Can I talk about how much I ADORE this book. While often in YA Fiction, we find substance-less, shallow reads that end up making us happy, this book had something that made me want to read it over and over again. Like-able protagonist? Check. Hot guy? Check. Adventure? Check. Good supporting characters? Check. Stephanie Perkins really impressed me with this novel and I am going to stop short of shoving it down your throats until you read it!
The book begins with our main character, Anna, moving to Paris. Her dad is an author that is eerily similar to Nicholas Sparks, and once he hits the jackpot with his weepy romances, he sends his daughter off to Paris to impress his cultured friends. Now you might be thinking “Paris? How amazing!”, however Anna doesn’t quite have that same reaction. While many people her age (i.e. 17 year old high school seniors) would jump at this opportunity, Anna is less than thrilled. She was basically given no choice in the matter and that removes the allure of Paris for her. On her first night in Paris without her parents, Anna cries her eyes out until her next door neighbor, Meredith, invites Anna to her room. After being comforted, Anna leaves the room and bumps into the hunky St. Clair. And thus, our romance begins.
One thing that I adored about this book was the main character, Anna Oliphant. Anna was the kind of character that everyone can relate to. She had her imperfections (such as a gap between her two front teeth), which made me like her more. I find it a lot harder to relate to protagonists that are perfect looking. Anna also had a really cool personality: she was goofy, smart, funny, and real. I loved the way that she reacted to tense situations, and how she tried to make the best of everything. She actually had a film-reviewing blog, and I thought that was a cool quirk of hers as well.
The supporting characters were all fantastic. They all had a lot of depth and I appreciate that because sometimes authors just can’t do it. All the supporting characters were likable even though they all had some quirks and irritating qualities. I’d have to say my favorite supporting character (besides St. Clair of course!) was Rashmi. Rashmi was cynical, sarcastic, and unique and that really appealed to me. She was always very up-front about things and did not shy away from confrontation, which showed how strong she was. Anna’s friends were so easy to fall in love with and that really made the book a lot more enjoyable. When an author can make a fantastic cast of characters in a book, it increases not only the likability of the book, but it makes it feel more complete. At the end of the novel, I was attached to each and every one of these characters.
Now onto our complicated but to-die-for romance. Étienne St. Clair was definitely a swoon-worthy love interest. Not only was he smart and funny, but he was also unavailable which made the love plot even juicer. St. Clair was a character with so many different levels: on the outside you have the good looking, cocky, but nice boy; as we delve deeper into his character, we see that things haven’t always been so hunky-dory for him and yet he still manages to be a good person. His protectiveness of Anna was sweet, not stalker-y, and trust me there is a VERY thin line between the two. Although some of his actions frustrated me, I could never bring myself to dislike him if only for the fact that he was such a good friend to Anna and the others. His friendship with Anna was so cute and real, and although we root for them to become more for the majority of the novel, their friendship was very satisfying. Stephanie Perkins definitely gets points for not going for the “insta-love” option which we see so much in YA Fiction today.
The plot of the novel, while a bit predictable, was very satisfying. I found myself laughing out loud a few times and I may have shed a tear or two at some parts. There were a few unexpected twists and turns in the novel, which only made it more interesting. Although some might feel that the book was too predictable, I think that the amazing characters brought a brand new feel to it. This is definitely more on the romance-y side of YA Fiction, but don’t be discouraged; I never felt like it was one of those “girl swooning over boy for the majority of the novel” books.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to you if you are looking for a light, quick, read that you can’t put down. I wouldn’t suggest starting this book before you get to sleep on a school night, because I couldn’t put it down until I finished it at 3:00 in the morning. Happy Reading!
Remember, if you want me to review any specific book, let me know and I will be happy to help save you some time and money if it isn’t worth it!