Uses For Boys
by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: ARC from Around the World ARC tours in exchange for an honest review.
Expected Publication: 01.15.13
Midnight Minute: Anna’s a latch key kid following her mom’s footsteps when it comes to seeking out male attention.
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.
~Anna and her mom were close until their relationship wasn’t enough. Her mother’s pursuit of male affection leaves Anna alone and vulnerable.
~If you’re a fan of books by Ellen Hopkins or recent Elizabeth Scott novels, this book is right up your alley. Despite the cute cover, the book is a lot more on the bleak side. You will not get the warm fuzzies that the fairy lights on the cover seem to promise.
~I love the term Anna uses to describe her happier childhood memories, she calls them “the-tell-me-again-times”.
~Anna’s mom isn’t an all out bad mom, but she’s very concerned with her own happiness. I strongly believe that the best parents are those who are happy with themselves, that filters down to their kids, but behaving in such a way as to ignore your children in the pursuit of your own happiness is worse kind of selfishness. There are so many ways to damage kids, it’s a wonder any of us turn out functional!
~Anna’s mom is continously searching outside herself for completion and happiness, which explains how everything she gets is never enough. Anna’s similar, but she craves emotional connection more than material comfort and security.
~I don’t read a lot of books and think about songs that would fit, but every once and awhile a book or character will remind me of a particular song. Despite the fact that I fail to see the attraction that John Mayer holds for gorgeous, famous women, his song ‘Daughters’ really goes well with this book. Please, do not use this as an endorsement of John Mayer. He has some good songs, but he always looks drugged. Always. He can’t always be stoned, can he?
~Anna is labeled by the girls in school as a slut and whore, even before she’s sexually active. I don’t know why it is we tear one another down with these labels, and how just one act of sexual nature can transfer a girl into a full blown slut. It’s disturbing, and how many girls like Anna are just looking for love, for family?
~Sad, bad things happen in this novel because Anna hasn’t learned the difference between love and sex and positive vs. negative attention, due to the fact that her mom doesn’t seem to understand them either and is never around.
~Anna does grow and learn in this novel, and while she makes a lot of mistakes and is used and abused by others along the way, she begins to know and love herself. So many times, YA heroines are practically perfect, they aren’t high school drop outs, they are usually rescued by one bad guy by the good guy. Anna has to rescue herself in this book, and she has limited tools to do this.
~I didn’t like this book, the subject matter was too dark and dreary for that, but it was a compelling read. It’s a book that reminds me of how lucky I am, and to be more careful about the labels we assign to people.
Anna’s mom– puts the emphasis on trying to hook a man, ignores her very needy daughter.
Nancy Baxter– the first real friend of Anna’s- she has the life Anna craves.
Toy– Anna’s best friend.
Desmond Dreyfus– the first boy
Joey Sugimoto– the first boyfriend
Todd– I don’t know what to say about him.
Josh– the first serious boyfriend
Some Random Boys
Sam– a nice boy
Uses for Boys was not what I was expecting, but it’s still a realistic portrait of what happens to young girls who don’t know and aren’t taught their own self-worth. Things happen to Anna that are not okay, and she doesn’t have the self-esteem to even recognize how wrong they are. Anna makes a lot of choices that I don’t agree with, but they make sense in the context of her life. I might not have liked Anna’s story, but it’s going to staying with me for a long time.
Erica Lorraine Scheidt — Website |EricaLorraine
Uses for Boys gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
*Read in 2012