Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt


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.


Published January 15th 2013 by St Martin’s Press  

The Elliott Review:

I expected this book to be sweet and interesting - your average fare for a girl-doesn't-wanna-lose-boy story. My mind was blown by this novel in a lot of different ways. First of all, and I think most notably, the writing in this book is amazing. Every scene is so sensory and emotionally raw, all in the sparest of words. The prose feels so poetic that it almost hurts, all with not one ounce of overwriting or melodrama. The reader experiences the events of Anna's life with her, just the way she feels them... and nothing more.

And onto the events of Anna's life. It's sad and lonely even though it's filled with boys, and she herself feels so much.. yet it's under the surface. The choices she makes are all about breaking that loneliness and boredom inherent her life. Her mom has her own issues, her father is nowhere to be found, and even her one true friend isn't up front with her. The decisions she makes hint at a lack of value that Anna places on herself and her body and her life in general. They are not the pretty type of decisions that one always looks for in the heroine of a story, but they are so realistic in regards to what her life has been like.

I just feel like this book is pure writing without any crap, or even the author's own feelings toward Anna, thrown in. It's art, plain and simple. I don't love or agree with all of the choices Anna makes, but the writing leaves that decision up to me. I'm not sure how things will end up for her, but I feel that this writing is like a snapshot that truly and beautifully depicts the changes in Anna's life and thinking that take place in 240 short pages we get to follow her story. I really wish I could write like this!!!

Young Adult Notes:

A lot of sensitive themes - promiscuity, rape, abortion, substance use, etc.

Source: Thanks to St. Martin's Press for making this title available at NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Elliot! Im not usually in to these kind of books but your review made it sound really good. Will def check it out.