A little behind so I'm going to post both these challenges in one post.
The second challenge (and the first one in this post) was to share a story in your life when you identified with Anna.
Initially I thought that although I relate to Anna tonnes and love her as a character I didn't really have experiences that echo hers from school. But then I saw lots of you posting about 'home' and that's when it occurred to me. This is when I make a confession - I went to boarding school, for a good five years. It's not a confession really, but it seems like it to me. It's not a secret, just something I don't talk about much, but when I think about it, it's so much a part of me it's important - important to me as a person, how I am now, and how I changed - how I found out home wasn't just a place, but the people you're with, a lesson that I continued to learn at university and am still learning.Of course Anna finds herself moving away from home for the first time, and although it's only for her last year of school, there are things she is bewildered by. I recognise and get that bewilderment, the confusion, the wanting to do everything right and like Anna realises, it's there all the time. Non stop.
Yet, as I was writing this post I realised what I wanted to really write about in regards to Anna were her group of friends. The theme of home is one that continues to intrigue me. True I was at an all girl's boarding school so my group of friends were different, but we were, and still are, a close knit group. We shared everything, did everything together and those memories are still incredibly important to us. It occurred to me as I started writing this, that I have, or have had several groups of friends who have made me feel at home, who have been home for me. There are my lovely friends from home, who I feel incredibly comfortable and safe with, because we grew up together and have always known one another, there are my school friends and we know each inside out, as you do when you have lived with a group of people. And you find yourself growing closer to them, while things at home change. It is easy to assume that things will stay the same at home while you're away, but as Anna finds out, of course they don't. Then there were my online, Mcfly friends who I shared very important Mcfly moments with and I felt incredibly at home with them for a long time and they taught me so much. And then there are my uni friends, a group of people I haven't known so long, but feel equally at home with, as you do when you've all moved away from home, and share so many things. And So it turns out, I can relate to Anna more than I thought I could! But the important thing is that, she realises 'home' is the feeling of safety and contentment with people and and it is not necessarily about the place you are. Home is where they are.
Phew! That was longer than I thought.
Challenge #3 was to post a review of Anna. Compared to my babbling up above, this is just short and not much of a review, but it's something!
Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (2010)
Etienne St Clair. Three words that say it all about this book. Oh yeah, and PARIS and just amazing writing. This book has me hooked everytime I reread it, and each time I am thrilled by it, as if I have never read it before. The boy is just so swoon worth and Anna is a fantastic main character. This is one of my favourite YA books and one of the books that got me hooked on YA and in particular contemporary YA. This is so much more than a love story. It feels so real and Perkin's writing is funny, clever and so damn cute at the same time - you want to cry, laugh and swoon all at once, if that were possible (and with this book it is, believe me). The characters are brilliant and you feel like you know them all so well, and the setting is fantastic as well.
It's hard to express quite how I feel about this book and how perfectly wonderful it is. I almost didn't want to read this at first because of the hype, but believe the hype and go read it if you haven't already (and I don't know why you would not have read it. I mean come on).