POINT ZÉRO DES ROUTES DE FRANCE.
“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France.’ In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “It’s the beginning of everything.” I look back up. He’s smiling.
“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I’m glad you’ve come.”
I will read a thousand books that will bring me many places otherworldly and beautiful but let me just say that I will always have Paris.
And of course, Anna and The French Kiss. (Because books are places our hearts dwell in when our corporeal forms are stuck in one physical set of coordinates.)
(And sorry for the almost technical, trying hard words of wisdom. I have just left my dreams of becoming an engineer last Tuesday.)
After finishing up with Bloodlines series, I decided to read Anna and The French Kiss again. Why? Because it deserves to be read and experienced over and over again, because it will make you feel things and clouds and unicorns and a love kindled in the City of Lights. And that’s the closest I will ever fall in such magical love.
Also, because I have always wanted to dedicate a section of this blog to the books I have read before. Originally, I made this blog to document my journey through the books I will be reading. But I have read so many books already, and many of those deserve to be given praises just because it is right to pay tribute to their genius, or awesomeness, or both.
Again. Another glance. This time I turn, automatically, just as he’s turning away. It’s a dance, and now there’s a feeling in the air like one of us should say something. Focus, Anna. Focus. “Do you like it?” I whisper.
He pauses. “The film?”
I’m thankful the shadows hide my blush.
“I like it very much,” he says.
I risk a glance, and St. Clair stares back. Deeply. He has not looked at me like this before. I turn away first, then feel him turn a few beats later.
I know he is smiling, and my heart races.
After reading it for the second time, Anna and The French Kiss still gave me that intense wave of warm and fuzzy feelings that I never wanted to live my life anymore, and just wish for my Etienne St. Clair to finally come around be with me AND PARIS, DEFINITELY PARIS!
The books starts as Anna complaining how her father, separated from her mother, sucks balls for shipping her off to Paris just to appear real classy among his peers. Leaving Atlanta, her little brother Seany, her best friend Bridgette and her almost-lover Toph, she arrives at Paris with a bleak impression that eventually starts to wear off upon meeting who will soon be her closest friends. And Etienne St. Clair, international pretty boy extraodinaire.
The journey to the WAFF-y happy ending was long and really bumpy—filled with girlfriends, abandonment issues, friends with not-so-secret feelings, shitty fathers—but no matter how cliché the saying is, the journey certainly means more than the destination. Through their whirlwind journey to love, Stephanie Perkins takes the reader in a stroll through the prettiest places in Paris: Latin Quarter, Notre-Dame, Luxembourg Gardens. To be honest, I’m not a Paris kind of girl, like I’d certainly love to go there, but I think Vienna is more romantic. Or Cannes.
But after reading this book, I’m not saying I’m converted but, I am positive I want to go to Paris more than just for my wanderlust. And that’s one thing I love about this book, how Paris was a big setting for Etienne and Anna. It’s almost a character on itself, a mis-en-scene for the book. If anything, I am dying to go to Paris just to visit the places Anna and Etienne went, stand atop of Kilometer Zero, and feel what they had felt when they were standing there.
What made me fall in love with this book was despite knowing it’s a HAE, it plays the readers’ emotions, entices you with the beautiful scenery (and beautiful English/American boy with his perfect accent and makes you swoon with his French), and it slowly hooks you into loving their characters. Before you know it, you are Anna, and you are hurting whenever Etienne leaves, melts when they first kissed, rejoiced when they FINALLY got together. And those may or may not be in order. You should read the book to correct me on this, *winks*.
I guess you all wouldn’t know about this quirk of mine, but I simply just adore books which make every component of their work together to tell a seamless story. The characters with their background and personality, the places they go, their jobs, the minor characters! God, I love it when minor characters, all of them, play significant parts to the story. I believe the best stories are the stories told beyond the dialogue. And Anna and The French Kiss is definitely one of them.
(Shameless Plugging!: The third installment of this series is about their friend, the struggling artist Josh, and the shy but principled Isla Martin, in the book Isla and the Happily Ever After, coming out soon this year! Read the second book, Lola and The Boy Next Door, then check out the third book! Seriously guys, you can never go wrong with Stephanie Perkins.)
And a little random history: I’ve been so curious to find what made Anna and The French Kiss top so many YA lists in GoodReads, and really tried so hard to find a copy of this book. I remember it took me months until I got my copy of this. And then I knew the long wait was worth it.
I miss Paris, but it’s not home. It’s more like . . . I miss this. This warmth over the telephone. Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?
Oh, Anna. It may be a person, but for me, my home is in between the pages of the books that made my heart melt, made my soul fly, and let me live a thousand lives with them.
Anna and the French Kiss: 5/5 (FAVORITE!!)