Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: the Anatomy series by Daria Snadowsky

Release Date: 01/09/07
Source: the author; thank you!
Published by: Delacorte

Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky -- Goodreads | Purchase

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.


This is more like a mini review since I'm sure that I'm going to repeat what a lot of people have already said about this book.

  • For all those who are tired of insta-love in YA and for those who actually like insta-love, this book is like a merger of the two. It is a book about firsts: first boyfriend, first love, first kiss, etc. etc. It is full of the intense feelings that I think most people who identify with insta-love will find compelling. It is also a book that portrays insta-love accurately. It's not actually love at first sight but a crush that quickly grows obsessive and that has quite a few downsides. Dom considers doing a lot of things that she wouldn't normally because she feels lovesick. That is what I think you'll often find missing in other portrayals - we'll get to the I'll-do-anything-for-you stage without seeing the deeper repercussions and how insecure and frightening but also exciting that can be. This book is also recommended for fans of Judy Blume's Forever. While I haven't read that book, I can say that Anatomy of a Boyfriend is an honest, unflinching portrayal of how first times can go. There is teeth bashing and awkward fumbling with sex. The romance is accurate and genuine in both its insta-love and its portrayal of teenage first attempts.
  • You know what I really want more of in YA? Genuine friendships, and here is a good example of just that. Amy and Dom are open with each other about their sexual adventures and life, and it is a refreshing breath of air after reading so many books where girls betray each other or the sexually promiscuous one is a slut and blah blah blah. Amy is very supportive of Dom and her boy-crazy encouragement provided a lot of humor. At the same time, I didn't really fall in love with either of their characters. They both felt like stereotypes - and stereotypes do exist, these characters are realistic, but they aren't dynamic... At least for me.
  • For all those who are tired of parents being absent in YA, here they are in this book. I really appreciated the family dynamics - the way the author used Dom's parents relationship as both example and lesson for Dom during her times with Wes and the way the author used Dom's parents (and Amy) as a sounding board for Dom. Many authors will use a lot of narration to explicate the protagonist's feelings, but Snadowsky tended towards using Dom's interactions with her family and best friend to develop their characters and Dom's emotional growth. Even though the Dad tends towards stereotypical, he still provided some great humor.
  • This book was awkward for me to read. No, it wasn't badly written. It was just so realistic that it was like a trip down memory lane. My high school relationship was irregular, so it wasn't that aspect so much as the love interest, Wes, and Dom herself that brought on the memories. Dom is the nerdy, friendly girl who only does extracurricular activities so that she can put them on her resume. She's applying to some really top-notch colleges and has an ideal one because it's got a great pre-med program. Oh, pre-med days. Oh, resume building days. And Wes is the nerdy, reticent, wannabe English major who's also a track star and has baby blue eyes and blonde hair. *sigh* The thing is, even without major character quirks, the characters felt very real to me. I can't tell how much of that is from my own experience, but regardless, if you've been looking for some more realistic contemporary YA, you'll probably find it in this book.
  • This book also feels slightly dated. The characters use AIM a lot, and while I remember that from my teenage days, I think this generation probably uses something different. Also it includes a brief mention of Myspace. It's not that bad, but I thought that was something to note as well.
  • The pacing is great. This book is exactly the length it needs to be. It built up the tension before Dom and Wes got together, examined the various facets of a first relationship, and showed what happened when things were no longer as perfect. Never once did I think that the book dragged because there was an unnecessary scene. Everything felt vital to the portrayal of their relationship and to the growth of Dom's character.

I didn't have a chance to read the sequel, Anatomy of a Single Girl, but I bet that it has the same level of honesty and sincerity that this book does. I also have a copy of that book to give away.

32 comments:

  1. I keep seeing this book, I wonder if that means something. I guess it's because this book is so much about romance. I don't mind when it's in a book, but I don't go looking for stories with a focus on it. The realistic portrayal of "insta-love" being a crush that grows into more does sound good. I wish other authors used this type of romance too. Also credits for the fact that there is friendship in this book and even parents with a good family dynamic. Despite all these good qualities, I don't think this is the book for me, but I'm happy you liked it! :)

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    1. Ha, well maybe part of the reason why you keep seeing it is because the author sent out review requests in the summer? I'm a bit late at getting around to that, but that might explain the resurgence. I'm like you - the extra focus on the romance is not something I usually go for, but I liked the idea of a realistic portrayal of a-crush-turned-insta-love and sexual interactions, etc. etc. Thanks for stopping by, even if it's not your kind of book. I know I owe you at least four comments - thank you for showing me some blog love even if I won't be able to return it for another week or two :D.

