Anna and the French Kiss

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Anna and the French Kiss Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Sweet love story has romantic Parisian backdrop.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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 Messages

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 & Representations

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. 


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.


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.


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."


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. 

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNicoleS124 April 6, 2020
Book was okay, not the best I’ve read before. There is some swearing now and then and goes in depth about kissing
Adult Written byjakepaulteam10 November 12, 2019


it does have some mature content but its not graphic and is perfect for tweens.
Teen, 14 years old Written byRose7 June 14, 2020

I enjoyed It

I thought it had a very charismatic plot and was fun to read because of that. I would suggest it, but it's not the best romance novel I've ever read j... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byridak November 25, 2015

Good Book! Language makes it not that appropriate

Really good! Can be very, very inappropriate! He sleeps with her, and they have a conversation about it. They swear a bit much!

What's the story?

Anna's upset when her dad ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in Paris for her senior year, but she quickly meets a good group of smart friends -- including handsome, charming Etienne St. Clair -- who show her the city's beauty. An aspiring film critic, Anna loves the city's many theaters (also the pastries!), but she also soon realizes she's in love with a boy who has a serious girlfriend. Is she wrong to believe that he has feelings for her, too?

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!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Anna's comparisons between French people and Americans. Do you think her assessment of Americans' fast food habits are true, for example? What differences do you see between life in your town and in Paris, as seen through Anna's eyes?

  • What  other stories do you know that feature a traveling protagonist? What's appealing about these stories?

  • What do you think will happen to Anna and Etienne as they go off to college? Do you think it's possible for people who are still in high school to stay together? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic reads

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