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Literature / Anna and the French Kiss

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Anna and the French Kiss is a series of three young adult romance novels by Stephanie Perkins. Each novel follows a different girl from a group of friends with a dramatic love life.

  • Anna and the French Kiss: Anna begins attending SOAP (School for Americans in Paris) against her will, but she quickly develops feelings for fellow student Étienne St. Clair... who has a steady girlfriend.
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door: Budding costume designer Lola's childhood friend Cricket moves back to her neighborhood and she realises their relationship is about to change dramatically.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After: Isla has had a crush on Josh since their first year at SOAP. They meet again by chance one summer and romance ignites, but she realises quickly that obstacles of distance and personal issues might keep them apart.

The novels have a reputation for being sickly sweet 'guilty pleasure' fiction on book-a-holic websites and blogs.

The series contains examples of:

     The series as a whole 
  • Beta Couple: Anna and St. Clair become this in the second novel, and Lola and Cricket join them in the third.
  • Betty and Veronica: A favoured trope in the series. Anna vs Ellie, Cricket vs Max, Isla vs Rashmi.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Multiple per novel! The biggest example is probably Anna and St. Clair's first kiss in the park.
  • Boarding School: SOAP is one, complete with rich kids and a free-rein setting.
  • The Bro Code: Anna tells herself that even if St. Clair were single, Meredith has dibs because she's liked him for a longer time.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The book titles all follow this formula.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The School of America in Paris is commonly referred to as SOAP.
  • Gay Paree: The main setting of books 1 and 3.
  • Gratuitous French: Several of the characters are fluent in French, but French is only directly used in dialogue occasionally, and then only in short, simple phrases.
  • Happily Ever After: Deliberately invoked in all three novels, to the point where it is in the title and ending of the third. Romantic!
  • Hero of Another Story: Protagonists of other books all appear in the various novels they aren't leads in.
  • Will They or Won't They?: All three novels have a central couple who may or may not get together for good.

