Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend - Daria Snadowsky

The Blurb: 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. Daria Snadowsky's unflinching dissection of seventeen-year-old Dominique's first relationship reveals all the ecstacy and agony of love, and everything in between.

Favorite Line: “How is it that mankind can engineer condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs but not be able to invent some sort of emotional safeguard? Is it even possible to abstain from falling in love?”

The Review: Daria Snadowsky set out to present a realistic portrayal of a young woman’s coming of age in Anatomy of a Boyfriend, and she succeeds. Dominique is a character that becomes interested in her own anatomy, after she meets Wes, who literally makes her heart throb. Snadowsky tackles every subject “in a responsible way” according to School Library Journal, from dental damns to orgasms from the female (and male) perspectives and de-mystifies many of the modern issues that Today’s teens are worrying about and dealing with. Snadowsky leaves no emotional stone unturned, either, Dominique experiences a wide range of emotion on her trip of discovery from bliss to crushing, gut-wrenching heartache.

A parallel and modernization of Judy Blume’s Forever, Snadowsky doesn’t allow the story to end during the summer, but takes Dominique off to college and shows the emotions of life “on your own.” A very readable book, with authentic scenes that detail the myriad physical and emotional qualities of young sexuality, Snadowsky gives us a glimpse of the curious, self-conscious, angst-ridden young adult.

I am surprised that this book is still somewhat “under the radar” though it did just come out in trade-paperback. Anatomy of a Boyfriend is bound to raise eyebrows in certain circles, but in the circles that count, (her YA reading audience) Snadowsky is right on the mark. Dominique is portrayed with such innocent curiosity, that it is easy for readers to empathize with her foibles, mistakes, and triumphs. Teens will want more of Snadowsky’s frank, believable narrative.

Something Extra: Whant to build your own boyfriend? You can at Random House here. Snadowsky is one of the many excellent writers that represent the YA market. She was kind enough to answer a few questions via e-mail interview regarding the state of sexuality in YA fiction, and specifically on her book, Anatomy of a Boyfriend.

Bottom Line: Teens (and adults) will devour this frank novel about a young girl and her exploration of sexuality and love, and the ups and downs of life.
Grade: A