Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pg. 69: Daria Snadowsky's "Anatomy of a Boyfriend"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Daria Snadowsky's debut YA novel, Anatomy of a Boyfriend.

About the book, from the publisher:

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.

Among the praise for Anatomy of a Boyfriend:

This frank depiction of a teen's first sexual relationship will cause some eyebrows to rise and some faces to blush, but that won't keep most readers from eagerly turning pages to find out if heroine Dominique Baylor will lose her virginity to her boyfriend. Boldly tackling such topics as masturbation, orgasm and oral sex, first-time novelist Snadowsky confidently marches where few YA writers have dared to tread . . . her witty, first-person narrative and humorous accounts of all-too-familiar situations come off as genuine. Dom, a klutzy, lovable high-school senior, meets her first love at a football game at the most unromantic of moments, when she slips on the wet grass on her way to the Porta-Potty. A “blue-eyed boy,” whom she discovers is named Wesley Gershwin, helps her up. After e-mailing each other a few times, the two begin to date ... Dom considers changing her college plans to stay close to Wes ... this romance offers some insight into a girl’s new-found sexuality....
--Publishers Weekly

In this sexually explicit exploration of first love in the tradition of Judy Blume -- to whom this is dedicated -- 17-year-old Dominique falls hard for handsome track star Wes, a shy boy who clearly likes her but makes no romantic moves. At last, the ice breaks and the two teens embark on their first awkward sexual experiences. When they separate as they leave for different universities, suspense ensues as readers wonder if they will succeed. In her debut, Snadowsky describes the sex realistically, without embarrassment or prurience ... Snadowsky's narrative easily holds the reader's interest with well-drawn, realistic characters, flowing prose, dialogue and emails. Highly reminiscent of Blume's Forever....

[An] honest look[] at how to navigate complicated and confusing times. "Anatomy of a Boyfriend" starts with the tried-and-true teen-lit girl tropes. The main character, Dominique Baylor, is rather average. She's a virgin high school senior with a more experienced best friend, Amy, who is always egging her on to show more initiative with boys. She has a good relationship with her parents, and she wants to be a doctor. Enter Wes. He's like the female [sic] version of Dom -- a perfectly socially acceptable guy who has very little experience with girls. Their courtship rings true; many false starts and long e-mails and confusion about what kind of relationship they're getting into precede the lusty high school romance. They swoon over each other in a way that is both sweet and cringe-worthy. They are each other's firsts -- first boyfriend, first lover. They have first fights and then first makeup make-outs after the fight. First-time author Snadowsky does a good job of rendering all these emotions while keeping the plot chugging along. Sometimes her descriptions of sex sound slightly clinical, but they are also real ... But going off to college proves to be a whole new ballgame. By extending the story beyond prom night, Snadowsky complicates the rather simple girl-snags-first-boyfriend tale ... it's a promising debut ... it posits thoughtful questions about what happens after you've achieved that teenage dream, the acquisition of a boyfriend, and the dream loses its luster.
--Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle

Visit Daria Snadowsky's website, MySpace page, and LiveJournal page.

The Random House website for Anatomy of a Boyfriend hosts a "build your own (ex)boyfriend" game.

Read an excerpt from Anatomy of a Boyfriend.

The Page 69 Test: Daria Snadowsky's Anatomy of a Boyfriend.

--Marshal Zeringue