About the book
Uses for Boys is the debut young adult novel by Erica Lorraine Scheidt. The book was published by St. Martin's Griffin on 15th January and the book is 240 pages long.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
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
What I thought
This was one of those books that I didn’t know much about before reading. However, I’m beginning to start reading things unlike what I normally would and by authors I haven’t heard of – giving more authors a chance.
Uses for Boys begins in quite a sad way, with Anna wanting to go back to the days where her mother was so happy to have a little daughter and for that daughter to be everything she ever needed. However, the story quickly changes as Anna grows older and her mother moves on. Quickly, Anna is left on her own when her mum goes from man to man, always being with someone new and relationships never lasting long at all – even if she marries the man. I actually lost count of how many times her mum got remarried throughout this story. I hated the example that Anna’s mum set for her.
Then there is Anna herself. As her mum leaves her alone to go off with random men, she does whatever the hell she wants, which includes bringing boys home to have sex with at the age of 13/ 14. Although teenagers do have sex at a young age, and this is no secret, I do not think that way in which the subject was approached was appropriate at all. If it wasn’t bad enough that Anna was doing these things at such a young age, she doesn’t stop nor think there is anything wrong at all. The whole time we follow Anna in this book, she sleeps with numerous boys and doesn’t really care how she treats them, and is treated by them.
In regards to writing style, Uses for Boys is very simple and if I hadn’t known the age this was aimed at, I would have said it was aimed at a younger audience. This is only in the style of the writing though, not the actual words which are quite shocking if I’m honest. I do feel as though some of the content was used to shock rather than for it to be meaningful in any way. I think the plot could have been something amazing, if done slightly differently and written slightly different. There was definitely promise behind the basic idea but I don’t think it was done to its full potential.
I also don’t think the title was a very good choice either. Uses for Boys makes the book sound quite funny, much like the book How To Keep A Boy As A Pet but it isn’t funny at all. By reading everything previously said in this review, I’m sure you can see what the uses for boys actually are in this book. Poor boys!
This book wasn’t for me at all unfortunately and I wish I could find more that I liked about it.