Finally got around to reading the book I’ve seen all over the internets lately (I follow a lot of young adult-minded people, most of whom are probably actual teenagers, mostly on Tumblr.)
I really enjoyed this book. I read the entire thing in less than two days. It’s the kind of book you want to take to an airport, because even though your flight is delayed and they’ve run out of vegetarian meals and the guy next to you smells and Eliot Spitzer is sitting a few rows ahead of you with someone who could be his daughter but is probably not (ew, and yes that happened), you’re so engrossed in the story you don’t even care.
First of all, the voice is excellent. Anna sucks you in right away with her homesickness and slight awkwardness. She manages to be cute and likeable and not annoying all at the same time (most of the time). Secondly, this book manages to sound like a teenager wrote it while also being well-written. Not always so easy to do. Furthermore, I always like reading about my favorite city, though I wish they had ventured out into it a bit more. And I loved that the supporting characters were well-written and realistic, poor tomboy Meredith with her own hopeless crush, artsy Josh, the slightly off-putting Rashmi. So real. And then of course, Étienne is the perfect tiny man … except for one thing.
I really do hate emotional cheating. And I hate people who, for lack of a better expression, have their cake and eat it too (the French expression is vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre, to want the butter and the money for the butter, after French peasants who couldn’t afford to eat their own butter. Makes way more sense than ours, non?) Holding hands with, sleeping in a bed with, talking until all hours of the morning with a girl who is not your girlfriend is wrong, no matter how steadfast you are in not kissing her. If you’re having feelings for someone else BREAK UP WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND. You’re seventeen. You don’t have a kid together. Grow some balls and do it.
So, emotional cheating: wrong on so many levels. Also? It’s INCREDIBLY realistic.
‘Tis not the writer’s job to judge people, ’tis her job to portray them realistically. I didn’t go to boarding school, but I did go to college, and this kind of thing happened ALL THE TIME, especially freshman year as people struggled not to break up with their high school boyfriends/girlfriends. So bravo to Stephanie Perkins for capturing this so accurately.
I don’t think Anna and Étienne will last, unfortunately; emotional cheaters tend to repeat themselves. But I definitely enjoyed being along for the ride of their Parisian romance.