Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky. (Grades 9+)
Dominique is a senior in high school and has never had a boyfriend when she meets Wes at a school sports event. It's pretty much lust at first sight and the two start emailing and IMing, eventually growing closer and falling in love. The reader accompanies Dom as she experiences her first love and everything that goes along with that. Think Forever but updated. We get all the gritty details as things heat up pretty quickly and before the end of senior year, they've lost their virginities to each other. Dom approaches sexuality with a scientific (as well as emotional) curiosity. Her dream is to be a doctor and Gray's Anatomy is a favorite book of hers.
The book has a very frank tone and Snadowsky doesn't leave anything out. I felt just like I was reading Dominique's diary and more than once I felt like I was reading about my own first relationship. I actually didn't read Forever until I was in grad school (how I missed it, I have no idea), but I wish I had had Anatomy of a Boyfriend when I was in high school.
Dom's experience felt really real to me. After she falls in love with Wes, her life starts to center around him. Her friends and family all start to take a backseat, which is especially problematic once Dom and Wes leave Florida to go to different colleges. I have to say that I didn't always believe Dom's voice... especially in the IM conversations with her best friend and Wes, it didn't sound natural to me. But that's a small problem and I found the plot very believable.
Anatomy of a Boyfriend is coming out in paperback on Sept. 23, so run out to your favorite bookstore and buy a copy. Thanks much to Daria Snadowsky for sending me a (signed!!) copy. Do be sure to check out her website and also stop over at Random House and build your own boyfriend!