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6 Books like Anna and the French Kiss: Jetsetting YA Romance

Jessie McNiel itcherSweet and comforting like hot chocolate, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ is a swoon-worthy teen romance set against the utterly romantic background of Paris. If you’re hankering after some cross-continental love stories, books like ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, ‘Meant to Be’, ‘13 Little Blue Envelopes’ and ‘Wanderlove’ might be exactly the fix you need. ~ Jessie McNiel

Armchair Travel

 Half of the fun of ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ is getting to explore Paris alongside Anna. (The other half is, of course, her love interest, Étienne.) If you’re looking for a book like ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and you want to keep travelling without having to leave home, check out these stories that range all across Europe and South America!


Books Similar to ‘Anna and the French Kiss’…

‘Meant to Be’ (Lauren Morrill, 2012)

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Oh, right. You’d only take me to a party full of strangers in a foreign country and abandon me. Then get me caught in a street brawl, where I lose all my stuff including my pocket Shakespeare…

High school junior Julia has got it all figured out: life, love, and schoolwork. She’s got straight As, is always prepared and has decided that Mark, her crush from when she was six years old, is her “meant to be.”

Everything changes, however, when Julia goes on a school trip to London and is partnered with Jason, the class clown. Julia starts getting romantic texts from an unknown number – a cellular secret admirer.

With Jason’s help Julia starts trying to track down her unknown suitor, racing all over London, falling in and out of trouble along the way, rushing headlong into a romantic entanglement even she couldn’t plan for.

Similarity Match: 90%
Like ‘Anna and the French Kiss,’ ‘Meant to Be’ walks the line between sweet and cheesy, but if you’re in the mood for something fluffy, you’ll be charmed.

‘Just One Day’ (Gayle Forman, 2013)

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Sometimes the best way to find out what you’re supposed to do is by doing the thing you’re not supposed to do…

Allyson has everything planned and organized, until she meets Willem, a Dutch actor, at the end of her backpacking trip through Europe.

Willem convinces the normally straight-laced Allyson – who he’s nicknamed Lulu – to throw caution to the wind and come with him to Paris for a day.

Their day will change everything Allyson ever thought about herself, her future and her dreams. Gayle Forman has also written a sequel, ‘Just One Year,’ from the point of view of Willem.

Similarity Match: 85%
‘Just One Day’ is a little more grown-up than ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ – a bit more melancholy, a bit more thoughtful, but still fun and full of wild adventure through the very same city.

‘Wanderlove’ (Kirsten Hubbard, 2011)

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You can’t control the past, but you can control where you go next…

Bria should be living the dream: she’s just graduated high school, has been accepted to an art school and is all set to start pursuing her career as an artist. There’s just one problem: she can’t seem to draw anymore.

In a quest to overcome her artistic block – and the resulting emotional turmoil – Bria sets out on a post-graduation backpacking trip through Central America.

The trip isn’t what she hoped: middle-aged tourists, retired couples and (gasp!) fanny-packs. But when she meets free-spirited Rowan and his activist sister Starling, it seems like the adventure she dreams of is beckoning.

A story of love, discovery and transformation, ‘Wanderlove’ captures the young adult dilemma, all set against the beautiful scenery of Belize and Guatemala, illustrated by Bria’s inset illustrations. (Drawn by the author!) 

Similarity Match: 80%
While not set in Europe, ‘Wanderlove’ deals with the same questions of belonging, love and self-identity that thread through ‘Anna and the French Kiss.’

‘13 Little Blue Envelopes’ (Maureen Johnson, 2005)

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I liked you because you were mad. And you’re pretty. And pretty sane for a mad person…

Seventeen-year-old Ginny Blackstone is sent on the adventure of a lifetime when her late Aunt Peg leaves her $1000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket in an envelope.

Aunt Peg posthumously sends Ginny on a scavenger hunt across Europe, one that leads her from London to Greece (and everywhere in-between!)

On the way, Ginny meets Keith, a playwright/actor/occasional thief that she just can’t seem to shake, and discovers more about her bohemian aunt – and herself – than she’d ever imagined.

Similarity Match: 70%
While there’s romance, ‘13 Little Blue Envelopes’ is more of an adventure story than anything else, but it’s zany, quirky, and well worth the ride.


If You Like ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, You Will Like…

While travel is exciting, and backpacking ripe for mistakes and adventure, sometimes romance happens closer to home.

If you loved ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ for Anna and Étienne’s slow-burn relationship, and don’t mind sticking around some American small towns, these next two books are sure to woo you.

‘Let It Snow’ (Lauren Myracle, John Green & Maureen Johnson, 2008)

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Something about me has always liked the drama and inconvenience of bad weather. The worse the better, really…

‘Let It Snow’ is actually three intertwined short stories, each written by a different, wildly popular and well-known YA author.

A freak snowstorm hits a little town in North Carolina, stranding a group of cheerleaders at a Waffle House, halting a girl named Jubilee’s train home and complicating a quest for the perfect Christmas present, and ensuring that everyone’s paths will cross, with romantic and festive results.

Each of the stories is Christmas-themed, and the sparkling snow and steaming mugs of hot chocolate – not to mention some sugary-sweet love stories – are sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

While ‘Let It Snow’ stays in North Carolina, it’s just as sweet and comforting as ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and sure to go down just as easily.

‘Enthusiasm’ (Polly Shulman, 2006)

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Why did Ashleigh always get everything? Not only had she taken over my enthusiasm for Jane Austen, but now she seemed hell-bent on stealing my secret love!

Julie Lefkowitz is used to the fact that her best friend, Ashleigh, is an enthusiast: her attention, while intense and passionate, jumps from one thing to the next with little to no warning. So Julie isn’t exactly overjoyed when Ashleigh decides that her newest object of affection is Julie’s own passion: Jane Austen.

Ashleigh, determined to go to an Austen-approved ball, drags Julie along in a hare-brained scheme to dress up and sneak into the nearby boys’ school’s formal.

Along the way they meet Grandison Parr and Ned Downing, a perfect pair of gentlemen – except that both Julie and Ashleigh seem to have settle on Parr being their Mr. Darcy.

‘Enthusiasm’ is loosely based on Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – very loosely – but it’s references will be sure to delight anyone with an interest in Jane Austen or, indeed, William Shakespeare.

If you liked all the references to Pablo Neruda’s sonnets in ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, an Austen-inspired book like ‘Enthusiasm’ will delight your lit-loving heart.


Honorable Mentions

If you want to hear more from Anna and Étienne, you should check out Stephanie Perkins’ two follow-up books, ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ (2011) and ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ (2014). Isla is a peripheral character in ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and both Anna and Étienne appear in ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door.’

You Should Date This Book

…is what Maureen Johnson (‘13 Little Blue Envelopes’, ‘Let It Snow’) says about ‘Anna and the French Kiss.’ I think you could say that about any of these!
Was there anything I missed? Maybe your favourite YA romance is supernatural or a thriller – I’d love to know!
Let me know in the comments!
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