Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
Anatomy of a Boyfriend Book Poster Image
Graphic first love -- & sex -- story better for older teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Provides an opportunity for parents to share their own opinions and expectations about teen dating and sex. See our Families Can Talk about section for some discussion ideas.

Positive Messages

This is a book about first love and sexual experiences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is smart, articulate, and driven, but her obsession with her boyfriend can border on the extreme. She will do anything to be with her boyfriend, including lying to
her parents, but she also turns to them for advice, comfort, and support.
Readers will appreciate her honest narration and that teens discuss and practice safe sex.


Graphic descriptions of kissing, touching, fondling, oral sex, and intercourse. Discussion of nudity, using birth control, sneaking away to have sex. Teen friend thinks she may be pregnant. Police officer catches boy and girl fooling around in parked car.


Use of words "assholes," "s--t," "hell," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teenagers drink at parties. Adults drink in front of teens.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is filled with graphic descriptions of first intimate experiences and has been compared to Judy Blume's Forever. As a senior in high school, the main female character is obsessed with her first real boyfriend and describes in vivid detail their romantic encounters, from kissing and touching to oral sex and losing her virginity. She is also an overachieving student, has applied to colleges with pre-med ambitions, and has strong, healthy relationships with her parents and best girlfriend. In the context of social gatherings, there is some underage drinking and profanity in dialogue for effect. The protagonist is a likeable character, but parents need to be comfortable with the frank sex-related content, which could double as a how-to manual.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byamberkapiolani August 28, 2011

best book I've ever read :)

this book is GREAT, i read it when i was 13 and LOVED it. It is informational as well as witty. Dominique is a character that so many teenage girls can relate t... Continue reading
Parent of a 4, 6, and 17-year-old Written byxoxoChelseaBeth June 26, 2011

Stop sheltering children.

I think that your children will do fine with this book. If they are 13 or under they may have questions, but you as a parent should be willing to answer them in... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCharlyGirlTM January 27, 2013

Best book so far

This review is coming from a 15 year olds perspective . I have just finished this book and loved it . All teenage girls should read this , as it gives you persp... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytabykins13 May 8, 2012

The power of Sex/ fist love

This book defitley shows how powerful sex really is. And how rushing into things aren't good. It is beautifully- and descriptly- written. I recommend it to... Continue reading

What's the story?

Dominique, a high-achieving student at an all-girl high school, meets Wes, a track star at the local public high school. Her best friend Amy encourages Dom to pursue him. They slowly develop a relationship, the first physical one for both. Eventually, hot and heavy, they find secret ways to be alone and explore first sexual encounters. Promising always to be together, they attend different colleges in different states and attempt to maintain their close relationship through email, phone calls, and visits back home. But is it possible?

Is it any good?

First love and first times are very dramatic, no doubt, but they're not always on display so graphically, with how-to manual-style details. Written in the first person, the book lets readers get up close and personal with Dominique's thoughts, feelings, apprehensions, and pleasures. Like many teens, she communicates as much through email, text messaging, and cell phones as she does in person. And she's much more candid via email, in fact, especially when she's making a big relationship decision. For readers at this junction between high school and college romance, this book may give them something to ponder, but younger readers may be overwhelmed by the protagonist's obsession with her boyfriend and the explicit details of their relationship.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sexual content of this book. Does it seem overly graphic -- or just realistic? When authors are writing books targeting teens, is any subject matter off limits?

  • Do you think books like this one can shape teen sexual behavior? Who or what do you think has the most influence over your decisions? Does media, including books, play a role?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love love and romance

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