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Yang Safia On Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Synopsis (taken from

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?


Oh my where do I begin? This book is like godsend to me. I've heard booktubers raved about this book but I had my scepticisms so I never bothered to actually pick it up. Besides I've never seen it on any shelves at any of the bookstores near me. Until one fateful encounter (yes, I'm being super dramatic here) at Bonjour, a small french cafe in Arrowtown, I found that they were selling a copy. Bought it without much thought and the rest was history!

Despite the tacky title and cover, I'm glad that I gave this book a shot because contemporary YA novels don't interest me anymore after reading dystopia and paranormal for so long. Having growing up with Meg Cabot and her counterparts throughout my teen years, I've read them all so I'm tired of the usual contemporary teen cliche. Girl-likes-boy-so-the-whole-book-is-about-her-getting-boy-to-take-notice-and-turns-out-boy-has-been-crushing-on-girl-all-along. No author in my knowledge ever focuses the dilemma of getting together with someone who is not available. I digress but you do get a lot in most contemporary adult novel but most of them involve a lot of clothes ripping and carnal desires so the emotional connection is lacking. Perkins illustrates this dilemma so well without it being too annoying.

To a certain extent I can relate to Anna on most levels.

What I love about the book the most is that Perkins captures the essence of studying abroad so well. Having recently graduated from uni and moved back to Malaysia, this novel brings me back to my first year in NZ. The emotional turmoil that I had to go through, finding new friends and settling in with a culture so different from my own. The author did this so well that I just can't arghh-!

Perkins' writing style is really easy to get into and this easy style of hers assures her readers very well. The reason I mention this is because many new authors that I have encountered struggle to assure the reader into "buying" their story. I've been trouble getting into some of the books I've bought so it was a huge relief that I manage to "get into" AFK.

The dynamic and exchanges between Anna and St Clair are realistic and I do actually think that is how most relationships start out. Perkins doesn't try to create perfect characters with absolutely perfect qualities. Instead she states their flaws evidently where description requires. For the reader, she is not Anna but merely an observer. St Clair is not the perfect guy but he is "beautiful" to Anna and that made me love the pair. I like how Perkins does not enforce the readers to believe that St Clair is this perfect model of a guy but instead a "beautiful" boy in Anna's eyes. I like that. To me this shows how Perkins acknowledges how smart her readers are. Given this is YA, most contemporary romance writers tend to generalize or present their "perfect" ideals and enforce this on the reader.

All in all, this shows that one must never judge a book by its cover and title.

Anna and the French Kiss is definitely a diamond in the rough. Give it a shot! This is not some overly cliched fluff!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Obsession Rating: 5 out of 5
Yang Safia On Monday, December 17, 2012
This is a documentation of how my last day in Dunedin went:

3AM-7AM: I woke up for Subuh prayer and then fell right back to sleep. I had my alarm set to 8.30AM because I had to get ready to return the car to the rental place. Went in and out of sleep due to some horrible nightmare that I won't make it to watch The Hobbit. Hmm...

7.15AM: Decided to wake up because I saw no point in sleeping seeing I was wide awake. Found that my dad was already up. Milled around the flat before deciding to eat a Brunch bar.

7.30AM-8.30AM: Showered and dressed. Really took my time to be honest.

8.30AM-9.15AM: Chillaxing with the family.

9.15AM-10AM: Drove out with my dad to Countdown to find some breakfast, filled the gas and returned the car to the rental place.

10-11AM: Dad and I decided to walk to Scribes and I wanted to say goodbye to the shopkeeper/friend of mine. He gave me Orlando Furioso as a graduation gift, I made a point to visit Scribes and it felt good because it felt like I had closure. 

11.10AM: Arrived at the flat and waited for the rest of the family to get ready. Namely Adam...*glares*

12PM: Finally got out of the house and we all walked to the bank so that I could close down my account.

12.20PM-12.50PM: Bank matters resolved and we all made way to the new Meridian food court to have lunch. In between that, I accompanied my dad to buy an extra bag for our return trip home. Too many stuff! I tried to really take the whole of George Street in! After all, aside from uni that is where I spent most of time at!

