Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky ( website | tweet )
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: summer break from college, med school, sex, relationships
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Dom, a pre-med major, is home for summer break and hoping to spend some time with her best friend, Amy, and her supportive parents. She’s also still trying to get over high school boyfriend, and survive the longest period of time she’s been home since they broke up. Will she spend the summer wallowing or will she find someone or something to distract her?
I was not expecting Anatomy of a Single Girl, the first book I’ve started and finished this year, to be more than a fluffy, fun read. Nothing wrong with that. But lemme tell you, it shocked me. Shocked me because it was so much smarter than that, shocked me so much because I was blushing like a maniac because it was overflowing with sex. And not only the kind you have with a hot guy, trying to get your first O (oh that’s in there too) but um, the self-pleasing kind as well.
See? I’m all nervous just typing that!
I am all for girl power: ladies like Carrie Bradshaw and Jessica Darling, who know how they feel and what they want. Not only in their personal lives but for their professional ones too. Main character Dom is a science geek, friends! A science geek who is also still cool, pretty, likes her parents, and has a great relationship with her best friend, Amy. Dom wants to be a doctor, and has been memorizing Gray’s Anatomy since she was in high school.
Now she’s on break from college, after working her ass off, and she needs some relief from those finals. RELIEF. If you remember or if you are experiencing it now, summers home are tough. Friends can change, your parents might seem a little boring, and, man oh man, that freedom you so loved at school may not come as easily. Snadowsky has this down including the super supportive parents who are always begging for more time with their kid.
And where’s Dom? Volunteering at the hospital, and hanging out with Guy, who loves science as much as she does. I love this girl so much because she is SO herself, whether it’s geeking out or thinking so black and white about relationships. Most of us has been there: what’s the point of dating for fun or having a fling if there’s no future? (Okay, so I used to have this mindset so I get it.) Like me, Dom has a problem just LETTING GO + it seems the mission of the summer is all wrapped in that.
In the meantime, her bestie, Amy, is in a committed relationship but dares to flirt and be forward with the boys anyway. I liked this parallel a lot. Amy and Dom have this cool friendship you could only hope for. College can change the dynamics between friends so much, and they manage to fall back into old times as soon as they see each other — even when there are some growing pains to deal with. You can tell they also keep great touch despite going to different colleges, miles and miles away from each other.
You know, I had absolutely no idea that Snadowsky had written a previous book about Dom. But the snappy, honest writing (even with Dom’s long-winded and technical thought process) never made me feel like I was missing anything or getting an intense recap from book 1. I love when authors write a series but each book can also be seen as a standalone. In fact, since finishing Single Girl, I’ve read Anatomy of a Boyfriend and I felt majorly grateful to read another book that was so open about sexuality, virginity, and the dreaded leaving high school for college process.
Snadowsky knows how to write women — strong, flawed women who are open to discovering their bodies and what makes them feel good. (Whether it’s science or sex.)
Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: Paris, College, Life Experiences, Falling in Love
Format read: ARC borrowed from Anna at Anna Reads (Thanks, lady!)
Summary: Allyson is on “the trip of a lifetime” in Europe with her best friend, Melanie, after their high school graduation; after following all the rules throughout the trip, Allyson decides to be spontaneous and go to Paris for one day with Willem, an actor she meets in a Shakespeare play.
Tomorrow is a day all book readers need to rejoice, rush to the closest bookstore, purchase a copy of Just One Day, and read it in its entirety. I am not kidding, not in the least. This book is probably one of my very favorite books I’ve read … ever.
Forman took me by complete surprise with her previous books, If I Stay and Where She Went. There are moments I still reflect on scenes from those books and find myself daydreaming about the characters. It’s always a bit scary to read something new when an author leaves that kind of impression. Regardless, Jamie and Anna talked up Just One Day and graciously sent it my way.
Within the first few pages, the confused and very structured main character, Allyson, had struck a chord with me. Her life was controlled and micromanaged by overbearing parents who planned every second of her life. It’s not until the end of her tour in Europe that she realizes how little she’s explored because she was too afraid to do something not on the itinerary (meanwhile, her best friend, Melanie, has made new friends and semi-reinvented herself).
When the chance to go to Paris for a day with Willem (a boy she meets through a local production of a Shakespeare play) arises, she pushes her hesitations aside and chooses to be adventurous. Willem is funny, intelligent, good-looking, and has a wandering spirit that’s up for the challenge of showing Allyson the city. Allyson morphs into an alter-ego, Lulu, who is the bold and daring version of herself. The girl that’s brave and doesn’t need to have every moment pre-planned.
