Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Genre: YA (?), Contemporary
See it at Goodreads
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.
It is rare for me to really dislike a book so much that it leaves such a sour taste in my mouth as Uses For Boys did and I’m sad about this because I really wanted to enjoy the book. I mean, look at the cover for starters. I know that at least for me, I saw that cover and immediately thought “omg, the cute…must have this.” But... behold... the contents left me at a loss for words, and not in a good way.
I must admit that I was a part of the blog tour earlier this month, but out of respect and part of the agreement for the tour, I had to hold off this review because I knew I couldn’t lie about how I felt. I had to be honest--and with most blog tours, I understand that negative/unfavorable reviews can’t be posted until after the tour is over. Haha.
This book started off with some interesting aspects. I enjoyed the writing style at first, which is a bit disjointed at times, with extremely short chapters (and I do enjoy unique, often poetic, styles like this), but then as I wove further along into this journey, I realized this was just perhaps one of the worst things I’d personally read in a while. Okay, I completely get it and see where all the love is coming for this book--but the more I sat back and read it, the more I just grew confused and aggravated myself. The characters were not people I could sympathize with. The story was certainly not something I’d classify as young adult or flash around to a young teenager and scream at them to “read it” because of some all-powerful message because I didn’t see it, and I didn’t feel it. And really? This is supposedly classified as Young Adult? Ages 13+? Not New Adult (ages 17+)? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m seeing everywhere that it’s been categorized YA and I really find this wrong. Don’t think me a prude. I’m all for sex--done tastefully, age appropriate, subtle--in YA, but in Uses For Boys, it went way beyond graphic and uncomfortable. This bothered me immensely.
Uses For Boys was sad. Not sad in a “grab a tissue, there’s tears, and at the end we’ll rejoice at a somewhat happy ending” kind-of way either. For me, this was just all over the place. Once again, I get it. This girl went through a really hard life from the moment she was young--and it just seemed never-ending without any kind of light anywhere to be found. I see where this could be realistic, but damn it was absolutely depressing. The ending didn’t even give me any kind of hope, I’m sad to say. It didn’t teach me anything as the reader. It didn’t make me want to cheer on any of the characters or admire them for the struggles they’d once faced. If anything, it made me breathe a sigh of relief when I turned the last page because I actually finished the book.
I had high hopes for this title, and unfortunately those hopes were shattered beyond the beautiful and adorable cover. It is a good idea that I don’t think was executed well in my opinion, but I’m only a small opinion in a sea of many voices that have loved this book much more than me.
My thanks to St. Martin’s for the opportunity to read Uses For Boys in exchange for my honest review.