Welcome to Forgotten Fridays. This mission of this feature is, twice a month, to review books that are more than a year old. And we review them TOGETHER! Most reviews have minor spoilers because it is hard to block them out in a back and forth dialogue about a book. So keep that in mind when reading, though we do try to not mention anything that would ruin a book for anyone.
This week Bekka and Lyn are reviewing Bekka’s pick, Anna and the French Kiss.
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Lyn: Alright, I hope that everyone is getting their tomatoes ready to throw.
Bekka: *ducks* I didn’t HATE this one, but there’s a lot of problematic crap to unpack here.
Lyn: I kept looking at all the awesome ratings and I kept saying “AM I EVEN READING THE SAME BOOK??”
Alright, Bekka, since this is your pick, I will let you have the floor first. What were the major issues that you found?
Bekka: My biggest problem was the infidelity. I just could not believe that everyone’s favorite romance book was about a boy who cheats on his girlfriend for months.
Lyn: Right? I had a lot of issues with that blaring problem. I didn’t think it was cute at ALL that they were sneaking around, getting intimate while St. Clair had a girlfriend. It really ruined the mood for me.
Bekka: Exactly. Like, I can’t deny that I did get swept away in the cuteness from time to time – I’m easily manipulated like that – but there was always this nagging feeling in the back of my head that it was all sooo wrong. It really blows my mind how much people love this ship and St. Clair and everything he does with Anna. It’s like everyone just forgot about Ellie.
Lyn: I also didn’t like how Ellie (and every other girl in the book) was villainized. Anna made a comment that Ellie was nice, when they first met, but Anna didn’t like her right off the bat. I found it very rude and out of line. I also felt that every female character was around just to be a bitch or get in Anna’s way. For example, at Anna’s birthday party, Mer was talking to St. Clair, TALKING, and Anna has a head conversation that Mer shouldn’t talk to St. Claire because Anna was more of his friend than Meredith was. Also, why did Toph get off scott-free with dating Bridge, and Bridge gets all of the blame? For a girl covet someone else’s boyfriend, she was way out of line about getting bent out of shape with the whole relationship. Was it cool? No. Was it worth wrecking a friendship? Hell no.
Bekka: I agree that Anna was a total hypocrite about Bridget dating Toph. But, if we forget about Anna’s relationship with St. Clair for a second, I totally understand why she was more angry with Bridge than Toph. Toph doesn’t really owe her anything – he wasn’t her boyfriend or anything like that. But Bridge was supposed to be her best friend but instead went behind her back and lied about it for months. So I totally see why Bridge got most of the blame. Anna said herself she was more pissed about the lie than anything else. Aside from that, though, the way the author made every female relationship a rivalry really pissed me off. If Anna was a TRUE friend to St. Clair, she would have backed the fuck up and realized that Ellie is his girlfriend and his relationship with her deserves respect, and that Mer was his friend and THAT relationship deserves respect, too. But Anna wasn’t a good friend – she just wanted him for herself.
Lyn: I am very concerned about the treatment of the other women in the book. Is that what is selling in “chic-lit”? That all females are boyfriend-stealing bitches? Really? It really tears me up that each and every girl had some major issue. Even Rashmi, who wasn’t a rival, was still cast in a negative light. Anna thought Josh deserved someone better, but Rashmi was just a pain.
Bekka: Oh my god, that scene where Anna thinks Isla will be good for Josh really pissed me off. Anna needs to butt out of other people’s relationships. What’s good for Josh and Rashmi is up to JOSH AND RASHMI, no one else!
Lyn: Okay, I thought I was just nit-picking. I am glad someone else picked up on that.
I skipped right over a good point that you made. Anna should have respected another girl enough to back off of her boyfriend. Then Anna nags the crap out of St. Clair to break up with Ellie for her. If you have to convince someone to leave, then they’re not really worth it. It shouldn’t take pressure and manipulation to win over a boy. The storyline would have been so much cuter without the poaching part.
Bekka: I’ve been in a situation similar to Anna’s, where I developed feelings for a boy who had a girlfriend. I was a teenager at the time and it’s easy to get sucked into something like this. But the way to handle it is NOT to forget he has a girlfriend and it’s definitely NOT to pressure him to leave her. She should have said something like, if you want to be with me break up with her; just don’t string us both along. BOTH Anna and Ellie (and actually St. Clair, too) deserve better than all that.
On the other hand, I didn’t outright hate this book. I’m not sure what rating you gave it, but I went middling because there were still some cute moments (if you could ignore all the circumstances).
Lyn: I gave it two stars. I just can’t see myself giving it anything higher. I also highly dislike Paris. I think it is overrated, so it just sealed the deal for me. (I’m weird).
Bekka: Do you plan to read more of the series? I DNF’d Lola, but I adored Isla (weirdly, considering how I complained about her earlier lol.)
Lyn: I think I’m done with it. I labeled it as “abandoned series.” I do see that everyone liked Isla. It is the same Isla in the book?
Bekka: It’s the same Isla and the same Josh – there’s no cheating or anything, he and Rashmi broke up well before he and Isla have a thing. I liked it because, yes, it did focus on romance obviously, but there’s SO much more than just that going on in Isla’s life. So I liked it a lot better than this one.
Lyn: I might. We’ll see. Anything else you want to talk about before we wrap this up?
Bekka: Nope. I just REALLY needed to vent about the cheating and I think I did so successfully. I’m going with a very shaky 3 stars here.
Lyn: Two. The book wasn’t horrible, and I LOVE school/boarding school/dorm school situations, so it wasn’t a total bust!