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  2. I've been thinking of this book and wondered if it really was good so I'm happy that you liked it so much! Yay for genuine friendships because I agree, YA needs that more. And HA at it being awkward because I think it's great that it was awkward because of how realistic it is! Great review, Christina :)

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    1. Heh, well, hmmm. I liked it, but I wouldn't say I loved it - and I'm not sure if that's the impression you have of my review lol, so I feel like I have to clear the air. But yes, the awkwardness definitely hints at a job well done for the realism ;). I hope you enjoy the book!

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  3. You had me hooked at your first paragraph. I came across this before and though, "Hm, maybe" but I was afraid, because I tend not to be into plain old romance. However, something realistic like this, with characters I can totally identify with (hem, nerd alert) sounds like a fun trip down memory lane. Cliche, I know. Also, thank GOD for friendships! More books need to focus on them! Great review.

    C.J.

    Sarcasm & Lemons

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    1. Me too - not being into plain ole romance (at least of this period; I'm a sucker for historical romances though o.O). But yeah, this one is definitely a very realistic portrayal and has got some things a lot of YA could use nowadays like familial interactions and genuine friendships :D. I hope you enjoy the book!

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  4. I have been eyeing up this book for ages now. I love the idea that it portrays a genuine friendship as it's something I like to see in YA. And the awkward storyline appeals to me too, I was so socially awkward when I was younger that I can always identify with this.

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    1. Haha, yes, definite social awkwardness on behalf of both characters and genuine friendship. And wanting to see more of the latter in YA. I hope you enjoy this book :D!

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  5. I remember reading Forever by Judy Blume (and loving it at the time but mostly because it was so taboo--I was pretty young--and my mom found it and hid it from me). I appreciate the fact that author portrays sex in such a realistic way, you don't see that that much these days. There never seems to be any awkwardness and it's sooo fabulous even the very first time. Interesting observation about how the book is dated. It must be difficult for writers to write a book that mentions technology and other things because that will inevitably date the book in the future but at the same time you have to to a certain extent. Great review! ~Pam

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    1. Yes. Hahahah yes. A lot of books romanticize relationships and first times. This one at least counter balances with the rest of them... And you've got me curious about Forever - your mom hid it? Is it that scandalous o.O?


      Also, yes. Have you read the Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler? It is a 1990s book bringing up Facebook, so it's got this interesting mix of purposeful datedness and realism for today (which I can acknowledge even if I wanted something different out of that book). I honestly don't know how to deal with technology in a way that won't feel dated later. I think a lot of authors avoid even mentioning it. "X and X went to the party / X told me about this" - how did you find out? Well, could bring up phones... but will cell phones and texts feel dated in a few years? I don't know.

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  6. I'm the same way--I like historical romances but modern ones are just 'eh'. So weird. I'm excited to read it!

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  7. NOOOOOOO! Why must books be specific about social media thingies? Don't do it, Books! You are dating yourself!


    At least there's a good friendship; that's such a crucial part of whether or not I relate to a book.

    Kate @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Nice signature ;).

      Hahaha, oh social media. Yeahhh. At the same time, the characters are rather shy and socially awkward, so it makes sense that they'd connect more (at first) by online means, and there's no way to avoid mentioning those names. And at least you can laugh at the datedness?

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  8. No, I get it, I just prefer when authors use generics like "messaged" or "commented" or "emailed" rather than listing brand names.

    What sucks is when the book came out like 2 years ago and you're rolling your eyes. I've read several of those recently.



    I started adding the signature because when people comment at TMG without adding a link, I have to hunt them down to check out their blogs. This is way easier, although I guess I don't really need to use it here.

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    1. True. No need to have listed AIM or Myspace. Hahah, okay so maybe you'll roll your eyes at that aspect in the book instead of laugh :P. The screen name bit is there - DominiqueBaylor and... something TrackStar or eh, can't remember.


      Oh, I understand ;). That happens a bunch here as well. Some people don't list their blog names in their Disqus profiles so I have to hunt them down too. Wendy uses the same signature - I just thought that was funny :D.

