posted at Friday, April 5th, 2013 at 1:00 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 Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky
Series: Anatomy #2
Published by Delacorte BFYR on January 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: YA Books Central
With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel toAnatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.
After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one.
The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.
But I couldn’t avoid my future forever.
In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.
First Sentence: “The logical thing for me would be to date Calvin Brandon”
Where Anatomy of a Boyfriend tackles first love, first sexual experiences, and first heartbreak, The Anatomy of a Single Girl considers what comes after all that. Snadowsky delves into the mental recovery process and facing life and dating after the end of a relationship you were convinced would be forever, much as logic insists that most first loves don’t end in marriage. The much-belated follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is thematically similar, but very, very different in overall message and frame of mind, yet another wonderful addition to literature for older teens.
Single and depressed, Dom doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her parents and friends urge her to date to get over the last vestiges of love for Wes, to move on. At Tulane, her good friend, Calvin, really wants to date her, and she’s seriously considering it, but she really struggles with whether she actually has romantic feelings for him. Sometimes she thinks there’s something there, but other times not so much. I was SO glad to see this in a novel, because I felt like this SO MANY TIMES in college. When a good friend develops a crush on you, it is really hard distinguish between the love you have for them as a friend and romantic love, especially since you want to make them happy and would like to not be single. That can be a really tough line to draw, and I like that Snadowsky tackled the fine lines between different kinds of love.
The healthy attitude towards sex that I praised so much in the first book continues full steam ahead in Anatomy of a Single Girl. Her first love, Wes, was her only sexual experience, and Dom’s not really sure what she’s okay with now. She meets a highly attractive frat boy while home for the summer, and they have great chemistry. However, the relationship can only be for the summer. Dom has to decide whether she’s okay with a relationship and sex for their own sake, or whether that will make her some kind of person she doesn’t want to be. Her experiences with Guy, the frat guy, really open her up to new experiences and broaden her horizons.
Of course, Snadowsky continues to revel in the awkward moments of real life. Though Dom’s sex life has dramatically improved, there’s still no magic, immediately expert sex. Plus, there’s a whole lot of rigamarole to get out of the way beforehand to be safe: getting tested and going on birth control. The description of her trip to the gynecologist was a bit more in depth than I personally would have liked, but it’s honest and educational, without coming off like your over-eager health teachers in middle school.
This installment also focuses much less on romance overall, and more on Dom’s relationships overall, none of which are especially romantic. Snadowsky dives into various kinds of friendship, like the two with the boys described above. She also gets more in depth into Dom’s friendship with Amy, who becomes less of a sidekick now, as she goes through her own relationship problems. Both Amy and Dom turn out not to be quite who the other expected, and their friendship goes through some bumps.
There’s also additional focus on Dom’s parents, which is both good and bad. On the one hand, I like how involved and supportive her parents are, but the level of their nosiness is a little uncomfortable. They alternate between basically telling her not to get too serious in relationships and that she needs to play the field and telling her she shouldn’t be going on dates. I couldn’t really figure out their agenda, because they were so inconsistent.
Those that enjoyed Anatomy of a Boyfriend will also speed through Anatomy of a Single Girl. I think it’s a bit stronger, with the writing coming across more authentically, and a very satisfying ending, though I do think there’s space for more. I will be eagerly anticipating Snadowsky’s next project, because writers who can be so open and honest are always a great find.
“Hugs are really underrated.”