But I am going to do it anyway.
What an sweet, heart-warming and realistic read! This book was full out adorable in every way with perhaps the most likable hero and heroine I have read in ages.
Anna Oliphant (otherwise known as Banana Elephant) is sent to an American boarding school in Paris for what she thinks is pure prestige appearance for her father. Though she can't deny the beauty of the city, she feels alone and isolated -- unable to speak the language, "deserted" by her parents, taken away just as a possible romance would have blossomed and of course, knowing no one. Her tears attract her neighbour through the wall and with one small passage between Meredith and Anna, I began to love this book.
"I cried the first night, too." She tilts her head, thinks for a moment, and then nods. "Come on. Chocolat chaud."
"A chocolate show?" Why would I want to see a chocolate show? My mother has abandoned me and I'm terrified to leave my room and ---
"No." She smiles. "Chaud. Hot. Hot chocolate, I can make some in my room."Oh.
Anna finds friendship with Mer and her group of friends. This group happens to include the short but absolutely gorgeous Étienne St. Clair. And from there, perfection ensues.
From Anna's nerves, to her developing feelings for St. Clair, to all of the turmoil that occurs in between, I adored her, St. Clair and the gang. The characters were beyond realistic in both thought processes and attitude. Perkins did a fantastic job at showing that not all friendships are sunshine and rainbows and slowly developing a friendship is not always a seamless transition. Family also plays a huge roll in the plot, dealing mostly with the intricacies of parent/child relationships. Each situation was handled with such tenderness and gave the characters even more depth.
And oh, the writing! Perkins is hilarious and I laughed so many times during this book. I kept a pencil beside me the whole time, starring my favourite passages, planning to write them in my review. But, I have changed my mind. You're just going to have to read it and be struck by the sheer wonder that is Anna and St. Clair on your own!
I haven't smiled this much during a book, possibly ever. It was an extreme pleasure to read!