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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a BOOK REVIEW! (Anatomy of a Boyfriend)

September 19, 2008

I bet you thought you’d never see this again: an actual book review on my book blog! But first, I must point out that I am floating on air, because for the first time in at least two weeks, I have a night in which I don’t have to do anything at all. And, I skipped happy hour (when the school gives us free alcohol; obviously, quite popular among poor grad students) except for some brief hello’s in order to come home and be able to read. It’s funny; I haven’t appreciated the luxury of being able to read whatever I want to in quite awhile. So now I’m almost paralysed; I want to gobble all the books up. :)

Also, a couple quick housekeeping notes: first off, I changed the layout! I never liked my old layout (I was so sad when I realised WP doesn’t let you change the html), so I’m excited to have one that makes me smile every time I see it! Also, I developed a posting ‘schedule’ to help me take advantage of my limited blogging time; if you’re as geeky as me and want to see it, it’s on the ‘about’ page under ‘how’.

But on to the book review, long overdue, of Daria Snadowsky’s debut novel Anatomy of a Boyfriend. Daria herself e-mailed me, asking if I’d like a review copy. Originally, I was going to refuse; I don’t really read chick lit, and I hate it when I don’t really enjoy a review copy, so I tend to self-filter. But, I also like to be fair. So I decided to read the first chapter, and by the end I knew I had to have a copy.

Guess what? This book was wonderful!

It’s a YA book that looks at Dominque’s very first relationship (which occurs when she’s 17): both the emotional and physical aspects of it. Now, I don’t want to get too personal or anything, but I happened to have my first relationship at 17 (I was a freshman in college rather than a senior in high school), and while it wasn’t exactly identical, Daria really captured that feeling. There’s an intensity, and a wonder, about first love that she managed to really bring to life.

There’s also the physical side of it. Once again, I’m not going to go into detail, but I do remember being shocked at how quickly things would have moved if I had let them. And my friends all felt the same way! Dominique goes from first kiss to not being a virgin over the space of four or five months. Now, this might traumatise some people (especially people with daughters), and obviously it’s not an inevitable part of a teenage relationship. But, I think that unless you have strong moral grounds for not getting more physically intimate, it doesn’t take long for things to get intense. (And it’s not just my generation; I read this wonderful book, The Girls Who Went Away-that I really need to review-, and apparently the 20s started a new sexual revolution.)

Um, I think I might have forgotten how to write one of these things. Because I feel like I’m fumbling around (hehehe: pun totally intended) instead of convincing you of how wonderfully awesome this book is. Let’s try again: I read this book in one sitting, caught up in Dominque’s intense relationship, her ups and downs. It really brought back everything about my first relationship! The book begins as Dominque is about to start her senior year; she’s focused on getting into a good college in order to eventually go to med school. But then she meets this cute boy, who she crushes over intensely. This was probably my very favourite part: it lasts seventy-six pages (of 256 total), and it’s just perfect. Dominque analyses e-mails and conversations to death (with the help of her best friend). When they’re hanging out and their legs are touching, she agonises over every moment. And finally, she declares her feelings in an e-mail, which is so awesome, because I totally told my first boyfriend I had a crush on him in the exact same way. And then, he didn’t reply forever, just like Dominque’s crush (in his case, he was pledging a frat and had been put under some kind of weird house arrest; to find out why Dominque’s crush takes awhile to get back to her, you’ll just have to read the book)! Even summarising this has me grinning from ear to ear, because it just perfectly creates the agony and the ecstasy of being a teenager. I mean: the crushes!!! Don’t you remember that one boy or girl, who, when they smiled at you in the hallway, made your day?! And that first magical moment when you found out someone you liked liked you too? Well, I’m not sure how, but Daria makes it all seem so real.

I enjoyed the next two parts too, which follow the relationship. And, since this is a relationship between older teens of no particular religious persuasion, much of the relationship is physical. There are some graphic moments in the book; I’m going to share with you two of the most graphic, just so that you have some idea. Remember, most of the book isn’t like this at all (and I’m using strategic stars in order to prevent weird searches leading to my blog). In the first one, Dominque is talking about her best friend Amy, who will do anything with any guy she likes short of actual intercourse:

Amy will sometimes accompany us on the boat, but she’s too squeamish even to handle live bait. That she won’t touch a shrimp with her hands but will take a random boy’s d*ck into her mouth has always seemed bizzare to me.

The next one is from a play-by-play of one of Dominque and her boyfriend’s, um, sessions, when she takes off her shirt and bra for the first time:

It’s fantastic, invigorating, freeing. The sensation of his big, manly hands on my skin makes my whole body feel like silk. I’m so glad I’ve never let anyone else touch me there before. It’s as if I’ve been holding out for Wes before I even knew he existed. Still, I think again how this would be a good time to stop for the night, but then he asks if I want his shirt off too.
“Yeah, definitely!” I hear myself answer.

Apparently, this book caused some controversy, so I thought I’d give you an idea of what you’re in for. It didn’t bother me, but I don’t have any strong values or beliefs that this offends. Know what I mean?

