review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Daria Snadowsky)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 272
Publisher:
ISBN:
Genre: contemporary
Source: a copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy, #1)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.





Some books do a fabulous job of showing what goes on inside of a hormonal teenager’s head. Anatomy of a Boyfriend is very honest and pretty accurate with its portrayal.

Dom is a hormonal mess. She’s been able to resist the lure of boys for most of her time in high school, but then she meets “the one”. Enter Wes. He’s everything that a young Cassanova isn’t. And he’s perfect for Dom.

There is instant chemistry… and a lot of sexual exploration. I mean a lot. They are both horrible niave, so some of the situations they find themselves in are entertaining. Classic teen stupidity.

I have to be pretty honest, however, I was really surprised by the amount of sex in this book. At times, it felt more like a teen Harlequin novel instead of a YA contemporary read. That did not keep me from reading it, however.

Dom is all over the place with her emotions, and I could not help but recognize my younger self in her character. The highs and lows of young (and most) relationships were realistic. The anger and ache that comes from having your heart broken, also believable. Dom is every teenage girl.

After reading the book, I thought about the dedication page. Anatomy of a Boyfriend is devoted to Judy Blume and Dorothy Teenov. That may not seem important at first, but when I started to think about things I realized something. Judy Blume received a lot of crap for some of her stories that discussed sexuality among teens and masturbation. Well, Anatomy of a Boyfriend is part of the new age of teen literature that explores these topics.

I will admit that I did not know who Dorothy Tennov was. So, I looked her up. She was a psychologist that—in simple terms—studied the compulsions behind ‘being in love’. She coined the term “limerence” to describe these feelings of needing to have your romantic feelings reciprocated. This feels pretty accurate for Dom, because a large part of the book deals with her efforts in her first relationship, and whether or not they were returned.  

I will also go ahead and mentioned that I never cared for Wes. I think he had a lot of potential, but he always felt selfish to me. I kept waiting for some plot twist to show that he was taking advantage of Dom, or some other explanation to explain his behavior. When that didn’t occur, it left me a little baffled. I never fully bought the relationship and “love” aspect of Wes and Dom. It felt very rushed.

I would probably not be able to keep these on my classroom shelf due to explicit sex scenes that are on just about every page. I would also have a hard time keeping these out of my students’ hands if they knew I had them. They are so interested in this topic, and many don’t feel comfortable asking about it. They would, however, read a book. This series would definitely be the most requested book from my “secret box” in the closet.


Review: Allegiant (Veronica Roth)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 526
Publisher: October 22nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books          
ISBN: 9780062024060
Genre: sci-fi, dystopian
Source: my own copy



Allegiant (Divergent, #3)One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

There are no words. None. I am done.

Ok, so maybe I have a few words I can share. For instance, I can share how my heart has been ripped out and destroyed. I can share how my love of this series is forever tainted. I can even share that I no longer have shelf space reserved for my hardbacks—which are now looking for a new home.

I am distraught.

Devastated.

In complete awe.

** SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ THIS SECTION IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ALLEGIANT**

You were warned. But in case curiosity got the best of you, let me explain my dramatics. The ending for this book blew me away. I have waited an entire week to share my thoughts, and I still can’t come to terms with what I feel. I am beyond words.

Veronica Roth took this series to a place I never expected. I admire her brazen decision, but it has left a hole. A deep, everlasting hole. When I read that fateful scene, I could not believe it. I read it, then I reread it because I just knew I was missing something. But then that ‘something’ never came.

Am I satisfied? Heck no! I wanted it to be anyone else but her. I didn’t even feel complete knowing Tobias was still hanging around.

What did I want? I have no idea. All I know is it wasn’t what I got! I just can’t… ack… ugh

*** END SPOILER ALERT***

The other thing that really got to me this time around was Tobias. I have enjoyed him so much over the years, but this time he just did not sit well with me. He constantly doubted Tris, and he came across whiny. I can say that having these HUGE character flaws did make the characters so much more believable. So that was a plus.

I also didn’t mind the alternating points of view. I was pretty excited to see Tobias’s side of things. However, by the end, I found him to get on my nerves a bit. I now feel that Veronica Roth’s strength is writing strong female leads. I never found myself having a 100% buy in with Tobias.

My final rant is the spin the final book took. We finally got to see the full outcome of this dystopian setting. It made sense, and I guess it worked, but… It didn’t wow me like I thought it would. Oh, let me also go ahead and say how awful the beginning was. It started right where Insurgent ended, but I was so confused! It’s been a year since I read that book. I need some kind of fill in to catch me up on things. Do you know how many books I read in a year?! These plots get muddled, and I do not want to have to reread a book just to make sense of the sequel. I’m thankful she did not info-dump, but I needed some more clues to help me make sense of the very important information being handed to me.

Overall, this was alright. I have loved Divergent and Insurgent. They are some of the only books that I have pre-ordered. I have counted down release days with digital timers and Facebook updates. And now I feel horribly let down. I wish I would have just waited to read Allegiant when it arrived at my library. I do not know if my reaction has more to do with the high expectations I had for the book, or the outcome of the plot. Either way, it left me conflicted.

 


Review: Hereafter (Kate Brian)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 320
Publisher: October 1st 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423164845
Genre: mystery, paranormal
Source: eARC from publisher via Netgalley




Hereafter (Shadowlands, #2)
 
Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique--including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.
But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again.

 

 

The ending of Shadowlands left me questioning whether I would like this series or not. I can say after reading Hereafter, I do like this series.

I found Hereafter a bit more predictable than Shadowlands. If you read the first book, you understand what I’m saying because that ending came out of nowhere. Do not expect that same since of shock and surprise from Hereafter. There is nothing really surprising in this book. I saw the ending coming from the beginning.

The setting is still great. The sleepy little island community of Juniper Landing is starting to be shaken. Things like hornets and dead animals and flowers are creeping in to the island paradise. It may seem like nothing for a typical Florida beach community, but it is not common in Juniper Landing. The cause of these mysteries is the focus of the entire book. In simplest form, something is amiss.

Not only can you see what’s obviously going wrong in the community, but Rory and the other Lifers can sense it. Souls are going astray, and no one knows why.

The creep factor is a bit higher in this one because we meet new characters. The new characters are dark and mysterious. It’s hard to say what role they will ultimately have in the series, but for now it’s not looking too good.

I have to say, though, what really sold me on Hereafter is Joaquin. He never made much of an impression on me in the first book, but he shines in Hereafter. I adore him. Rory is in a tough spot, so I don’t know how things will turn out in that area. I’m very anxious to see where that subplot will take us.

Kate Brian has definitely written a mystery that I’m curious about. This is typically my least favorite genre, but there was just enough of a hint of mythology (Charon and the golden coins) to suck me in. I will be waiting patiently for Endless to arrive.


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