Forman’s writing is beautiful and perfect; her prose is spot on. Her descriptions are vivid — painting clear pictures of the places they went, the people they encountered, the sights they saw. Though I may have expected a “touristy” and overly romantic trek through Paris, what I received was so much more than that. Their stops felt very realistic and not overly idealized. I loved that I didn’t receive the postcard description of the city, but experienced two people discovering themselves in a foreign city in a very natural way. Nothing feels forced, cliched, or contrived.
Maybe you’re like me and you assumed that Just One Day would be mostly an epic love story. Forman’s themes are so strong, making me believe that her words could reach a vast audience.
+ JOD is about a pressured, sheltered girl with high demands being forced on her by her parents (Go to med school. Make something of yourself. Collect clocks. Wear these clothes.) and how she struggles to break free of the mold they’ve so tightly cast around her.
+ It’s about the separation and distance we face when we part from our childhood friends to chase new dreams. (How do you remain friends when it seems life is pulling you in two opposite directions?)
+ There’s the sense of change and wanting to chase after something new and different and acting on it, even though (or maybe especially because) everyone expects you to stay the same.
+ It’s about making friends as an adult and how different that can be than the judgmental ways of high school… and how our preconceived notions of someone can be so, so wrong.
There are no words to describe my love/adoration/infatuation for Just One Day. One day can change the course of your life. I wish I could purchase copies for every person on the planet because it has affected me that immensely.
I highly encourage you, friends, to go out tomorrow and purchase a copy of this book. Allow yourself to fall in love with Paris, to seek answers to all the questions surrounding Willem, and to grow and change with Allyson.
Goodreads | Amazon
Oh howdy! And happy new year!
Sorry for the lack of v-log tonight, but it’s a busy weekend! Hope you are wrapped up in some good reading, and finding time to relax. Monday begins the first full week in awhile for most of us, I’m guessing? We will need the books to get through! Here’s what’s happening on my bookshelf.
15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins + Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe are two books I requested from Flux Books, the publisher of Beautiful Music for Ugly Children — a book I absolutely loved from last year. So I have high hopes for these two reads. (Doesn’t Riptide remind you of Blue Crush?)
My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling is actually part of a series (not normally my thing, but I didn’t know + I am willing to take the chance with a title like this one.) Release date for this one is in April.
From used book store shopping:
Man, oh man. Discovered a small used book store near my job and the YA section is so small, I’m shocked I found anything. Especially these.
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, a book raved about by Magan.
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky, pretty much a miracle that the store had this title. I had just gotten through reading Anatomy of a Single Girl on my way to the book store + there this beauty was. (I gobbled it up in two days.) If you haven’t checked out this author, you really have to. (My review for Single Girl will be live on Wednesday, and it’s out in bookstores on Tuesday!)
All You Never Wanted by the great Adele Griffin. I really really enjoyed reading this one last year, and hey, it was 5 dollars and in perfect condition!
And in case you missed it on the blog this week:
Our official happy new year with bookish resolutions!
Review of The Julian Game by Adele Griffin.
Review of Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder.
Review of Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy.
Well, that’s it for me! Anything exciting happening with you guys? Hope you have a fantastic week! Thanks again for stopping in!
Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy ( website | twitter )
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: music, bands, friendships with boys
Format read: Borrowed from library
Summary: Char, Oliver, and Tripp have been friends forever. Now, in high school, Char manages and writes songs for Sad Jackal, the band that Oliver and Tripp also play in. But things change more than Charlotte ever thought when Tripp decides to leave the band…
Ahh, the age old question of whether or not guys and girls can really be friends. Readers, I’m here to tell you I still don’t know the answer to that one. I’d like to say yes, but based on my own personal experiences…. it’s not looking too good. And maybe that’s why I connected so strongly to Char’s story. She’s not exactly your typical girl and we know how much that can make you an outcast in high school. She’s not too big on fashion, not the best student, but loves music and manages a band with her two best friends, Oliver and Tripp.
When Tripp leaves the band out of nowhere, the dynamic between the three really changes. Char feels she can’t talk to Tripp about the band anymore which is a total loss to her because they were songwriting partners. Their distance grows even more when Tripp starts hanging out with new friends and the new band members actually start to make the band BETTER. Char also starts crushing on the talented Fabian and gains some attention from Benji, the sweet stoner, from her history class who is helping her study. (Hello, Marcus Flutie fans!)