Anyway, I’ve rambled on forever now. And I haven’t even talked about half of what I was going to! But this book definitely impressed me; it’s Dominque’s story, so the other characters aren’t really fully fleshed out, but while reading you inhabit Dominque’s head so fully it didn’t bother me. Dominque is super-loveable for her plan human-ness; I had to find out what would happen to her next! And I think it’d be a helpful book for girls to read, preferably before their first relationship, so that they can ‘learn from’ Dominque…does that make sense? And the physical scenes embrace the awkardness and hilarity that is often real life, which I think is better for girls than just reading smutty romance novels (and come on, I refuse you to believe either you didn’t know at least one girl when you were around thirteen that didn’t steal her mother’s romance novels) with highly idealised steamy scenes.

See: I’m still rambling! Here’s what it comes down: this book brought back those heady late teenage years, when hormones and emotions run crazy. It was pretty awesome to be able to go visit there for awhile, though I’d never want to live there again. And even though I very rarely read chick lit, or non-fantasy YA, I definitely hope Daria Snadowsky writes more books, because I will be snapping them up! (The paperback edition comes out on September 23rd-in five days! And since this is a YA book, it’s only $8.99 list price! Oh, and Daria has a website, which among other things, lets you build your own boyfriend! Even more teenage sillness: I love it. :D)

18 Comments leave one →
  1. J.S. Peyton permalink
    September 19, 2008 8:20 pm

    What’s this – a new layout? Me likes. Me likes it a lot! Did you do this yourself? I’ve tried to make changes to my own layout, but since I’m not that great at web design, I’ve taken a minimalist approach. =)

    This sounds like a really interesting book. I’m not that into YA (at least not yet – I said the same thing about graphic novels last year!), but I think if I did start reading it this one sounds as if it’d be right at the top of my list!

  2. J.S. Peyton permalink
    September 19, 2008 8:23 pm

    Oh! Never mind. I see the new template. Still, very very nice. It’s so light and clean… if that makes any sense. =)

  3. September 19, 2008 11:23 pm

    I like the new look…and the rambling review. :-D It was fun to read.

  4. September 20, 2008 2:51 am

    I completely agree with everything you said about this book. I was a bit dubious when I was e-mailed about it too. It’s so completely different from the kind of stuff I normally read. But then I read the first chapter online, and I knew I had to read the rest. She really does make it real.

    I love the new layout!

  5. September 20, 2008 5:22 am

    Love the new look, Eva! It’s head and shoulders above your previous design :)

  6. September 20, 2008 8:34 am

    Love the new look! Very clean looking.

  7. September 20, 2008 8:52 am

    I’ve been hearing good things about this book lately. I love the new layout (Um…I guess that makes me a lurker since I haven’t really been a consistent commenter here except for the read-a-thon) :) I’ve been wanting to change my colors for a while but I’m too scared to mess with my template in blogger.

    Also, I noticed you’re originally from south Texas–whereabouts? My husband is from the Rio Grande Valley so we have friends all over between Dallas and South Padre.

  8. September 20, 2008 10:05 am

    I hope I don’t offend by posting this and please feel free to remove my comment if you like but I became pregnant at 17. I wasn’t promiscuous, just in love for the first time. I have no problem with books of these kinds for what they are, I just wish they weren’t geared for YA. I consider it irresponsible.

    I’ll stop hyjacking your post now. Just wanted to give a different perspective.

    BTW, glad to see you’re settling in. Your new template is airy and festive. Nice.

  9. September 20, 2008 10:52 am

    i also received a copy of the book from the author. but i’ve been putting off writing my review … yours was a lot of fun, rambling and all! (when i get mine done – maybe today? – can i link to you?)

  10. September 20, 2008 11:59 am

    Oh yay! she just contacted me about this book last week. Sounds like it will be good.

  11. September 20, 2008 11:49 pm

    Thanks for the great review, Eva. I’m definitely going to add this to my wish list.

  12. September 21, 2008 11:38 am

    J.S., noooo: I’m not allowed to make my own layouts on WP unless I pay money. :( But I’m glad they finally have one that I like!

    Softdrink, hehe-glad you enjoyed it!

    Nymeth, I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

    Christine, thanks! I never liked the old layout, but I really wanted three columns, and WP doesn’t let you mess with code, so I didn’t have any options. I’m glad I decided not to worry about three columns anymore!

    Bart, thanks!!

    Trish, lurking is perfectly fine. ;) And I’ve lived in San Angelo (which is really more central Texas) and San Antonio (which is where I consider myself from). Yay for hill country! If I could live anywhere in the US, it’d be Austin, but there just wasn’t the type of grad school I wanted there…

    Petunia, I’ve e-mailed you as well, but I will say that they always use condoms, so I don’t consider it irresponsible!

    Alison, of course you can link to me! I’m glad you enjoyed it, with all of the randomness, hehe.

    Amy, have fun!

    Nik, awesome! I’m actually going to be doing an interview/giveaway soon. ;)

  13. September 22, 2008 7:12 am

    Fantabulous review!

  14. September 22, 2008 7:13 am

    I love the Texas Hill Country also, but San Angelo not so much. ;) My husband and I just moved from Coleman to Dallas, so San Angelo was our “big town” when we needed to hit up the big stores or have a night out. I think my favorite is the country between Austin and San Antonio.

  15. Savannah permalink
    July 13, 2009 12:10 pm

    this is 1 of my fav books!!!!!! i luvv the covr haha wes looks sexyy haha but i like calvin better in college then wes

Trackbacks

  1. links for 2008-09-20 « YA Fabulous!
  2. An Interview w/ Daria Snadowsky and a Giveaway! « A Striped Armchair
  3. Women Unbound: a New Reading Challenge « A Striped Armchair

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