01 October 2010

Sexy Book Review: Annexed

As I said in my Sunday Salon, this weeks' reads and reviews are focused on sex, the positive, life-affirming, chills-inducing good stuff, the stuff people want to remove from our libraries so as to not "corrupt" our youth. Well youth be warned...and let the sexy begin...

Title: Annexed
Author: Sharon Dogar
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Release Date: 4 October 2010
Date Finished: 25 October 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, YA Reading Challenge, Hogwarts Reading Challenge,

The Short and Sweet of It
The Diary of Anne Frank retold from Peter's perspective, Annexed re-immerses readers in the secret, anxiety-ridden world of a group of Jews hiding from the Nazis for two years.

The Sex of It aka Why It's (Probably Going to Be) Banned
As you can well imagine, sex is not the primary focus of this novel. It does, however, occupy a much larger place in the text than you probably imagine. Peter spends a lot of time thinking about sex which felt perfectly normal for a 16-year-old boy regardless of where and when he lived. He has explicit dreams about sex, he wonders if he will ever make love, he fantasizes about kissing Anne, he does kiss Anne. And throughout, Dogar handles his sexuality with care and maturity.

The scene that seems to have some people in an uproar:
Anne shivers slightly. Our eyes are locked. I run my fingers all the way down her spine and feel her breathing change...she stretches and sights, turns on her back, closes her eyes. I rest my hand on her stomach. And concentrate. On keeping it there...

Our faces move closer. I put my hands in her hair...We move closer and closer until we're pressed up tight against each other in the sunlight, her skin's warm beneath my fingers...I hold her so close I forget where she begins and I end.
This is definitely not a sex scene; it's a make-out scene, and even if they were having sex, what exactly would be wrong with that? Two teenagers trapped together in a small space for two years under extremely stressful circumstances? Some sort of sexual activity seems inevitable and practically necessary for survival.

Overall Recommendation
While I wish I had re-read The Diary of Anne Frank before picking this one up, I have to admit that's a geek moment. Readers who have never even heard of The Diary of Anne Frank will be perfectly able to understand and enjoy this moving story. I just, like a true geek, know that my experience reading would have been even more powerful if I had read "the original" first.

The story vacillates between present-day Peter and annex-Peter, and this set-up - a memory that needs to be told - increased the poignancy of the tale. We know from the very beginning of the story how things will unfold, how it will all end, no matter if we've read Frank or not, and yet Dogar manages to set up the story in such a way that the reader wants to know what's going to happen next. She makes the details as important as the big picture.

This book releases on Monday, and I highly recommend getting it as soon as possible!

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

Fourth Musketeer; Insert Book Title Here;

A Sexy Question: Do you think that thinking about sex in the midst of a horrific situation is immature, inappropriate, normal, perverted, involuntary.....?

Sexiness Kiss Quotient:


  1. Just the incentive I need to RE-READ Anne Frank. (yep, I'm a geek.)

  2. This is one I gave away right away when I got home from BEA. I'm glad it turned out so good!

  3. I had not yet heard of this book, but it sounds fascinating! I think the scene that you excerpted was very tame and restrained, and I can't imagine why the busybodies have a problem with it, but I am really beyond understanding them. I am going to have to check this one out. It sounds like a book I would love.

  4. Wow, I didn't know this book was coming out. What an interesting idea, to write Peter's perspective! Clearly I will have to read it...and probably reread Anne Frank, too!

  5. Oh, I had no idea this was a retelling of The Diary of a Young Girl from Peter's perspective! But I'm a bit confused as to present-day Peter; he died in 1945 in Mauthausen on a forced march. Is 'present-day' Peter in the camps, or did Dogar rewrite history a little?

  6. Care - I tried to re-read Anne Frank, found out I didn't have it on my shelves, and neither one of the libraries near me had a copy! Otherwise, I definitely would have as well.

    Amanda - Pamalicious told me about this one, and I am so grateful she did. I really enjoyed it.

    Heather - What gets me about the whole situation is that the book hasn't even come out yet and people are already "concerned".

    Erin - I really wish I had re-read AF, but neither one of the libraries close to me had a copy!

    Clare - Yep, present-day Peter is in the camps. Dogar stuck with the reality of what happened as far as I can tell.

  7. I have this from BEA and am dying to get to it. I loved Anne Frank's story so much. It was a defining moment in my reading when I was a child.

  8. Wow, this sounds like a book I really, really want to get my hands on! Like so many teen girls, I read Anne Frank in high school and was totally changed by her story.

    As for the whole "sex in the middle of a horrific situation" concept: I would imagine it's involuntary, for one, but also a means of escape from the terrible circumstances one is under... if only for a little while. If someone could fall in love while it feels like the whole world is falling apart around them, I would never begrudge them that.

  9. To answer your question, no way is it abnormal or immature. Most people try to use escapism in difficult situations. Plus with puberty it makes it almost impossible to think about anything else.

  10. So glad I grabbed a copy at BEA. I'll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

  11. I read a review of this book that made it seem really inappropriate. I guess it seems somewhat wrong to reimagine a book like The Diary of Anne Frank. Of course, I think you should read the book first before judging it!

  12. It sounds like a really interesting story Trisha. I must pick up my copy and give it a read! I don't think it is inappropriate at all.

  13. Pam - I'm so glad you told me about this one at BEA! I'm woefully ignorant on contemporary bookish stuff; I've been locked in the distant past for many many years. :)

    Meg - I couldn't agree more. Stressful situations and sex seem to hand-in-hand which makes perfect sense to me.

    Amy - Exactly! Start with a highly stressful situation, combine it with hours and hours of boredom, and then through in raging hormones, and you have a perfect recipe for teen sex.

    Anna - Thanks!

    Jenners - I can completely understand why some people don't like books like this; re-imagining a classic, especially such a powerful one in such a modern-themed way, can be jarring for the more die-hard fans or purists amongst us. I'm more postmodern than that; I love it when people take something old and rework it into something new.

    Amy - I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

  14. Why wouldn't someone think about sex in the middle of a horrific situation? At a time like that you need to be reminded you're human.

    I've read The Diary of Anne Frank several times, and this book sounds fascinating to me.

  15. Stephanie - That's exactly how I feel! I really need to re-read Anne Frank; I don't think I've read it since grade school.


Talk to me baby!