Source: the author; thank you!
Published by: Delacorte
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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.