Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Manly Review of "Anna and the French Kiss"

I'll be honest...I considered buying this one online.

It was a Tuesday, late afternoon.  Slow time of day for the YA section of the bookstore...  

I approached with caution, careful to first walk past the teen books towards the calendars.  

I turn, pretending to look for's clear.

I move quickly down the back aisles towards YA.  (Why do they have to put the teen section in the front of the damn store?)  I normally don't mind if strangers see me buying books with teenage girls on the cover, but today is different.  I'm buying Anna and the French Kiss.  

This book is so girly that the guy on the cover doesn't even have a head.  Just a giant hand with creepy long fingers and a double jointed elbow.  AND, "French Kiss" is on the cover.  You understand why I'm in stealth mode?

I sneak around the corner.  "Perkins...Perkins...." 

Busted.  She's so short I don't see her until it's too late.  Our eyes meet, I look away hoping to quickly find a book with a dragon on the cover that I can pretend to be interested in.  

Wait...did she look away, too?  It's another adult.  She's glancing at me out of the corner of her eye.  She's wondering if I notice her...age.  I do.  Oh, yes...I do.

I feel better.  I can find the French Kiss  book now and she won't judge me.

I search through the shelves and find it.  I've heard great things about this book.  I momentarily forget what I'm doing and hold the book out for everyone to see as I stare at the cover wondering how much french kissing is actually in the book.

She comes around the corner and I feel her stop dead in her tracks.  Out of habit I turn to see her, my mind hasn't recovered yet from French Kiss and I have a dumb ass smile on my face.

Her eyes fall on the book in my hand.  She gives me "the look" and leaves.  

I'm home now.  It's a safe place, so I leave the book on my desk.  

"Dad?"  It's my 9 yr old daughter.  She's staring at the book with a "gross" look on her little freckled face.

"It's not about french kissing," I stutter.  "The story is in...France, or you get it?"

"Yeah, but it looks girly."

"Don't you have homework to do?"


"Well...then you're grounded."


"I don't know...just get outta here."

She giggles and leaves.  Kids.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss.  It's not my kinda book, but I read it effortlessly and enjoyed every page of it.  I chuckled through the entire read.  I liked Anna.  I liked all the friends.  I liked the overall situation Anna found herself in.  

I found the dialogue to be spot on.  It didn't sound like an adult trying to sound like a teenager, dude.  


I actually liked the boy.  For once, a love interest that isn't a dumb shit.  St. Clair is a cool dude.  He's not an arrogant bad boy that treats Anna like she's worthless.  I love that he isn't Mr. Perfect.  He doesn't have enough integrity too NOT CHEAT on his long time girlfriend, but this (I believe) was dealt with in an appropriate way.  He admits his mistakes.  As I reader, I believe him...he didn't know what to do and he was scared.  (I appreciate male characters that can admit these we just have to get teenage boys to read!)

Why Guys Should Read This Book

It's funny.  It's realistic.  The female characters are likeable, realistic and attractive.  Paris is cool.  

There's a great contrast between two male characters that Anna is involved with that guys should learn from.  

Dave is nice to Anna.  He pursues her.  She makes out with him.  It's all he was interested in.  He ends up being a dick face and telling everyone Anna slept with him.  A real winner.

St. Clair is nice to Anna.  They become friends.  He falls in love, but doesn't know what to do.  He screws up and let's it go to far.  He admits his mistakes.  He apologizes.  He doesn't blame anyone else.  He takes responsibility for his choices.  

He says things like, 

"No matter what a terrible boyfriend I was..."

"I'm sorry for what happened..."

"I've been so stupid..."

"You're the most incredible girl I've ever known.  You're gorgeous and smart, and you make me laugh like no one else can.  And I can talk to you..."

Take notes guys...take notes.


  1. This is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! And now you should definitely read LOLA!

  2. If I was an agent, I would sign you just on the quality of your blog posts. Hilarious! Keep it up, Daniel

  3. This is one of the most delightful reviews I've ever read.

  4. I love this review! Read Lola too! Also, Isla, which comes out later this year! :)

  5. Awesome review! One of favs and I agree about you needing to tackle Lola too. :)

  6. Haha, love how you grounded your daughter. Really great review!

  7. You know, I'm french and I didn't know what "french kiss" meant before. Because, we don't call it french kiss here. So, when I read it, I knew the title was cheesy because of the word "kiss", but I didn't know much it really was.
    Love Anna and the FK. Yo.

  8. Your daughter is one lucky girl. Great review!

  9. This was a fabulous review! I chuckled to myself the whole way through especially while you recounted the pursuit to buy the book. 'Anna' was one of my favourite reads last year and it's so refreshing to hear a mans take on it!

    Great work (and awesome blog!)

  10. Ha! Even I was embarrassed to read this book in public because of the cover. It's so cheesy! But it's a wonderful book. Very authentic, as you say. And please, yes, get boys to take notes from Etienne St Clair. Swoooon.
    Love your blog!

  11. I LOVE this review! And I agree, boys should definitely read. They could learn a few things from even the bad boys. :-)

  12. I had to read it after seeing all the buzz on Twitter today, and I have to say, you do not disappoint. Great blog post. I can't wait to see what's next on your list!

  13. Yay! Adult male perspective on YA! This is great!

  14. Oh. My gosh. So glad you just followed me on Twitter because this review = golden. LOVE hearing a guy's opinion about YA since let's face it - the YA blogging world is almost entirely females - and the review made me laugh out loud. Loved hearing your opinions and good for your for reading Anna and the French Kiss! I'm impressed!

  15. This review is HIGH-larious. Love love love this (and Anna, of course)

  16. Thank you for making me laugh! And for your completely honest opinion. I loved this book so much, and it's really interesting to see it from a guy's point of view. Glad you enjoyed it :) And I'm looking forward to more of your posts!

  17. Aaron, I love your review!!! You should write your own YA book for "real men!" So glad I found this...I don't know when I have laughed so hard or enjoyed a review so much! The girls over at The Indie Bookshelf are loving this too!

  18. This review made me read the book. Against all schedules and responsibility, I read the whole book this weekend, then checked the blog again in the morning to reread your review. I totally agree -- please keep up the reviews!

    1. Jacky, thank you so much! This means a lot to me.

  19. Awesome review! I loved the bit about how you were trying to sneakily buy a copy of this book. I can totally relate because I felt a little embarrassed when I asked for this book from the bookstore's customer service. :P Totally worth it though, Anna and the French Kiss was one of my favorite books in 2010.

  20. This is such a cool review -- I loved the story about how you got the book and the review itself. I'm so glad you liked it, too! :)