Very rarely do you see sex handled well in YA--at least, not in paranormal YA. Sometimes you do come across a contemporary novel that handles it, but...moreVery rarely do you see sex handled well in YA--at least, not in paranormal YA. Sometimes you do come across a contemporary novel that handles it, but it’s rarely ever the focal point of such a novel. I’ve always been a little disappointed about this, since, despite what people seem to believe, teens do have sex and masturbate and do all kinds of things society tries to tell them not to do. To not acknowledge this in a novel focusing on teens continues to do them a disservice.
Sex takes up a large part of Anatomy of a Boyfriend. Specifically, meeting someone you realize you want to have sex with, and having sex for the first time. And it’s handled well. The build up from heavy petting to the actual, awkward first time is believable and genuine, and it was nice to see a teenage girl in a YA novel who wanted sex and wasn’t punished for it.
Even better, the sex isn’t wonderfully epic the first time--there are a lot of missteps between Dom and Wes, and Dom doesn’t even have an orgasm herself from anything Wes does because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And best of all, at one point in the novel, Dom experiments and manages to get herself off with a personal massager. When do we ever see that in a YA?
Fortunately there were a lot of other good things about Anatomy of a Boyfriend. The writing style and Dom’s voice were very real and believable as a teenager, and her experiences going through her first real love made me alternately laugh and cringe at memories of my own first love experience.
I enjoyed Dom as a character but she’s one that readers are going to be divided on; either they’ll love her or they’ll hate her because she is a very realistic seventeen year old. She has her flaws and her judgmental attitudes about things, and she can behave like a real brat at times. She tried my patience once or twice, but honestly the moments where she acted like a brat just made her more likable because she felt real.
I do wish her best friend Amy had gotten the same kind of depth--basically she’s just a really horny 17 y/o and every conversation she’s a part of includes some kind of sexual innuendo, which got old fast--but I did appreciate how close she and Dom were. Wes was a cute enough love interest, and Snadowsky did a good job of showing us why Dom would be attracted to him while also giving really subtle clues as to why he and Dom wouldn’t work out in the long run.
If there were any quibbles I had with the novel, it’s that in the first few pages there’s a pretty ridiculous and offensive portrayal of a fat woman. It’d be one thing if Dom were judging her for being fat, but the writing backs it up by fulfilling pretty much all of the stereotypes of a fat person. I get the intent was to have Wes and Dom’s first meeting be horrifically humiliating, but there were other ways to go about it than that. As a fat person myself, it left a bad taste in my mouth and did not set a good first impression for the rest of the book. Thankfully I did end up enjoying it, but still.
Dom also has a few moments of slut shaming, although sadly I could see how this is realistic for a teenage girl to both be sexually active and still judge others and call them “sluts”, or worse, judge herself as possibly being slutty. It’s not very often that Dom does this, though, thankfully.
Given all of this, I’m interested in seeing what comes next in Dom’s story in Anatomy of a Single Girl. Hopefully I’ll be just as impressed.
See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand. Finished copies of both this book and the sequel were provided by the author for an honest review.(less)