Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins


Welcome to the charming world of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins! 🗼✨ This delightful novel, published in 2010, has since captured the hearts of readers around the globe with its enchanting blend of romance, humor, and the pains and pleasures of growing up. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Paris, this story is not just about love; it’s a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and the complexities of the heart.

Stephanie Perkins, an American author known for her ability to weave compelling narratives with relatable characters, truly shines with this debut. As part of a series that includes “Lola and the Boy Next Door” and “Isla and the Happily Ever After,” Anna and the French Kiss stands out for its engaging storytelling and memorable characters. The genre? A YA (Young Adult) romance that’s as sweet as a French macaron, with layers of depth that explore adolescent experiences and emotions.

So, buckle up for a ride through the City of Light with Anna and company, where love, laughter, and life lessons await at every cobblestoned corner. 📚💖 Whether you’re a sucker for a good love story or hungry for a cultural adventure, this book promises to be a delightful treat!

Plot Summary

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins unfolds as a captivating tale of romance, discovery, and the challenges of new beginnings.

  • Exposition — Anna Oliphant’s life takes an unexpected turn when her father sends her to the School of America in Paris (SOAP) for her senior year. Initially resistant to leaving Atlanta, her home, Anna steps into the City of Light, feeling both out of place and excited about the unknown.
  • Rising Action — At SOAP, Anna meets a charming group of friends, including the alluring Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her closest friend. Despite Étienne having a girlfriend and Anna nursing a crush back in Atlanta, the two form an undeniable connection. As Anna navigates the ups and downs of life in Paris, her feelings for Étienne deepen, leading to tension and confusion.
  • Climax — The climax of the story occurs when Anna and Étienne finally confront their feelings for each other. After months of tension, misunderstandings, and heartache, a moment of honesty brings them together. This turning point happens against the backdrop of the beautiful Parisian setting, adding to the intensity and romance of their confession.
  • Falling Action — Following their admission of love, Anna and Étienne must navigate the complexities of their relationship. This includes dealing with Étienne’s fear of heights, which Anna helps him overcome, and the challenge of maintaining their bond amidst the pressures of school and personal issues.
  • Resolution — The story concludes with Anna and Étienne solidifying their relationship. Despite the obstacles they’ve faced, including Étienne’s initially unresolved relationship and Anna’s fears of the future, they commit to each other. The novel ends on a hopeful note, with Anna and Étienne looking forward to exploring their love in the city that brought them together.

Anna and the French Kiss is a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and the power of love, set against the enchanting backdrop of Paris. Through ups and downs, Anna and Étienne’s story captures the essence of young love and the unforgettable experiences that shape us.

Character Analysis

In Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins crafts a cast of characters that are not only memorable but also exhibit significant growth throughout the narrative. Here’s a closer look at the main characters:

  • Anna Oliphant — A relatable protagonist with a love for cinema and a dream of becoming a film critic. Sent to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year, Anna initially feels out of place but gradually embraces the city and its culture. Her journey is one of self-discovery, love, and learning to navigate the complexities of relationships. Throughout the book, Anna evolves from a hesitant and homesick girl into a confident young woman who’s open to new experiences and love.
  • Étienne St. Clair — Charming, witty, and irresistibly charismatic, Étienne is the object of Anna’s affection. Despite his seemingly perfect exterior, Étienne deals with his own set of challenges, including a fear of heights, family issues, and the pressure of expectations. His friendship and eventual romantic relationship with Anna show his vulnerability and growth as he learns to face his fears and commit to his feelings.
  • Meredith (Mer) Chevalier — Anna’s first friend at SOAP, Mer is passionate about soccer and harbors a secret crush on Étienne. Her character represents the theme of unrequited love and the strength it takes to move past it. Mer’s journey through the story highlights the importance of friendship and resilience in the face of disappointment.
  • Josh — An artist and Étienne’s best friend, Josh’s storyline explores themes of independence and the struggle of living under strict parental expectations. His relationship with Rashmi adds depth to the narrative, showcasing the different facets of teenage relationships.
  • Rashmi — Rashmi is Josh’s girlfriend, known for her cynicism and straightforwardness. Her character provides a contrast to the more idealistic views of love held by others, offering a pragmatic perspective on relationships and personal growth.

