Posts tagged ‘Anna and the French Kiss’

July 6, 2011

Europe on $0 A Day

by renata

I just unintentionally read two books and watched a movie that took place in Europe (by which I mean, I didn’t sit down to have a Europe-themed reading/movie week. I read and watched them all on purpose. I wasn’t tricked or anything.) and now I’m wishing someone would send me to boarding school and/or on an international scavenger hunt. But since that’s not likely, I guess I’ll just review some international YA books and a movie.

So, I finally read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. And, yes, I loved it. Probably everyone else has already read this by now, and Sandy already reviewed it, so let me just say that reading it made me really hungry. I give Anna and the French Kiss four croissants (out of a possible five).

croissant

Mmm, croissant.

Next up: Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. I know! I don’t know why I hadn’t read this yet, given that it’s probably her best-known book. I really enjoyed it! I had to suspend my credulity, to be certain… why did she have to be seventeen? It would have been so much more plausible if she were eighteen, in terms of traveling as a minor and such. But whatever, if I want plausibility I’ll read Jon Krakauer, right? So, seventeen-year-old Ginny finds the titular little blue envelopes and gets sent on a quest by her late, wacky Aunt Peg. She’s not allowed to call or email home (though she does cheat on that one a bit). She goes on a cool trip across Europe, and, get this, travelling by herself is like, totally a growth experience and she comes out of her shell and (maybe) finds love! She learns more about her Aunt Peg and starts coming to terms with her death and her life! For me, the best part of the book was the armchair travel. I give it three backpacks (out of a possible five), and I’m definitely going to put myself on the library wait list for The Last Little Blue Envelope.

13 Little Blue Envelopes

And finally, I saw Monte Carlo, the new film starring Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester. I went to see it on opening day with my friend Anna (with whom I previously saw Prom and Soul Surfer). We are aficionados of tween/teen movies, and we admire Selena Gomez’s work in Another Cinderella Story, Princess Protection Program, and Wizards of Waverly Place. We also like her album, Kiss & Tell. You could call us Selena Gomez fans and we would not even try to deny it. We were so excited about this movie that we went to see it on opening day.  (I KNOW.) Unfortunately, it was not worth our excitement.

MonteCarlo

I would not advise seeing this film.

The plot of Monte Carlo is: Selena Gomez, her fellow waitress friend, and her bitchy stepsister (Leighton Meester) all go on a one-week trip to Paris together, following Selena’s high school graduation. Their guided trip is very hectic and crappy. They get left behind by their tour bus and rush into a very posh hotel to get out of the rain. Inside, Selena Gomez gets mistaken for a very rich and spoiled heiress (also played by Selena Gomez). Heiress-Selena (who reminded me a lot of Posh Spice) is supposed to attend a charity ball the next morning, but she bails out of the hotel and goes to the beach (because she doesn’t care about the children). Waitress-Selena and her friends get whisked away in a private jet to Monte Carlo. “Hilarious” mistaken identity antics ensue, and in the end, heiress-Selena gets a mild dose of comeuppance and they all raise a lot of money for charity. Also, there are some European romances, obviously. Hoorays. We knew going into this that it would be formulaic and cheesy–that’s what we wanted. But it was just too slow-moving and too, well, boring, despite the great backdrops of Paris and Monte Carlo. Oh, and it needed about 300% more scenes with heiress-Selena. She was awesome. The best part of this movie was the anxious tween girls who sat behind us and offered helpful commentary like, “Oh no! She forgot her necklace! GO GET THE NECKLACE!” and “STOP KISSING!”

I rate Monte Carlo three of out five Spice Girls, but only if you can see it with chatty tween girls. Otherwise, two Spice Girls (and neither of them are Posh Spice). Oh, also, I feel strongly that this should have been a musical. Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy are all in various stages of launching musical careers. Plus, Finn from Glee is in it. And yet, no singing? Boo, Monte Carlo. BOO.

April 28, 2011

Why didn’t I go to boarding school in Paris?

by sandy

That is what I asked myself when I finished reading Stephanie Perkins’ fantastic debut novel, Anna and the Kiss. Let me tell you, I’ve read this book twice now and I love love love it. I actually bought the kindle version of it, and I love it so much, that I’m going to order a “real” copy so that I can lend it out to friends and make them read it too.

The novel introduces us to Anna, a teenage girl who is happy with the life she has in Atlanta, a best friend, a job she likes and a cute boy that she’s been flirting with. Her father, a Nicolas Sparks type novelist who has fallen into new money, decides it would be a good experience for her to spend her senior year the “School of America Paris” AKA SOAP. She is not happy with development at first. I admit, the first couple of chapters I was like “Come on, Girl. Your get to LIVE in PARIS! Get over it!” but before I started really disliking her she won me over with her instant crush on Étienne St. Clair.  St. Clair, as his friends call him was raised in London and therefore has a cute accent and good hair. He is flawed though. First of all, he has a girlfriend and he strings both her and Anna along for most of the novel. But that’s ok, because he is charming and his and Anna’s chemistry radiates off the page.

One of my favorite parts of the novel, which rang so true to me was Thanksgiving weekend when the two are only ones left in the dorm. (Spoiler Alert, but nothing earth shattering) – St. Clair spends the weekend in Anna’s room, and they are together the entire time. They bond, they talk, they get physically close but notthatclose but then on Sunday, when everyone comes back that intimacy feels like a brick wall between them. Suddenly they don’t know how to deal with each other. I have been there. It reminded me of all-night phone conversations where I revealed my most inner thoughts and then the next day feel strange about it.

As for the third character, Paris – I have fallen in love with a city I have never been to, but I feel like I have. The descriptions of the people, the places, sights and sounds gives a perfect setting for a love story.

Basically, Anna and the French Kiss instantly became a favorite of mine. Stephanie Perkins has two companion novels coming out, the next one Lola and the Boy Next Door will be published in September. If Anna is any indication, she is going to have a nice long career in the YA world.