Uses for Boys
by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: January 15, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and
everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them
against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next
marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she
discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam,
Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need.
But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a
slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness,
but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know. Then comes Sam. When
Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats
dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear.
And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to
offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys
is a story of breaking down and growing up.
Uses for Boys
not a romance, it’s a dark gritty look into a dysfunctional family and the
impact it has on the protagonist. This
was not an easy book to read with its dark subject matter and unusual writing
style. It touches on sex, rape, drugs,
lies, loss, and emotional scars. Anna
tries to fill the emptiness she feels with boys. (i.e. sex) It is sad and raw and ugly. She is
brave and lonely and I cried for the loss of this young woman's innocence.
Anna does not know who her father is and she is perfectly happy being
her mom’s one and only. Anna turns eight and her Mom starts dressing up, going
out and bringing home a string of boyfriends, husbands, and step-brothers. She
finds herself moving from one new home to another. When the last marriage
fails she becomes a latch-key kid. I felt so sorry for Anna and hated her
mother;'s selfish ways. I hated that this awkward girl
confused abuse and attention from boys as love. Toy was an interesting girlfriend and I loved
the way the girls dressed in vintage clothing. For all that Anna does wrong;
there is a lot she does right and responsibly.
Scheidt does not paint us a pretty picture; she instead
delivers a raw, gritty, dark tale of the darker side of being a teenage girls. It is a painful look at promiscuity and why
some girls are drawn to it. It may cause some readers to look twice at the
school “slut” While this is labeled young adult, it really pushes the limits
and is meant for a much older reader. Sex,
abortion and drug use are all present. I would not want my own daughter's exposed to this without a lot of discussion to follow. The tale is told from Anna’s point of
view, but there is very little dialogue as we are essentially taking a trip
inside her mind as she shares her thoughts, fears and warped reality.
Used for Boys was
unique, dark and gritty. It is definitely meant for older teens and I
would advise parental discussions. Fans
of Beautiful Disaster and character
driven issues will appreciate this unique perspective. I have a feeling this will have mixed reviews from over the top love to downright loathing.
I want to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in
exchange for my unbiased review.
Three rich roast coffee out of five
Labels: contemporary romance, Erica Lorraine Scheidt, St. Martin's Press, Young Adult