Here’s a summary of their character development in a table format:

Anna OliphantLoves cinema, initially hesitantTo navigate her new life in Paris, find loveBecomes confident, embraces new experiences
Étienne St. ClairCharismatic, deals with personal issuesTo overcome fears, commit to loveFaces his fears, opens up about his feelings
Meredith ChevalierPassionate about soccer, kindTo find love, maintain friendshipsLearns to deal with unrequited love, values friendship
JoshArtistic, seeks independenceTo find his own path, maintain his relationshipExplores his independence, supports his friends
RashmiCynical, pragmaticTo maintain a realistic outlook on lifeProvides a contrasting perspective, grows in understanding

Through these characters, Perkins vividly portrays the journey of adolescence, the complexity of emotions, and the inevitable growth that comes with facing life’s challenges.

Themes and Symbols

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is rich with themes and symbols that contribute to the depth and relatability of the story. Here’s a look at some of the major ones:

  • Love and Relationships — At the heart of the novel is the exploration of various facets of love, from the fluttering excitement of new love to the complexities of long-standing relationships. The story illustrates how true love requires honesty, communication, and vulnerability.
  • Identity and Self-Discovery — Anna’s year in Paris serves as a backdrop for her journey of self-discovery. The experience of living abroad, away from the familiarity of home, pushes Anna (and other characters) to confront their fears, desires, and dreams, ultimately leading to personal growth.
  • The City of Paris — Paris itself is a symbol of romance, adventure, and the possibilities that come with stepping out of one’s comfort zone. The city’s landmarks, culture, and history are woven into the narrative, serving as both a setting and an entity that catalyzes change in the characters’ lives.
  • Friendship — The novel highlights the importance of friendship as a foundation for personal growth and support. The dynamics within Anna’s friend group showcase the joys and challenges of friendships, emphasizing that true friends are those who stand by you through thick and thin.
  • Art and Creativity — Through characters like Josh, an aspiring artist, and Anna, a film enthusiast, the book celebrates the role of art and creativity in expressing oneself and understanding the world. Art serves as a medium for the characters to connect with each other and their own identities.
  • Communication and Misunderstandings — A recurring theme in the book is the impact of communication, or the lack thereof, on relationships. Misunderstandings between characters underscore the importance of open and honest communication in overcoming obstacles and strengthening bonds.
  • Cultural Differences and Adaptation — Anna’s adjustment to life in Paris highlights the theme of cultural adaptation and the richness of experiencing life from different perspectives. The novel suggests that embracing new cultures can lead to a more fulfilling and broadened worldview.

By weaving these themes and symbols throughout the narrative, Stephanie Perkins not only crafts a compelling love story but also delves into the deeper issues that resonate with her readers, making Anna and the French Kiss a memorable and impactful read.

Writing Style and Tone

Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss is celebrated for its engaging writing style and tone, which play crucial roles in immersing readers in Anna’s world and emotional journey. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects of Perkins’s writing style and tone:

  • Conversational and Relatable — Perkins employs a conversational tone throughout the novel, making it easy for readers to connect with Anna’s experiences and thoughts. The relatability of the narrative voice adds to the book’s charm, inviting readers into a world that feels both enchanting and authentically teenaged.
  • Humorous and Witty — The novel is sprinkled with humor and wit, particularly in the dialogues between characters. Perkins’s ability to weave in light-hearted moments amid emotional turmoil enhances the reading experience, providing a balanced mix of laughter and tears.
  • Descriptive and Immersive — Perkins’s descriptive prowess shines in her vivid portrayal of Paris. From the quaint streets to the iconic landmarks, the detailed descriptions transport readers directly into the heart of the city, adding a rich layer of atmosphere to the story.
  • Emotionally Resonant — The tone of the novel adeptly captures the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with first love, friendships, and self-discovery. Perkins’s writing resonates with the intensity of teenage feelings, making the highs exhilarating and the lows deeply felt.
  • Pace and Flow — The pacing of the story is masterfully handled, with a smooth flow that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. The balance between fast-paced, dialogue-driven scenes and slower, introspective moments ensures that the narrative maintains momentum while allowing space for character development.
  • Character Voices — Each character is given a distinct voice, reflecting their personality and background. This diversity in perspectives enriches the narrative, making the interactions and relationships between characters feel nuanced and real.

Overall, Stephanie Perkins’s writing style and tone in Anna and the French Kiss contribute significantly to the book’s appeal. The combination of humor, emotional depth, and vivid storytelling creates a memorable reading experience that captures the essence of youth, love, and adventure.

