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A Reader of Fictions: Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Anatomy, Book 1

Author: Daria Snadowsky
Pages: 272
Publisher: Ember
Source: For review from YA Books Central

Description from Goodreads:
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 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.

Rating: 3.5/5

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.'"

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Blogger Dianne said...

I read this when I was a sappy teenager (still sappy but not a teen anymore) and my favorite quote was "You are all at once the subject, object, predicate, preposition and period of my thoughts". Eeeepp! Hee. Great review! I wanna read the sequel too.

April 2, 2013 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have picked this book up and put it down countless times at the library. I appreciate that it's different but mushy girls set my teeth on edge. Like you, I am not the most romantic person ever but I take it one step further and become allergic to sap. My friends say I have issues, haha. But I agree with the teen speak details. It's important to be aware of that. Awesome review, Christina.

April 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Teehee! That's a great quote, but was a bit too sappy for me. The grammar nerd in me approves of it as a romantic saying, though!

April 2, 2013 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hmm, she does get a bit mushy, I suppose. She's very focused on everything. I didn't really relate to her, but I thought the approach taken was commendable.

April 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently saw a review for the sequel, Anatomy of a Single Girl, and it said the same thing about the descriptive sex. Snadowsky sounds like a very honest writer, even though there were awkward parts and you couldn't really connect with Dom.

Anyway, I'm really interested to read this, though I'd most probably get it from the library instead of buying it. That quote was steamy, BTW. Great review, Christina.

April 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages said...

I have such a distinct memory of this book, but I don't think I've read it. I don't know what's wrong with me. Anyway, great review, I'm definitely going to pick this up (again?) and give it a try. I definitely appreciate more realistic depictions of sex and relationships in YA and this sounds like it fits the bill.

April 2, 2013 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

The second one is like that too, although I would say it's a BIT less awkward, because she's more experienced, as is her sexual partner. It's a very interesting read, for sure.

April 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Whaaaaat? That's a neat trick! ;)

Very realistic and uncomfortable. It could have been stronger from a story/character perspective, but I think it's worth reading for its honesty.

April 2, 2013 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Giselle said...

New Adult can have some pretty graphic sex scenes though, just saying! :P

I have heard of this one the cover is meh but the premise sounds interesting. And I think any teen who's not aware that sex exist... should probably be O_O

Anyways, sounds like the author actually had the nerve to make sex sound normal and not that perfect whatever the hecks we get in a lot of books now. Dunno about most but my first time was nothing special lol. No rainbows and roses here.

Also, I always type out everything out too! The only acronym you'll see me use ever is "lol" and even that I only started recently. I dunno why, bit reading stuff like "U should b here 2nite" makes me barf.

April 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger GillyB said...

I would dislike this narrator just for her attitude towards the dog. YOU DON'T THINK MEAN THOUGHTS ABOUT SOMEONE'S DOGS.

I love that author portrayed the sex scenes realistically. So many YA books handle it unrealistically, either by not having characters think about it or discuss it all, or idealizing it and "fading to black", as you said. I think I'll pass on this book for now, but may pick it up at some point.

April 3, 2013 at 2:33 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

It's great to come across a realistic book when it comes to sex - there's definitely not enough of it. Honesty, not sex that is.

I hate text speak, but I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to capital letters in texts/IMs - and if I type a whole lot out and I've missed a full stop I can't be bothered fixing it...

Great review, I'm kinda curious about this one now.

April 3, 2013 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

True, it can. But the mood felt more young adult.

I think the cover's kind of funny. And, for real, most teens know what's up, even if they haven't done anything.

Totally no rainbows here. She talks about how uncomfortable she feels and, like, how she worries about how she looks while having sex. So honest.

Oh yeah, I use a couple of acronyms, and I still hate myself for it. But getting that granular makes me feel the rage.

April 3, 2013 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

For real. Or, I mean, I get not liking someone's dog. I've had friends with dogs I didn't like, but I'm not going to suggest that they don't walk the dog or be jealous of their affection toward the dog. That was one of the dude's most humanizing qualities. I wanted to smack her for that.

For real. The fade to black and implied magical experience sends totally the wrong message.

April 3, 2013 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Agreed. I was fascinated with the portrayal, because it was completely like anything I'd ever read before, and very much like the awkward stories your friends tell you. This is what teens need to read.

I'm sometimes to lazy to go back and fix errors, but I try to keep all words spelled out. Sometimes I drop caps and punctuation, generally to match the other person, because I don't want to seem like a pompous ass.

April 3, 2013 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

This book sounds good. I like that it's realistic with sex. I mean, teenagers have sex. I'm laughing about the MySpace thing. That's pretty funny. I love the cover. It seems so cheesy, but awesome at the same time. Great review hon!!

April 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Renae @ Respiring Thoughts said...

It's really great that there's sex positive YA like this available. The only other positive sex positive author (like, Amy Reed is super sex positive, but she tends to show the downsides of sexual relationships, if that makes sense) is Kody Keplinger. There should be more.

It's also awesome that even while the author is showing teens in a sexual relationship, it also deals with the more awkward side of things also.

April 3, 2013 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The fact that sex is portrayed realistically in this book is awesome. It KILLS me when two characters have sex for the first time in a YA book, and it's perfect, and violins play. What do these authors smoke when they write that stuff, seriously? Unfair expectations for teens, yo'. Sex and relationships and drama and teenage stuff is real and sometimes messy and sometimes wonderful, so it's good to see an author who GETS that. That alone might make me pick this one up at some point. :)

Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

April 3, 2013 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Aly said...

This reminds me of a more updated version of Judy Blume's Forever...but I think I like Judy's better. Apparently there's a sequel and I kind of want to read it, but I wasn't totally in love with this one but I'm curious.

Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

April 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Ashley @ The Bibliophile's Corner said...

I have been wanting to read this and it's sequel for a while. I think I will definitely jump on it after reading this review.

April 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Estelle said...

I have had this review of yours sitting in my mailbox forever. I read Book 1 after Book 2, and I found myself totally relating to Dom's craziness for her boyfriend ... especially when it came time to make choices for college. I feel like it was something I would have done when I was younger than 17/18 (for sure) but I still related to her parent's treatment and everything she was going to with falling in love for the first time. But then again I'm a pretty sappy girl myself. I do think Snadowsky is a very snappy writer and very honest, and I liked that a lot about her. I am curious about what she does with her next book, and without Dom.

April 17, 2013 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I had a very different high school experience than most, and didn't really date anyone, so I can't realistically say what I would have been like if I'd had a relationship then, but I doubt I would have been like Dom. Who knows, though.

Snadowsky is snappy, and I will read whatever she writes, even if these didn't make it onto my favorites list. Her honesty will keep me coming back. Very curious what she does now that she's (maybe) done with Dom.

April 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM  

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