Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book #1 of my 2013 Debut Author Challenge.
Uses For Boys is far from a teen romance. It explores the psychology of teenaged Anna who has no father, an absent mother, and a boy-crazy best friend. With no real romantic model in her life, she falls into a dangerous pattern of substituting love for sex.
I was excited to read this book as soon as I heard about it and it was the first book I ordered when I came home for the summer. It's not quite what I expected, though. I think I built up too much from the summary, which I know isn't Scheidt's fault. I was expecting a psychological exploration of Anna's relationship with her sexual partners. Really, this book is about her relationships with her mother and Toy.
The narration is definitely the story's strong point. It's minimalist, yet poetic, cutting to the core of her thoughts instead of weighing the reader down with description. The story starts with her as a child and always holds that childish tone, which I enjoyed because it always hearkened back to the absence of her mom and how that affects her growing up.
Toy was a great character, too. Anna grows up alongside this friend who always has boys chasing after her and constantly asks, why isn't my life like Toy's? (view spoiler)[I thought this was annoying and corny for a good chunk of the story, but when it was revealed that Toy had made it all up, I was in LOVE with this subplot! (hide spoiler)] Having another girl opposite Anna made her far more interesting to me.
Unfortunately, I thought the story's weakness was her interaction with the boys. There are some hard scenes, including a rape that was hard to read, but as a whole, her lifestyle didn't shock me, nor did it strike me as extremely promiscuous. The relationships (specifically, her need for them) were glazed over and even the "good guy" at the end didn't seem all that monumental.
There were some good characters and a great writing style, but not the kind of story I was expecting. I'd chalk this up to a good premise with shaky execution.
View all my reviews