In my opinion, Stephanie can write romance like no other. Her novels are smooth and swoony (or is it swooney? pretty sure I just made that adjective up?) and fun and charismatic and chock-full of love and attraction and chemistry. When I finished ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, I remember feeling so full and satisfied and happy, like I had just finished a hot fudge brownie sundae (with a cherry on top, of course, because Stephanie’s writing is decadent and detailed like that).
I’m a small town girl who grew up near cow farms and watched chickens cross the road (like, for real: I have had to slow down as actual chickens have actually crossed the road on my way to work). My world hasn't involved a ton of international travel. I’ve gone to Mexico a couple of times, celebrated my 8th birthday at my grandpa’s Canadian cabin, visited relatives in Minnesota and the impressive Lego Land within the Mall of America….But there hasn’t been any trips to, say, the Eiffel Tower. My passport is quite bare.
In ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, though, I felt like I was in Paris. To me, the main character of the story is not only Anna, but Paris itself. Stephanie does an amazing job of describing the unique details that can make Paris the type of city where you could fall in love with both a person and a place. Stephanie’s book made Paris come alive for me—the cow and chicken and country roads girl who’s never been across the pond—and THAT, my friends, is the power of books.
Books can transport us anywhere we want to go, whether it’s Paris or Hogwarts or a mythical dragon land or a realistic suburb.
Books can turn on lights and open windows and unlock doors to places we’ve never been and things we’ve never seen.
Books can give names to feelings and loosen holds on hearts.
Books can jog our memories and exercise our emotions.
The above quote from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of my favorites because it’s true: We can wish for things—blow out candles, whisper under shooting stars, throw pennies in fountains—and I’ve certainly done my fair share of wishing.
But despite all of the candles and stars and pennies, wishes require making a choice: a choice in that split second before the flame goes out or the penny drops. A choice in what we want most. Sometimes, we don’t know what we want most. Sometimes, what we want most isn’t what is best. There is a difference, and we have to continue to make that choice—again and again and again—as we live our lives and make our wishes and dream our dreams. Best is best.