1.00PM: We arrived at Hoyts just in time for our The Hobbit show at 1.15PM.

1.15PM-4.30PM: The Hobbit was alright. I think it was way overhyped in New Zealand and everyone was claiming how good it was that...I had high expectations. Lee Pace was amazing in those 5 seconds that he had. Haha! It was really slow for me at the start but it got quite fun at the end. It was weird that I recognized most of the site locations in the movie so maybe the WOW factor wasn't quite there for me. On a different note, I noticed that everytime I am about to go through a major life change or just moving from one place to the other, I always watch a movie before my move! Weird!

4.45PM-5.00PM: Went to make reservations at Jitsu for my appointed dinner with my remaining friends in Dunners. And the my family and I returned to the flat. Oh, I stopped by Glassons (my favourite shop!) just to sort of say goodbye to all the wonderful clothes! Haha!

6.00PM-8.00PM: Hung out with Jeff, Fadzrel and Zaini. My last dinner in Dunedin was spent at The Jitsu. One of my favourite Japanese restaurants here. 

8.15PM: Walked to Zaini's to pick up the Otago hoodies I got for my sisters. Later, Fadzrel and Zaini walked me to the flat.

8.30PM-10.30PM: Zaini and Fadzrel hung out with the rest of the family. They left and I showered and started packing.

Now PM: I'm writing this blogpost with Adam hovering next to me which is really annoying. Although the day seemed really simple but it described my life in Dunedin really well. Simple. My time here was amazing and I am blessed to be able to meet so many people and learn to live life with such a balanced outlook on how to approach my life. 

Alhamdulillah to my time here in Dunedin and Bismillahirrahmanirahim to this new chapter that I am about to start!

Yang Safia On Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Yang Safia On Saturday, December 8, 2012
This movie is so good that I'm writing this down as soon as I hit the credits. Two words. Freaking Brilliant! I would sort of provide a summary for you but I would recommend to just wing it. Do it like me. I didn't know what it was about when I gave it a go. I LOVE IT. I'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki and the art style in this movie is similar to Studio Ghibli but the theme and focus are none like the Ghibli films. I'm seriously crushing on the animator/director of this film right now and I am for surely going to immerse myself in his other works. Too bad that he has passed away so there will be no future works that I can look forward to. Note that he was also the director for Summer Wars and if you have been following this blog, you would realize that I have mentioned that it was one of my favourite films in my Favourites of the Month post.

Why I like the movie:
a) Attention to detail that you can only find in Japanese animation. Especially from Mamoru Hosoda and Hayao Miyazaki. Heck, I think these two are the only ones who managed to achieve this ability in animation.
b) Simple but hugely profound plot.
c) Made me realize why I keep on watching anime. And why I love to write and direct. This film inspires me.

Watch the full film here:

Yang Safia On
The Usual Four (the gang that I'm always with in 2012--I don't know why but my friends and I love to name our friends groups. The Usual Four, Secret Club, Sisterhood of Travelling Kain Batik...) went on our first trip together. The major end point is Queenstown but after driving for half a day, somehow we discovered this place called Blue Pools. This video below records our trek to the said pools.

PS: This will probably be my last post in New Zealand. I am graduating this coming Wednesday and starting tomorrow, I will be internet-less. My family is flying to NZ as we speak and I will be moving into a motel hence no reliable internet connection. Also I hope you guys enjoy the videos I've been posting up lately. I know this blog is less written-oriented as of late but I hope you don't mind!

PSS: The video is mainly in Malay+Manglish so sorry to non-Malaysian readers! Click on the annotations to see some explanations at some parts of the video!

Yang Safia On Saturday, December 1, 2012
When I was in Wellington, I spent most of my waking hours with Jie Ning's little sister, Jie En. In a true Yang Safia manner, I always tend to get along better with someone younger. Hahaha. I shot some testimonial videos with Tim and Nings and Jie En wanted in so we shot a spoof instead! The reason why she said Grace Chai at the end is an inside joke but basically she is referring to herself!

Excuse the watermark. I will use a proper editing software once I return to Malaysia! Also click to watch the video in HD!