But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
[Re-read February 2013]
There are a number of reasons why I love this book so much, and chief among them is the way in which Anna is the focus of the book. Sure, Anna and Etienne are an awesome couple and the whole book revolves around their awkwardly fantastic (or fantastically awkward) steps towards developing a relationship, but Perkins doesn't forget to give Anna a personality in the meantime. I like her dedication to her film reviewing and how her love of the cinema comes through, and I like that she's the kind of girl who would go to the cinema on her own. She's funny, and smart, and a good friend, and all of this comes through as the book progresses.
I also like that Anna and Etienne are friends. They don't just hang out in the same circle waiting to kiss each other, they're proper friends who care about each other. They're also believable teenagers, which I think isn't always nailed in young adult books. I like that they're allowed to swear, and drink, and think about (and have) sex, without it being some huge scandal or the reserve of Bad Characters.
The whole living-in-another-country thing is captured really well - I did my study abroad in a country where there was no language barrier, but a lot of the cultural shock was familiar! Paris really came to life for me when I was reading Anna, from the cold weather and the winding streets to the piles and piles of colourful macaroons, and the wish that Anna makes at Kilometre Zero is one of my favourite things about this book: "I wish for the thing that is best for me."
I love how well Perkins captures the minutiae of Anna and Etienne's relationship - the accidental (or not-so-accidental) touches and the looking-when-you-shouldn't-be-looking and the exquisitely painful emotions Anna goes through as she oscillates between falling in love with Etienne and knowing she shouldn't be falling in love with Etienne, and all the bits in between. There is something about Perkins' writing that made revisiting this book an absolute joy, and something about her characters that make you want to stay up just that little bit later just so you can see what happens to them.
Overall rating: 9.5/10
Book source: Bought from Amazon.