books and reading · reviews

Book Review: Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Dominique is fresh off her first year of college and recovering from her first real heartbreak.  She plans to spend her summer volunteering at the hospital, reconnecting with her best friend, and spending some quality time with her parents.  Boys are the last thing on her mind, until she meets super cute Guy, and all bets are off.  As the two embark on a summer romance, Dom struggles with her desire to make every relationship THE relationship.

Daria Snadowsky’s sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend offers readers plenty of frank sex talk and a pretty in-depth exploration of a second sexual relationship for a young girl just figuring herself out.  The blunt sex talk is going to appeal to many teens, and this definitely fills a niche that’s often overlooked in YA literature (although this is–thankfully–changing).  When the book works, it does so very well.  But it’s an uneven execution.

The novel delves deeply into some heady questions, including the exploration of what the difference is between a long-lasting relationship and one that is meant to only last a short time.  It also examines what sex is, what it does, and how it feels.  Dom is pre-med, so her fascination with this last part is both medical and personal, and her ability to think through her actions is something readers will appreciate.  Some readers might find themselves frustrated by how black-and-white Dom sees relationships, but it feels very authentic, and many readers will relate.

In the book’s better scenes, it offers readers a plethora of options and stories about sex and sexual experiences.  When it stumbles, it does so in a way that is clunky and more than a little didactic.  It’s also shortsighted when it comes to the sexual spectrum: all of the characters are heterosexual, and there’s a weird stigma about masturbation that occurs more than once in the novel.

Overall, this one will have lots of appeal for teens looking for a juicy novel unafraid to shy away from tough relationship questions.  It’s an uneven execution, but it’s worthy of being on library shelves.

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky. Delacorte Books for Young Readers: 2013. Electronic Galley accepted for review via NetGalley. Read for 2013 Cybils.

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