A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will enjoy Anna's take on Paris, as she talks not only about the beautiful buildings there, but also what it's like to live in a culture where people take food so seriously. Some teens might enjoy discussing whether Anna's unflattering comparisons of America and Paris feel authentic to them.
Positive message of building a romantic relationship on friendship and really wanting to be around each other, not just for the physical stuff.
Positive Role Models
Anna and Etienne both grow up during their senior years. She becomes more independent as a result of her adventure abroad, and he, too, learns to take risks in order to get what he really wants.
Violence & Scariness
Anna and another girl get into a physical fight that leaves Anna with scratches on her face. Etienne punches a boy who calls Anna a name. During an argument, Etienne's father says he should smack Etienne in the head.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Anna and Etienne do sleep together, but it's really just sleep. She tells him she's a virgin; she knows he has had sex with his girlfriend (also, other couples are having sex). Their residential adviser gives Anna and Etienne condoms when he sees them together. Anna's American crush publicly declares that he's having sex with her best friend. Several classmates call Anna a slut after a boy says he's had sex with her. Some descriptions of intense kissing.
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Pretty much what you'd expect from a group of sophisticated, loud-mouthed teens in boarding school: "S--t" and its British equivalent, "a--hole," "bitch," "slut," and a few instances of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
A few negative mentions of fast food chains, such as McDonald's, Subway, and Taco Bell. Also: Target; movies including Star Wars, Lost in Translation, Iron Man.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In Paris it's legal for 16-year-olds to drink beer and wine (18 for hard liquor). Anna's embarrassed to tell her friends she's never been drunk before and quickly remedies the situation, drinking until she throws up. Other teen characters also get drunk and display beer pyramids in their dorm. Adults smoke, and although Anna and her friends aren't depicted as smoking, several characters smell like cigarettes after nights out.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door) takes place in a Parisian boarding school, where the resident teens swear, get drunk, and have sex. Although Anna's a virgin, she and her love interest do spend the night in the same bed. She also has some pretty intense makeout sessions. But there's a really sweet love story here: Anna and Etienne have authentic chemistry and friendship before starting a relationship, which could prove a good model for teens. Also, readers will enjoy the depictions of Paris, and perhaps want to discuss whether Anna's unflattering comparisons of America with Parisian life feel authentic.
Is It Any Good?
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is worth reading just for the beautiful descriptions of Paris and all the wonderful food there. With his English accent, stormy relationship with his father, and small, thoughtful gestures toward Anna, Etienne's a great romantic lead who'll have readers swooning, too. Parents will appreciate that there's a genuine friendship between the two protagonists, and that Anna even admits, "It's okay if St. Clair and I never become more than friends. His friendship alone has strengthened me in a way that no one else's has. He swept me from my room and showed me independence." The story may go on a bit long, with too many extra storylines, but when these two inevitably get together, ooh la la!
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