|ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
The characters that fill Anna's world are incredibly well-written. From our film-obsessed and slightly awkward protagonist, to slacker-boy Josh, to the terrified-of-heights, adored-by-everyone St. Claire. It's been said by others before, but these characters and their interactions are incredibly authentic. This book does away with all the staple cliches and stereotypes of the YA love story in favor of incredibly adorable relationships and realistic dialogue. Somehow Perkins manages to write everyday conversations without making them boring or annoying, but instead utterly charming.
Anna's relationships and feelings in this book are not clear-cut. There are shades of grey in the things she wants (or thinks she wants), the decisions she makes, and the ways she acts. Though this means that there are a few times I was less-than-pleased with her actions, it also makes for an incredibly realistic and authentic read.
And if the characters are lovely and realistic, the setting is... well, the setting is magical. This is Paris, just as beautiful and wonderful and yummy as you'd ever imagine it, and Perkins does an incredible job of building Anna's world without getting in the way of story. The descriptions are intense and beautiful, pulling the reader into the world and the story. So much about this book - the characters, setting, and Anna's amazingly authentic voice - is perfect. Funny, warm, magical, and unforgettable. I love it. I love it, and I didn't expect to. Read this book ASAP; it really is that good.