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REVIEW:  Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

REVIEW: Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Dear Ms. Snadowsky:

I was intrigued by this book because the cover is clever, I’m a fan of the New Adult movement, and this book seemed to be right within those parameters.   The tagline reads “eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.” To be fair, the book lives up exactly to that tagline. Throughout the course of the novel, Dom tries to figure out what she wants in a guy. We see her work through this issue by thinking about her friend, Calvin; her failed relationship with Wes; and her hookup Guy.

Bookending the story is the news of one of her friend’s engagements (who says she doesn’t want any one to be dateless at her wedding) and the friend’s marriage. The story traces Dom’s path through her hook up, her friend Amy’s tumultuous relationship (and Amy goes off on a weird rant about her boyfriend’s uncircumcised penis which was kind of offputting such as how it was disgusting looking and unhealthy because it caused a yeast infection).

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria SnadowskyThis book is a sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend published in 2008.  From the reviews in 2008, it appeared to be a much anticipated and longed for sequel, yet, I’m not sure if readers quite got what they had been waiting for.  SPOILERS FOR ANATOMY AHOY.

At the end of Anatomy of a Boyfriend, Dominique has broken up with her first real boyfriend, Wes. At the start of Anatomy of a Single Girl, she is now in college and has somewhat resigned herself to not falling in love with anyone again.  At the Lee County Hospital where Dom works as an intern for the summer, she meets Guy Davies who incites those familiar and exciting feelings of attraction.  They embark on a casual sex only relationship wherein Dom experiences her first orgasm.

Dom’s voice if frank and fun. Her approach to her encounters with Guy are casual, more so than he might even care for.  But their witty exchanges seemed forced.  After Guy kisses Dom for the first time, he says

“Sorry, Dom. I wasn’t planning on doing that here.  You’re just so freakin’ pretty, and under the moon, your hair’s, like, on fire.”

“Oh — No — It’s – I’m — Don’t worry about it.”

“We’d better stop, though. I feel nervous mackin’ on you with your parents inside. I don’t want to risk them catching us.”

Maybe that’s how kids talk these days but it seemed artificial.  Dom is trying to figure out more about herself, particularly her feelings about love and connections. Her best friend Amy is getting married and everyone around her seems to be pairing up.

I think it would have been better conveyed had Dom not spent the entire time with Guy, having sex with him.  While I appreciate the message that good sex isn’t equal to love, I felt like I spent the whole time spinning my wheels. Or going in one big circle. It may have been interesting had she been describing different hook ups but instead, she has one just long ongoing hookup with a guy she’s not really into.

I really think the crux of the problem with this book was the age old “it’s not you, it’s me” yarn. As Dom explores relationship ideas, everything seems revelatory to her. I just felt old. I get the sense that there will be a book 3 or more in this series, but I never found Dom interesting as a person. Her narration was dull and her encounters ordinary and the writing didn’t elevate these into interesting. C-

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

REVIEW: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Dear Ms. Clayton:

When I don’t know what to read next, I admit that I prowl the Amazon bestseller lists in the hopes of seeing something that will catch my attention. Your book’s risqué cover certainly did, and I downloaded a sample. I was immediately charmed by your breezy, light-hearted voice and purchased despite being leery of your publisher (Omnific, who publishes a lot of reworked fanfiction). The first half of this book was everything it promised to be, but I found that as the story wore on, it lost some of its charm.

Wallbanger-Alice-ClaytonWallbanger is the story of Caroline, a young, single interior designer who has been without a boyfriend and without her ‘O’ for some time. She moves in to a lovely apartment that seems perfect, only to be awakened nightly by her neighbor, the ‘wallbanger’ of the title. He has a different woman over several nights in a row, and Caroline grows to hate him. Naturally they later meet up at a party and are forced together, and what follows is a flirty, coy friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Caroline is wary of Simon and his ‘harem’, but falls for him.

Initially I was skeptical but hooked. Caroline seemed like a brash, fun, independent heroine and the hero was a manslut who was, in fact, sleeping with three different women. I wanted to see how you would turn him around and make him loveable.

The conversations between Caroline and Simon were fast, frenetic and amusing and I couldn’t wait to see how these two would end up together. In a world of instant-love romances, I loved that Caroline and Simon are friends for quite some time before moving on to other things, because it allowed me to enjoy their witty push-pull banter for that much longer. Unfortunately, the push-pull goes on for too long, and by the 70% mark on my kindle, I was ready for the book to be over and for them to consummate the deal. In my opinion, the latter half of the book dragged because of an overabundance of the will they won’t they scenario and I wanted the story to do something, anything, different at that point. It could have been 25% shorter and I would have been pleased.

As the story wore on, I began to have trouble with suspension of belief as well. I could suspend belief that Caroline and Simon could hear everything through their paper-thin wall; from sighs to snorts of disbelief to the cries of Simon’s harem. However, the suspension of disbelief items began to pile on. The cat’s ridiculous antics were aggravating, as was the fact that everyone thought it was adorable instead of obnoxious or disgusting. The hookups of the best friends of both seemed a little overly cute, and Simon’s later revelation that he’d never had a real relationship seemed farfetched. In addition, the closer that Caroline and Simon grow, the more beta male he became. I felt as if you defanged the manslut hero in order to make him hero material, but in doing so, you lost the things that I found appealing about him in the first place. By the end of the book, Simon is wimpy and needy and I was longing for the arrogant manslut of the first few chapters.

Overall, the book was a light, amusing read that went on a touch too long. I enjoyed it but it did not make me rush out to purchase your backlist; I need a break from the cuteness. If you enjoy a slightly more curse-word-happy and sexed up Kristen Higgins heroine, you would probably enjoy this story.

For me, the first half was a B+, but the second half fell to a C. Overall I’d have to round it out to a B-. Enjoyable but flawed.

All best,

January

PS –Upon further investigation…it seems this is another Twilight fanfic.

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