     Anna and the French Kiss 
  • Abusive Parents: St. Clair's father is emotionally abusive, to the point that he wants to keep St. Clair isolated from his sick mother.
  • Accent Slip Up: Anna slips into a southern accent when talking to her mother because she has one, but her southern origin isn't otherwise discernible from her speech.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • Amanda's posse is described as a "Posse of Pretty Preppy People".
    • Anna's website is called Femme Film Freak.
    • Anna describes the cathedral of Notre Dame as "Massive. Monstrous. Majestic."
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Rashmi does this after Amanda makes a mean comment about them, showing that it got to her at least a little.
  • Alpha Bitch: Amanda is one at SOAP, complete with snark, hair flips and a Girl Posse.
  • Always Someone Better: Anna and Bridgette look like sisters, except Bridge is "prettier and smarter and more talented."
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Anna's father is a novelist who writes cheesy, Cliché Storm books with generic titles and a large audience of middle-aged women. Anna is deeply embarrassed by that, and St. Clair and Rashmi's reactions to her description of one of his novels is a clear indicator why.
  • Audience Surrogate: Anna is this with regards to SOAP and Paris in general.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Subverted with Josh and Rashmi in the first novel. They argue constantly despite caring about each other, and Anna notes that their relationship is unhealthy. They break up in the end.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: According to Anna, her brother Sean, who is ten years younger than her, was either a mistake or a last-ditch effort to save her parents' failing marriage. If it was the latter, it didn't work very well.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Inverted; Sean was happy to have Bridgette as a babysitter but he gets mad at her for hurting his older sister's feelings since she's been crying every day. Anna is touched that this means he doesn't like Bridgette more than her but tells him he has to behave for his babysitter for their mother's sake.
  • Birthday Hater: St. Clair doesn't celebrate his birthday and treats it as any other day. He has no objection to Fridays, though.
  • Bold Inflation: Amanda tends to emphasise a random word in every sentence she speaks.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Rashmi is of Indian descent and a straight- A student with a fascination for Egyptology.
  • But Not Too Foreign: St. Clair is British and French, but also American.
  • The Clan: Anna is part of one on her Scottish maternal grandfather's side. They have a tartan and a motto that, much to Anna's embarrassment, turns out to be in French, which she never knew before St. Clair points it out to her.
  • Crash-Into Hello/ Meet Cute: Anna meets St. Clair during her first night at SOAP by bumping into him at the door of Meredith's room.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anna has tendencies towards this, especially in her narration.
  • Dinner Order Flub: On her first day at SOAP, Anna is hesitant to order food in the cafeteria for fear of ending up with this trope as she doesn't speak French, which the menu is written in. Luckily, she finds out the staff speaks English.
  • Does Not Drive: Despite being old enough to drive, St. Clair says the transit systems in the three cities he divides his time between, Paris, London, and San Francisco, are perfectly sufficient for him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Isla appears as a junior in a brief scene. In her senior year, she gets the spotlight in her own book.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Rash for Rashmi. Lampshaded in Anna's narration.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: St. Clair is one of the most desired guys at SOAP and has homoerotic subtext with his best friend Josh.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Anna is devastated and upset when she finds out that Bridgette and her crush Toph have become a couple. She calls out Bridgette for dating her crush, and for not telling her.
  • First Girl Wins: Anna literally manages to fall in love with the first guy she meets in her book.
  • Fish out of Water: Anna feels like this when she ends up in a boarding school in France with people who've known each other for years and she doesn't know anyone or speak a word of French. She gets better soon.
  • Flipping the Bird: Anna does this to St. Clair once, and he responds with the British "V" version.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • St. Clair introduces himself to Anna as Étienne. Only his girlfriend calls him by his first name. It was hinted at that they would get together from the time they first met.
    • St. Clair tells Anna the superstition that whoever stands on the Point Zero star, will come back to Paris someday. Fast-forward to the epilogue of the third book a year later, the two of them are in the exact same spot again and St. Clair proposes to Anna.
  • Fun with Homophones: Anna's nickname for Bridgette (Saunderwick) is Bridge Sandwich, and Bridgette's for Anna (Oliphant) is Banana Elephant. It's even made into a Visual Pun by the figurines of those objects that the two give each other as gifts.
  • Funetik Aksent: The school cafeteria chef, Mr. Boutin, speaks English like this.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Anna is anxious about appearing obviously American to Parisians, so St. Clair fixes that... by giving her a Canadian flag to put on her backpack.
    • Several actual examples of tourists with ridiculous clothing walk by as she discusses this worry of hers with St. Clair.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Josh and St. Clair are this in spades, often bordering on Ho Yay.
  • The Hilarity of Hats: St. Clair has a hat that his friends find ugly and funny, but he loves it because his mother made it for him.
  • Ho Yay: St. Clair and Josh's friendship has a lot of subtext, usually in the form of jokes delivered by one of the two.
    Josh: I'm asking him to prom. This is our year, I just know it.
    St. Clair: No kiss? I'm crushed, mate?
    Josh: Thought it might miff the ol' ball and chain. She doesn't know about us yet.
