I re-read this book by listening to it for book club. I don't remember being as annoyed the first time. Don't get me wrong, I still really like this book, and I did have the same problems with it the first time around, but there's something about listening to a book - probably that it goes slower - that draws out things for you. Because, MAN does Anna really think Etienne is SO perfect and SO SO beautiful. She says it approximately one million times. And sure, Etienne is a nice guy. He's cute and smart and charming. He has Anna's back, he listens to her, he "gets" her. He's also one of THOSE guys. The kind of guy who projects this image of being really concerned about other people but is really a selfish, cowardly coward. The guy who won't break up with one girlfriend until he's absolutely, positively, one hundred percent sure he's got something better lined up. The guy in a semi-serious relationship who also manages to keep every girl he's ever met on the hook. And the whole time I'm yelling, "Anna, you're on the hook! Get away! Like some boy who's not a total d-bag!" Every time she got mad at him I was like, "you go girl!" and every time she apologized about it I was all, "ARGH!"
I guess I'm glad they get together in the end, because I'm a sucker with a dumb teenage girl still living somewhere on the inside, but his excuses don't ever answer Anna's question about his gf. He says he was waiting for her to make a move, and he did all this other crap, but his friend Josh says it right here: "He's been dating Ellie for a year and a half. You'd think that'd be discouragement enough." Which is clearly not something Etienne gets.
I'm not one who tends to worry about messages that books send to young girls, but I'm a bit worried about this one because it so permeates the culture and minds of young women. Girls, that best boy friend you have, that kind of leads you on and acts jealous around other guys and does stuff with you that he doesn't want you telling other people about? He's an asshole, and it's never going to happen.