THERE ARE BOYS EVERYWHERE.
All of a sudden a guy magnet and, not only managing but SINGING in the band, Char is in totally new territory.
After reading The Summer of Firsts and Lasts and now this particular book, I am a certified Terra Elan McVoy fan. Char’s home life is a little unsteady with her older sister, Jilly, away at college and the blending of her new family, which includes two stepsisters. But there is never any hate between any of them. All the girls are really different but it is because of Char’s recent excitement that they come together in this grand way. I loved seeing them get closer. Then Char starts to feel lonely when Jilly is hard to nail down during her first semester. I could only think of my own little sister and wonder if she ever felt like that about me when I left for college the first time. McVoy is a pro when it comes to writing about the complexities of sister relationships. I always leave the scenes intensely missing my own family and home in general, when I could just wake up to Turkey Day at my house and not have to drive there or skip it all together. The sense of home and family is just so on target.
Charlotte, who is sort of directionless when it comes to her future, is forced to make decisions for herself without her sister and Tripp. And she doesn’t always make the right ones. She struggles a lot and overthinks and feels pretty helpless at times too. The hurt she feels from Tripp’s treatment punched me right in the heart so many times (“You’re the one who knows me. I thought he knew it already, but maybe I need to tell him. Maybe that would make a difference. But maybe too—and this snaps me into action…because I don’t want to think about it—maybe he does know how much he means to me. And maybe he’s doing it anyway.”) How one day it’s normal to talk to someone every day and on another, it’s normal to not.
McVoy takes familiar themes and continues to make them refreshing and new; she never makes the typical moves while still injecting emotion in a way we can relate to – some days we are wallowing and others we are laughing. I never really know the ending of these stories until I reach the final page. I still have to do a little work to get there and as a reader, I appreciate that so much.
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Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: abuse, stalker ex-boyfriends, hospitalization, bad home life
Format read: ARC from Simon & Schuester at ALA (Thank you!)
Summary: Over a six month period, we see Rae’s life unravel as her step-father loses his job and becomes more abusive and her relationship with Nathan ends and he becomes more possessive.
If you think back to your high school days, was there ever a time when it seemed everyone around you had a boyfriend but you? That’s kind of how Rae feels. She’s not sure she’s relationship material because she’s super picky. Then one magical day, a new boy (Nathan) appears at her school and he’s immediately interested — blatantly staring at her, making sure she knows he’s interested.
While Rae would like to take things a bit slower, her best friends encourage her to take the risk and go for it with Nathan. What her friends don’t know is how badly Rae wants to be loved, how dire her home life is, and how easy it is for her to fall under Nathan’s spell. Her mom is married to a scumbag of a guy because he promised her a better life (that, unfortunately, will likely never come to fruition). He gets fired from his low-paying job and forces Rae to relinquish nearly all of her wages from her job at the floral shop to “help the family stay afloat” (aka: hand over money for his alcoholic ways).
Nathan quickly begins pressuring Rae for more than just make-out sessions. She would rather build a relationship on something more than the physical. When their relationship falls apart, she feels free of Nathan’s constant watchful eye. She finds solace in her job and her newfound friendship with Leo, the boy who works at the coffee bistro next door (…and is easygoing and happy, makes silly movies, and takes Rae on unexpected adventures). Nathan begins showing up in random places, stalking her, and becomes more possessive and threatening.
Falling For You begins in present day where we see that Rae is in the hospital, not doing very well. The exact details of what happened to her are unknown, but we rewind six months to the beginning of Rae’s relationship with Nathan and her step-dad’s downward spiral. The big question is What happened to Rae? There’s lots of speculation on behalf of the reader, but the real heart of the story is seeing Rae’s life, both the highs and the lows, unfold.
For those of you that loved The Day Before (written entirely in verse), don’t fret. Schroeder incorporates poetry through Rae’s personal diary entries and her anonymous submissions to the school’s newspaper. Through the poetry, we’re opened up to a side of Rae that she shares with no one — she is raw and honest, holding nothing back. This was a lovely incorporation that opened my eyes to how necessary writing is for some people as an outlet when they feel they’re all alone in the world.
Full of charming imagery with awesome I-want-to-know-you-in-real-life-characters (I dare you not to love her boss and co-workers!), Schroeder’s Falling For You will make you want to open up your guest bedroom for Rae to give her a safe, loving place to live. You’ll be eager to get to the end of the story to find out what happened to her, but hesitant to finish the story because you won’t want to leave Leo behind.
Goodreads | Amazon