In her English-language debut, French author Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau dazzles with Kisses and Croissants. A fun, flirty rom-com perfect for springtime, Kisses and Croissants is a seamless addition to the canon of young adult romance books. The novel’s protagonist, ballerina Mia, follows her dream of becoming a renowned ballet dancer by participating in an elite ballet program in Paris. Her ultimate goal is to catch the attention of the American Ballet Theater to truly bring Mia to the level of fame she aims for as a ballerina. While in Paris, though, she meets Louis, a French boy with whom she falls in love, of course. The novel follows Mia’s challenge between focusing on her dream or falling in love with Louis. Kisses and Croissants is a light and swoon-worthy tale akin to other YA favorites like Anna and the French Kiss and Love and Gelato.
KISSES AND CROISSANTS is out now!— AS Jouhanneau – FRENCH KISSING IN NEW YORK (@asjouhanneau) April 6, 2021
A million thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered or shouted about this book in any way.
And if you like what you're seeing—ballet, baguettes, boys!—today is a great day to buy a copy: https://t.co/eM99ls9ViX@GetUnderlined @DelacortePress pic.twitter.com/hobdOTeisT
Set in the City of Love
Often in YA romances that are set in Europe, the setting is the star of the show. Kisses and Croissants embraces this idea, giving readers a perspective of Paris through Mia’s eyes. The descriptions of Paris’ iconic artworks and architectural landmarks were lifelike, allowing even readers who have never been to Paris (like myself) to feel like they were there with Mia. Seeing as Jouhanneau is French, reading about France felt like the most authentic part of the story. And because Paris is the City of Love, the vivid descriptions aided in the dynamic of Mia and Louis’ relationship. The setting pulled the story together and made Mia and Louis work, while also making the reader desire to visit Paris, just to see the descriptions firsthand.
A YA Love Story
Mia and Louis are adorable if written a bit awkward at times. Mia was not always the most agreeable character at times, but I enjoyed her devout passion for ballet. It was easy to get invested in her pursuit of ballet because of how much she loves it. As someone who is not very educated on ballet dancing, Mia’s character inspired my interest in learning more about the style of dance, personally! And, of course, her dynamic with Louis is another focal point of the novel. I found Louis to be a bit bland at times, almost filling in the cookie-cutter mold of the European boy love interest that has become a comforting stereotype in the YA world. Even with his predictability, it was exciting to read about Mia and Louis because of the setting. Being in Paris, their romance took on a more magical life of its own than it would have if the story was set elsewhere. As mentioned before, there were some awkwardly written scenes that felt a bit repetitive or reminiscent of other YA romances, but it wasn’t something that ruined the novel for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Mia and Louis together, though I would’ve loved more depth from both of their characters.
Kisses and Croissants is an easy read. Though it’s a bit shallow at times, it’s fun regardless and easy to get sucked into the beautiful world of Mia’s summer in Paris. The characters leave a bit to be desired at times, coming off as undeveloped but interesting nonetheless. Kisses and Croissants is a wonderful introduction to the YA romance genre, even if it’s not the most complex novel. Additionally, Jouhanneau’s novel takes a lovely approach to friendship as well through the relationship between Mia and Audrey, another dancer at the academy who takes on a “frenemy” type role with Mia. Jouhanneau explores YA romance and friendship through her cast of characters, which was a nice touch. For that reason, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mia throughout the novel, even when I didn’t always agree with her. For her English-language debut, Jouhanneau succeeds at giving romance lovers everywhere a delectable, easily digested story that’s as sweet as a French macaron.
I received an advanced copy of Kisses and Croissants in exchange for an honest review. Kisses and Croissants is out now.
Featured Image via Penguin Random House.