is truly centered around. I mean, I absolutely loved Perkins’ novel. Anna was a girl I could deeply relate with {although I’ve never had a love rectangle with three very different guys.} The descriptions of France provided a very believable {and romantic} setting. There were the characters you love to hate, the laugh-out-loud-because-they’re-just-so-great moments, and the best nicknames I’ve ever heard of.

Then, of course, there was the French-American-English boy with the adorable British accent. What’s not to love about that? 😉

Overall, I highly recommend Anna and the French Kiss to anyone who’s looking for a funny, deep, and self-reflecting read… preferably those who love anything about France. Oh, yes, and French-American boys with British accents. 🙂

“I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It’s so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn’t have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.” ~Anna

*Check out Stephanie  Perkins’ phenomenal blog, Natural/Artificial, at:

http://naturalartificial.blogspot.com/

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