When I first heard about Anna, I wasn’t really impressed. Why would I want to read another book about another girl who finds herself falling in love with another boy under another set of unrealistic events. Plus, with that title and that cover? No thank you!
But Anna is different; Stephanie Perkins makes it different.
I’m not unique in my love for Anna, and my reasons probably echo those of others who have fallen in love with the book. But to sum up the beauty of this book in three phrases: ‘Etienne St Claire’, ‘Perkins’ writing style’ and ‘are we completely sure Anna isn’t based on me?!‘. Okay, the plot wouldn’t be described as being particularly special: girl travels to new country where she falls in love with boy, who is lusted over by every female in existence, but who has a girlfriend. It’s been done before. But it’s not been done like this before.
And, I mean, ETIENNE ST CLAIRE?! What can I really contribute towards describing him, that hasn’t already been said. At first he seems all too perfect and typical; the boy everyone wants. But as we explore him more as a character, we see every emotion under the sun reflected in St Claire. And that does make him perfect. When he arrives at Anna’s room with Josh, drunk, it made me love him just a little bit more. And the sleepover?! Anyone?!
But what really gets me about Anna is its ability to connect with the reader. I found myself thinking of that guy who I’m friends with and sometimes just stare at and study when I shouldn’t be. It’s summed up so beautifully by Perkins:
It made me think “Ohmygod, I’m not alone! I’m not the only one!” And it put into words what I’ve so often felt and never been able to articulate. And also, whilst I’m not into films like Anna is, Sofia Capella is my favorite director. So obviously Anna and I should be besties.
I haven’t even mentioned Paris yet. If you’ve ever felt the desire to go there, Anna will just reinforce the emotions of wanderlust. Though it does avoid mentioning the insane costs of eating out!
But there was a brief moment when Anna really annoyed me. When the gang are bunking for St Clair and she’s thinking of the implications and worried about getting in trouble. As someone so friends-orientated, Anna didn’t seem the kind of person who would be thinking of something so frivolous when her friend so desperately needed her. For others, they could relate and probably would have done the same, but for me, it was a personality flaw. But then again, what good is a character without flaws? They can’t ever be 3D and brought to life if they’re completely perfect. And I also kind of liked Dave (you know, until Amanda repeats, in the bathroom, what he says about Anna). I liked his careless attitude. I liked his willingness to be stupid and have little parties in his room. You’re young, Anna! Chill!!
That’s probably my only criticism of the book, everything is so perfectly constructed. It’s the book you pick up with the intention of reading a couple of chapters, then don’t put it down again until you’ve finished it. And, there is no insta-love. It’s all too common in Young Adult books these days, but Anna avoids it.