Literary Devices used in Anna and the French Kiss

In “Anna and the French Kiss,” Stephanie Perkins skillfully employs a variety of literary devices to enhance her storytelling, deepen the narrative, and enrich the readers’ experience. Here are the top 10 literary devices used in the book:

  1. Metaphor — Perkins uses metaphors to draw comparisons that deepen our understanding of the characters’ emotions and situations without being overtly direct. For instance, Paris is often metaphorically depicted as a place of new beginnings, mirroring Anna’s own journey of self-discovery and growth.
  2. Simile — Through similes, Perkins creates vivid imagery that makes the setting and emotions more relatable. Descriptions of Parisian scenery and the intensity of first love are made more impactful through comparisons like “as bright as the Parisian skyline.”
  3. Imagery — The detailed imagery in Perkins’s writing paints a vivid picture of Paris, from the cobblestone streets to the taste of fresh pastries. This sensory detail immerses readers in the setting and heightens the emotional stakes of the narrative.
  4. Irony — Irony is used to add humor and depth to the story, particularly through situations where characters’ actions or situations contradict their expectations or desires. Anna’s initial reluctance to go to Paris, only to find it transformative, is an example of situational irony.
  5. Symbolism — Various symbols enrich the narrative, such as the Eiffel Tower representing both the romantic ideal and the reality of Anna’s experiences in Paris. Symbolism is woven throughout to add layers of meaning to the characters’ journeys.
  6. Personification — Perkins personifies aspects of Paris and the characters’ surroundings, giving life to the city and making it an active participant in the story. This literary device amplifies the magical feel of the setting.
  7. Foreshadowing — The author uses foreshadowing to hint at future events and emotional developments, creating anticipation and adding complexity to the storyline. Early interactions between Anna and Étienne, for instance, hint at the depth of their evolving relationship.
  8. Allusion — References to famous works of art, literature, and film are peppered throughout the narrative, creating a rich tapestry that connects the characters’ experiences to broader cultural and historical contexts.
  9. Hyperbole — Exaggeration is employed for comedic effect and to convey the intensity of the characters’ feelings, especially in descriptions of Anna’s dramatic reactions to Parisian life and her romantic dilemmas.
  10. Dialogue — The use of dialogue is central to the development of characters and their relationships. Perkins crafts conversations that are realistic, witty, and revealing of the characters’ personalities and inner conflicts.

By integrating these literary devices, Stephanie Perkins enhances the depth, humor, and emotional resonance of “Anna and the French Kiss,” making it not just a story of romance, but a rich narrative tapestry that engages readers on multiple levels.

Literary Devices Examples

Let’s explore examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices used in “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins. For clarity, each literary device will be presented in its own table.


Paris is depicted as a “canvas of possibilities” for Anna.This metaphor compares Paris to a blank canvas, symbolizing how the city offers Anna endless opportunities for growth, adventure, and love.
Étienne’s smile is likened to “a beacon in the Paris night.”This metaphor emphasizes the warmth and guidance Étienne’s smile provides to Anna, similar to how a beacon offers light and direction in the darkness.


Anna feels “as out of place as a cat in a swimming pool” on her first day at SOAP.This simile vividly conveys Anna’s discomfort and sense of not belonging in her new environment, making her feelings relatable to the reader.
“Kissing Étienne is like tasting the stars.”This simile captures the magical, transcendent quality of Anna’s feelings when she kisses Étienne, elevating the moment to something celestial and extraordinary.


Descriptions of Parisian cafes, “where the scent of fresh pastries and espresso fills the air.”This imagery appeals to the sense of smell and sight, transporting readers to Paris and creating a palpable sense of atmosphere.


Anna, who dreams of visiting Paris, finds herself unhappy when she actually gets there.This situation is ironic because it contradicts the expected reaction of fulfilling a dream, highlighting the complexity of Anna’s feelings and the reality versus the fantasy of Paris.


The Eiffel Tower serves as a symbol of Anna’s evolving relationship with Paris and Étienne.Initially, the Eiffel Tower represents Anna’s romanticized view of Paris, but as she grows, it comes to symbolize her personal growth and deepening connection with the city and Étienne.


“Paris embraced Anna, whispering secrets she could only half understand.”This personification of Paris as an entity that can embrace and whisper gives the city a magical quality, suggesting its profound impact on Anna’s journey.


Early mentions of Étienne’s fear of heights foreshadow his pivotal moment of overcoming it with Anna.This use of foreshadowing builds anticipation for Étienne’s character development and the role Anna will play in it.


References to classic films and literature throughout Anna’s narrative.These allusions enrich the story by connecting Anna’s experiences to larger themes and works, highlighting her love for cinema and storytelling.


