posted at Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 at 4:00 PM | Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
Series: Anatomy #1
Published by Ember on September 23, 2008
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: YA Books Central
Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.
Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomytextbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.
And then came the fall.
First Sentence: “My best friend, Amy, wants to wait until college to ‘do it,’ but until then she’ll do ‘everything but’ with boys she thinks are cute and have good bodies.”
I debated what to label Anatomy of a Boyfriend. I’m sure most people would not stick it under the New Adult heading, because of the rather graphic nature of the sex involved and the fact that Dom is in college for roughly the last third of it. Honestly, though, it reads like a young adult novel to me, and it’s not like teens wouldn’t be having some or all of these experiences. However, I’m mentioning the detailed descriptions of sex up front, so that readers who are not comfortable with that are full informed. Personally, I really like Snadowsky’s take on teenage sexual relationships and first love.
Dominique, more commonly known as Dom, has always been the studious type to her best friend Amy’s boy crazy type. Dom doesn’t really understand why Amy is willing to hook up with random guys, but she’s also not particularly judgmental about it either. Dom and Amy really care about one another and maintain a strong friendship throughout, even if they’re not the focal point of the story.
Dom’s never really even been strongly interested in someone until she meets Wes. Something about him sets her teenage hormones ablaze, and they quickly strike up a friendship, emailing and IMing. Much to her frustration, though, the relationship doesn’t go anywhere. She spends a lot of time talking with Amy on the phone, unpacking the latest messages for deeper meaning.This Snadowsky got just right, as I know I’ve been there and so have all of my female friends.
Once they do strike up a romantic relationship, things accelerate swiftly physically. Both virgins, they move through the bases at a fairly fast clip. What I really love about Snadowsky’s take on this is that she doesn’t spare them any awkwardness or pain. Unlike most fiction, there’s not a simultaneous orgasm to be found within these pages; the sex is not romanticized. The depiction of sex is very realistic and descriptive about most basic sexual behaviors, and while it’s perhaps more detailed than some parents might want their teens reading, I think it’s much more honest and likely to make a teen think things through than the fade to black scenes that suggest perfection. Plus, Dom is always very careful about using protection, which is a very good message to send, and one often left out of fictional sex scenes. Snadowsky also does an admirable job depicting the emotional arc of their relationship.
Unfortunately, I often found the writing awkward, like Snadowsky hasn’t quite manage to simulate teen speech patterns. For one thing, their AIM messages are all fully written out in paragraphs with punctuation and capitalization. Every single one. Some teens do write everything out, as I know I tended to, and Wes and Dom are likely to have done that. However, I don’t think anyone consistently sent everything in a big paragraph. Generally IMs were no longer than a sentence or two, so that struck me as very strange. Also, at one point, during a breakup, someone says “‘I’m going to have to change my status to “single” on MySpace now'” (233). This book was published in 2007, and, by then, it definitely would have been Facebook. That reference might not have been outdated when the book was written, but certainly was by publication, and is laughable now.
In part because of the occasionally awkward writing, I never really bonded with Dom. She’s smart and all, but the amount of time she spent focused on Wes seemed a bit excessive, though I’ve never been the most romantic girl, so maybe that’s realistic for people who aren’t me. The biggest thing that distanced me from Dom was her jealousy…of Wes’ dog, Jessica. She thinks some seriously mean thoughts about that dog, and, as an animal lover, I could not deal with that. I mean, they’re heat of the moment thoughts, but they kept me from loving Dom. She also was generally overeager about things. The first time she’s invited to Wes’ house, for example, she asks to see his family photo albums, and they weren’t romantically involved at this point. That seemed highly odd to me.
Though imperfect, I devoured Anatomy of a Boyfriend, and I really appreciate its frank depiction of sexual exploration and coming of age. I’m very excited to see where Snadowsky goes in the sequel, Anatomy of a Single Girl, which I’m starting next.
Favorite Quote: “‘Well, it’s more than that. I’ve never . . . done it, or done anything. Heh, maybe that’s my Achilles heel,’ Wes mutters, his voice drenched in vulnerability. Then he turns around and leans against my windowsill. ‘And the fact I’ve never done anything stops me from every trying anything.'”