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  9. As you know, I had pretty mixed reactions to this book, too--such a shame, because it sounded like it could be so cute! Something about the writing style just didn't speak to me, so I never got around to book two either. Other people definitely seem to be enjoying, though.

    And hah, I enjoy seeing Kate's TMG signature. :D I leave a link for just the same reason, I hate having to click through several links to get to what I want to see when people comment on our blog. Soon we'll be at WordPress though, so that'll help on one end at least!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I agree with you about the writing. It worked well for the book, and others are enjoying it, but it's not personally my style either.

      And ha, I know what you mean. Honestly though if people don't have a link to their blogs in their profiles or I don't recognize their names, then really there's nothing to do otherwise. The problem with links, though, is that in Disqus, those comments were automatically marked as spam.

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  10. Hmmm. I'm not sure if this is my kind of book, but I'm always up for new things! The Anatomy series sounds like it is very honest. I especially love how it seems that the "insta-love" Dom feels is well-written and portrayed well. Insta-love is something that I'm not a fan of, but a good portrayal of the "realistic kind" is something I wouldn't mind seeing pop up more often.


    And yay for genuine friendships and family dynamics :D It's always great to read about good, healthy relationships in books, and it looks like this series does well with those relationships. I think I will be able to tolerate the outdated things in it (I don't usually pay attention to them anyways), so I will definitely be entering the giveaway. And even if I don't win, I will keep an eye out for the books.


    Although... Not sure if that cover will be easy to sneak by my parents :P Great review, Christina!

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    1. Hahahaha, I'm trying to picture you sneaking these books by your parents, and somehow I don't think their subject would ever get mistaken :P. But you could show it to them and let them see how honest it is?

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  11. I don't know how scandalous Forever is but I think I was maybe 10 and there were rather explicit sex scenes. And of course when my mom took it, she opens it up right to one of the scenes (I can't imagine why the book would have been bent back so much at that point...ha ha).


    Yes, I have read The Future of Us, I thought it was really cute. Yeah, technology in books is definitely troublesome. Even just mentioning CDs in a book dates it so much now. It reminds me of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, which was updated to reference computers (it was written before them) and also when it was first written Margaret finally gets her period (sorry I'm spoiling it if you haven't read it) and she's figuring out how to use the "belt" (what? I remember having no idea what in the world that was). So now I think it uses the term "pad." ~Pam

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    1. I did read Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret! I read it back in middle school so I can't quite remember whether it was still outdated without computers and the like... hahaha I do think they'd changed the "belt" into "pad" though by the time I'd read it. True about CDs, and that may be the case with "phones" soon too.

      And that's a funny story between you and your mom. Strange how that seems to happen when we're trying to hide something :P.

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  12. Well this book has been on my to-read list for a while, and seeing it now compared to Judy Blume's Forever, I definitely want to read it even more! I also really like that the parental force is present, so thank you for including that in your review.

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  13. Great comments about the book. I remember my first and it was a wonderful CRUSH!! Believe it or not it happened in the 7th grade at church camp. Oh to be young again!! It's good to have the family involved in the book, mine helped me through a lot of heart breaks before I found Mr. Right.

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  14. I'm interested to read Anatomy of a Single Girl because I've read Anatomy of a Boyfriend a long time ago. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :D

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  15. This book sounds interesting. I'll definitely have to check it out!

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  16. I think this sounds really good. I've read some up and down reviews but I'm intrigued

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  17. It sounds like a good read. I like that it spans the YA and New Adult border by starting in high school and finishing at
    college.

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  18. I've seen these books on some Booktube sights. I'm totally curious to see what they're all about. Also, I know that the inside of Anatomy of a Single Girl is pink. That's wicked! ;)

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  19. I like books, that as we get older, remind us of a time when we were discovering new things. Sometimes you have to re-discover things that you already know in order to face up to the challenges for raising teenage kids today.

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  20. The covers and titles just intrigue me! Would love to give them a try! Thanks!

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  21. Ha, I totally agree with your assessment here. I thought the firsts were really well done, particularly the sexual exploration which, pardon the pun, was awkward as fuck. The book definitely felt a bit dated, especially MySpace. lol no. I didn't really feel the characters but I remember this one fondly for how honest it is.

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    1. So awkward. The teeth bashing. And MySpace... Hmmm, I can't even remember that now, though I don't doubt them using it. Even AIM lol. That was getting out of date about five, six years ago too.

      Good description: "I remember this one fondly for how honest it is."

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