Anna’s claim that “dying of embarrassment” is a real possibility.This hyperbole humorously emphasizes the intensity of Anna’s embarrassment, making her emotions and reactions more vivid and relatable.


The banter between Anna and Étienne, filled with wit and underlying affection.This dialogue reveals the depth of their relationship, showcasing their compatibility and the progression from friendship to love.

These examples showcase how Stephanie Perkins uses literary devices to add depth, humor, and emotional resonance to “Anna and the French Kiss,” enhancing the reader’s connection to the characters and their experiences.

Anna and the French Kiss – FAQs

What genre does “Anna and the French Kiss” belong to?
It belongs to the Young Adult (YA) romance genre, blending elements of coming-of-age stories with romantic themes.

Who is the author of “Anna and the French Kiss”?
The author is Stephanie Perkins.

Is “Anna and the French Kiss” part of a series?
Yes, it’s the first book in a trilogy that also includes “Lola and the Boy Next Door” and “Isla and the Happily Ever After.”

Where is “Anna and the French Kiss” set?
The novel is set in Paris, France, particularly focusing on the American School of Paris where the main characters study.

What are the main themes in “Anna and the French Kiss”?
Major themes include love and relationships, identity and self-discovery, cultural adaptation, friendship, and the significance of communication.

Who are the main characters in “Anna and the French Kiss”?
The main characters are Anna Oliphant and Étienne St. Clair. Other significant characters include Meredith (Mer), Josh, and Rashmi.

Does “Anna and the French Kiss” include any cultural references?
Yes, the book is rich with cultural references, especially to Parisian landmarks, French cuisine, and classic films, reflecting Anna’s passion for cinema.

How does “Anna and the French Kiss” address the concept of identity?
Through Anna’s journey of moving to a new country and navigating the challenges of love and friendship, the novel explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and personal growth.

Is there a film adaptation of “Anna and the French Kiss”?
As of the last update, there is no film adaptation of “Anna and the French Kiss,” but the vivid storytelling and engaging plot make it a frequently discussed candidate for adaptation.

What makes “Anna and the French Kiss” unique in its genre?
Its setting in Paris, combined with Perkins’s ability to weave deep emotional themes with humor and engaging characters, sets it apart within the YA romance genre.


Who is the author of “Anna and the French Kiss”?John GreenStephanie PerkinsJenny HanSarah Dessen
Where is Anna originally from?New YorkLos AngelesAtlantaChicago
What is Étienne St. Clair afraid of?FlyingHeightsWaterDarkness
Who does Anna become friends with first at SOAP?RashmiJoshMeredithÉtienne
What is Anna’s dream career?ActressChefFilm criticWriter
Which city is the novel primarily set in?LondonParisRomeNew York
What major theme does the novel explore?Time travelSpace explorationIdentity and Self-DiscoveryMedieval history
How does Anna feel about moving to Paris initially?ExcitedReluctantIndifferentOverjoyed
What hobby does Josh have?SingingArtDancingCooking
What symbolizes Anna’s growth throughout the novel?A bookA treeThe Eiffel TowerA painting

This quiz is designed to test comprehension and recall of key details and themes from “Anna and the French Kiss.” Each question focuses on different aspects of the book, including its characters, setting, themes, and plot points.


Identify the literary devices used in the following paragraph from “Anna and the French Kiss”:

“The city lights of Paris glistened as if the entire city was veiled in stars. Anna’s heart raced with excitement and a touch of fear, like a bird fluttering in her chest. Étienne’s laughter was a melody that seemed to dance in the air, weaving through the night’s cool embrace. Every moment felt as if it was painted in shades of magic, the kind of magic that could only exist in Paris.”


  1. Simile — “Anna’s heart raced with excitement and a touch of fear, like a bird fluttering in her chest.” This compares the feeling in Anna’s heart to a bird fluttering, illustrating her emotions vividly.
  2. Personification — “Étienne’s laughter was a melody that seemed to dance in the air.” This gives Étienne’s laughter qualities of a melody that can dance, enhancing the description of the scene.
  3. Imagery — “The city lights of Paris glistened as if the entire city was veiled in stars.” This creates a vivid image of Paris at night, enhancing the magical feel of the setting.
  4. Metaphor — “Every moment felt as if it was painted in shades of magic, the kind of magic that could only exist in Paris.” This metaphor compares their experiences to a painting, implying that their time together is crafted with care and imbued with a unique form of magic specific to Paris.

This exercise aims to spot and understand the use of various literary devices in enhancing the narrative and emotional depth of a text.