Book Review: “Kisses and Croissants” by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

When I was a kid, I used to read one book every day – sometimes two if I was in the right mood. Now that I am (a lot) older and have (a lot) less time, I don’t have the luxury of doing that anymore. Over time, it seemed that even my will to read, aside from Harry Potter, of course, has decreased. I have found some of that love once again over the last year, but Kisses and Croissants was the first book in years, perhaps a decade or more, that I read in under one week.

Not many of my friends know this, but in my younger days, I danced. I took all kinds of classes, from tap to jazz to modern and, yes, even ballet. I think that is part of the reason I was interested in this story in the first place – it brought me back to a part of my life that I miss and long for (WHY aren’t there better adult dance classes??) and have the fondest memories of. Not going to lie – ballet was hard AF, but I learned some valuable skills in those lessons, many of which are still with me and influence who I am today. Mia, our heroine, struggles with some of those disciplines when she gets accepted into a prestigious summer ballet program in Paris and then ends up falling for a local named Louis. 

Mia and Louis’s meet-cute is absolutely adorable (and actually, for once, not super predictable!), and their story is very heartfelt and genuine. I enjoyed being reminded of some of my favorite places in Paris, a city I have visited a few times, via the narration of the couple exploring and Mia taking it all in for the first time. The descriptions of the croissants made my mouth water, and I honestly looked up flights to satiate my hunger. 

Aside from Mia’s quest to become a professional ballerina, there is an endearing through-line in her story that deals with ancestry and the fate we make for ourselves. I think any human being can relate to this detail, trying to reconcile for ourselves if our past, or a family member’s past, determines our future. Mia gets some help from Parisian family members, and of course, Louis, along the way, in the most supportive of ways.

As happens in most stories in this genre, Mia and Louis have to go through a rough patch. How else would we get our happy ending? I have zero intentions of spoiling it for you, but I will say that while I sat reading in my allergist’s office, I gasped out loud and stayed 15 minutes past the time I needed to just because I couldn’t stop reading. The twist at the end was completely unexpected and made the story feel a lot more adult, in my opinion, and much less fairytale.

I don’t keep books. I don’t own more than about two dozen. I definitely plan to keep Kisses and Croissants and will absolutely read it again. I can’t wait to get back to Paris! Pleaaaaase write a sequel.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Delacorte Press, for review.

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