  • I Am Very British: St. Clair's accent is swooned over by Anna over the course of the novel, and he uses stereotypically British phrases liberally.
  • Idiot Ball: Anna takes five days to try and order something at the school cafeteria, unaware that the staff (of a school for American teenagers) speak English. She calls herself out on that.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Anna slips into this in her opening narration by enumerating the terrible things that could happen to her little brother Sean in her absence.
  • Ironic Name: After Anna has told him about her Scottish ancestry, St. Clair finds her little brother's name Sean to be this.
    St. Clair: That's a little Irish for a family with tartan bedspreads.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Anna and St. Clair claim this throughout the first novel, even sleeping in one bed and claiming to be friends.
  • Last-Name Basis: All of St. Clair's friends call him by his last name. His first name is reserved for his current girlfriend.
  • Momma's Boy: St. Clair declares his love for his mother "with no trace of teenage shame" and proudly wears the less-than-nice hat his mother knitted for him.
  • The Movie Buff: Anna has a fascination with film, wants to study film theory, and writes film reviews on her website Femme Film Freak.
  • The Napoleon: Discussed and averted by St. Clair. He goes as far as comparing himself to Napoleon based on height, but his personality has nothing to do with the expected short temper.
    He doesn’t carry himself like a short guy. Most are shy or defensive, or some messed-up combination of the two, but St. Clair is confident and friendly
  • Neat Freak: Anna. She even comments on the proper way to clean windows once in her narration.
  • New Transfer Student: Anna's novel starts with her beginning at SOAP this way.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Sean, who has been gushing about Bridgette, says that he doesn't like her anymore, Anna takes concern. It's because he found out that Bridgette made Anna cry and no one hurts his big sister.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: During their fight after Toph loudly reveals that he started dating Bridgette during a concert, Bridgette yells at Anna for leaving her in "Shitlanta". Anna yells back that Bridgette turned her brother against her, and runs off the stage in tears after damaging several instruments. It's so bad that when Bridgette attempts to apologise to Anna for what she said and for the whole awkward situation that Anna doesn't respond to her for months.
  • Open Secret: Rashmi's pet rabbit, Isis, is technically a secret, since animals are not allowed in the dorms, but according to Anna it's impossible not to notice the smell from outside her door.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Nikhil Devi is the only brother to older sisters Leela and Rashmi and younger sister Sanjita.
  • Parents as People: Anna's dad just sends her off to SOAP without even considering how she may fell about it, because he's absentminded due to being a writer. Her mother meanwhile is constantly exhausted and stressed from being a single parent.
  • Primal Fear: St. Clair is afraid of heights.
  • Rejected Apology: Anna for a long time refuses to hear Bridgette's constant apologies for how she handled the hole hooking up with Anna's crush, not telling Anna, and then blaming her for leaving Atlanta when obviously it wasn't Anna's choice to go to Paris. Anna finally responds to her after she ends up in a similar situation with St. Clair, who has a girlfriend.
  • The Reveal: St. Clair didn't reconcile with Ellie after he kissed Anna... he broke up with her.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Anna's best friend Bridgette owns all twenty volumes of The Oxford English Dictionary and has a tendency of using long and obscure words in everyday conversation just to watch people's reactions to them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Josh and Rashmi are this early on in the book.
  • Skunk Stripe: Anna has a bleached stripe in her dark hair. It earns her the Embarrassing Nickname "Skunk Girl", courtesy of Amanda.
  • Southern Belle: Anna is an aversion. She is from Atlanta, but has nothing to do with the stereotypes associated with the trope. Still, the trope is discussed by St. Clair who comments on her lack of a southern accent.
  • Stereotype: Anna's knowledge of France prior to going there comes down to every possible stereotype about the country and its people, completed by her assumptions based on rumours she's heard.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When St. Clair visits Anna in her dorm room for the first time, she tells him "You can touch anything of mine you want." She means that she's okay with him picking up her belongings to look at them.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The opera singer Anna often hears from her dorm room is a very small woman with a very powerful voice.

     Lola and the Boy Next Door 
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Cricket and Lola, where Lola claims she's loved him since she's known him.
  • Costume Porn: Lola's self-designed outfits are described in great detail.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Lola observes that Anna and St. Clair are like this by the second novel, bickering insistently in a loving way.

     Isla and the Happily Ever After 
  • Big Little Sister: Isla's little sister is taller than both of her older sisters.
  • Cool Old Guy: Josh's chauffeur, Brian, whom, as Isla notes, he seems to tell absolutely everything.
  • First Love: Rashmi is portrayed as Josh's flawed but valued first love.
  • In Love with Love: Isla decides Josh must be more interested in the idea of a relationship than the one he has with her, so she breaks up with him.
  • Intimate Artistry: Josh draws Isla for his book... and she also finds intimate drawings of his ex, Rashmi.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Isla getting into Dartmouth is a given.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: The previous book in the trilogy takes the main plot out of SOAP. This one takes place at the same time back at the boarding school.


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