Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Audible Audiobook: 10 hours, 29 minutes, read by Kim Mai Guest
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Buy the Audiobook: Audible
Anna reluctantly leaves Atlanta behind to spend her senior year of high school at the School of America in Paris (SOAP). She doesn’t speak the language and she misses her best friend Bridge, potential boyfriend Toph, movie theater job, and her little brother terribly. Then she meets Etienne St. Clair with his good looks and perfect hair and quickly falls for his French/English/American charms. Unfortunately he’s taken, and she has that boy waiting for her back home. Now Anna must try to make the best out of her time in Paris and follow where her heart leads her.
This is one of my favorite recent contemporary books, and I was curious to see how the audiobook experience compared to the print version. Sometimes I like to check out the audio version of a book I’ve already read to get a different perspective, and find that it helps me to take notice of things I may have missed the first time. This audiobook release was timed with the release of Lola and the Boy Next Door and I picked up both books to revisit.
The audiobook narrator is Kim Mai Guest, who has narrated several books including Incarceron, Dearly, Departed, and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. At first, the voice of Anna sounded a little bubblier than I imaged her. The narration reminded me a little of Delirium’s Sarah Drew and her portrayal of Lena. However, Guest quickly won me over with her interpretation of Anna and delivers an authentic performance. She also capably handles the nuances of the other characters including their different accents. She even does a fine job with St. Clair’s British accent, and captures the spirit of his character well. There is a roller coaster of emotions found in the book and Guest handles the different feelings needed with ease. The narration flowed well, and the only thing I wondered about is if it would have worked to have a male narrator for St. Clair and the other male roles. Not sure if I would have liked it more, but it did cross my mind.
When I read a book for a second time I notice that I enjoy certain parts more than others. In this book, I found that I lost interest in some of the scenes where Anna returns to visit Atlanta and the drama that ensues there. I totally understand it needs to be there for events to move forward, but I just enjoyed Anna’s time in Paris more. Also, I was getting frustrated with Anna and her lack of communication with her friends and St. Clair. Her stubbornness really goes on for quite a while. All is forgiven though with a great and satisfying ending, and I loved visiting all the wonderful scenes in Paris again.
If you’ve never read Anna or want to read it again, try out the audio version. It’s a treat to listen to and a top-notch contemporary romance. I would definitely pick up other audiobooks narrated by Kim Mai Guest in the future.
You can listen to a sample at Random House Audio / Listening Library here.