Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: Anatomy Of A Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Title: Anatomy Of A Boyfriend
Author: Daria Snadowsky
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Sex, First Love
Pages: 259
Rating: A-

Synopsis: 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 Anatomy textbook. 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 fall.

First Impression: I've seen this book around for a while now (it was published in 2008) but had never truely looked into it until just this year. Shortly after Christmas I was at Borders with all the money I had received in gift cards, when I noticed it. I'm not going to lie, it's the fact that this story has to do with first love and first sex and all those firsts that I picked it up. One the back, above the summery, it reads "Snadowsky’s debut novel is an unusually honest portrayal of a teen girl’s sexual discovery . . .  Like Forever, this sensitive, candid novel is sure to find a wide audience among curious teens." — booklist This was a good enough reason to buy it for me. 
Full Impression/Review: Dominique Baylor, a high school senior from Fort Meyers, Florida, aspires to be a doctor and cares more about reading Grey's Anatomy (the actual medical book, not the TV show or anything to do with it) then she cares about boys. When not competing on her school's science quiz team, she can be found at home playing the board game Operation with her parents. That all changes when she meets Wes, a shy fellow senior and local track star. Instantly she's hooked. After a couple months of exchanging hundreds of IMs and a dozen or more e-mails, she finally admits her feelings for Wes and makes the first move. And so starts their relationship.
     Both unexperienced in love (and sex), they prove to be eager to learn and so things get pretty hot and heavy just on their first date (they run past first base and explore second to the fullest). After a couple more months, they are ready to go All The Way Home and lose it on Prom Night, as cliché. 
    At a first glance, this novel could sound redundant, cliché, and overdone a million and one times, but I'm not writing a review from the perspective of a first glance. Even going so far as naming her an inspiration for the novel, it's obvious that Snadowsky is a fan of Judy Blume and took a hint from Forever... (1975), a novel that also follows the first love and the exploration of sex from the point of view of a couple in their senior year of high school. 
   Dom is mature and goal-oriented. She has her sites set on getting excepted into Stanford and becoming a doctor. On the other hand, her experience with guys is limited to kissing party games from her earlier teen years and the bodies of the drawn male figures in her medical books. In many ways she is the polar opposite of her best friend Amy, a rather free spirited artist who is saving her virginity until college, but does everything else. When Dom meets Wes at the big football game the day after Christmas, she finds herself really falling for him. As the months pass they start dating, exploring, and loving each other. By Prom they do feel ready and decide to take that next step. Everything seems to be going well for the happy couple who, though are off to different colleges in the fall, strongly believe they will weather the tempest of long distance relationship and come out on top. But then fall does come and things change.
   While this book is filled to the brim with sex, it's not the racy and sensual sex that is the making of a hardcore romance novels. Instead it's very realistic, frank, insightful, graphic, and even somewhat scientific -- as are the thoughts that come to Dom as she sees a certain where-the-sun-don't-shine part of Wes (of any guy) for the first time. Dom's view on sex shine through clearly -- she's the type of girl who believes in love before sex, another thing that makes her the opposite of her casual hookup type best friend. The novel isn't the most original idea put out there, but Snadowsky brings a fresh and new look onto this theme. Unlike many books, Wes is neither a loner/outcast, or jerk/ jock. He is simply the average teen male -- good and bad included. 
    In her debut novel, Snadowsky weaves together a story that feels both old and new bring up many of the essential and basic questions of relationships: Is sex love? Is there a difference between first love and true love? How can you tell? Like Forever... before it, Anatomy Of A Boyfriend an authentic and candid story sensitively but frankly explores sex in our modern day society, experiencing it for the first time, and dealing with it in a mature way. 

                                         ~ XOXO, 


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