Title: Uses for Boys
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Publisher: St. Martin´s Press
Release date: January 15th 2013
Buy on: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository
Read excerpt here
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.
The first thing that attracted me to Uses for Boys was its beautiful cover and after reading its synopsis which suggests that it was a poignant and heartbreaking novel, and I do love this type of books but I like them with a happy ending, and this book doesn´t have a happy ending.. Uses for Boys is a very realistic contemporary novel that shows the dark side of Anna the main character of the story.
This book is told from Anna´s POV and it begins when she´s 7 years old and she tells about the good old days when there were only she and her mother against the world and they lived in a tiny apartment, and as the years pass by, her mother starts looking for a husband and a better life, but from that moment she stops paying attention to Anna. Anna grows alone (even if she´s living in the same house as her mother) and without the affection of her mother, as she grows older, she begins to seek affection elsewhere and she finds it in the boys. And in my very humble opinion she does not use the boys, but it is the other way round; and I don´t know if it´s because Anna is innocent or broken but she begins to confuse the attention she receives from boys with love. And as she grows up she creates her own world where the boys love her and they´re her new family, so she goes from boy to boy looking for love.
In Uses for Boys the chapters are tiny and because is told from Anna´s POV, there isn't almost any dialogue at all, is more about the thoughts of the protagonist, so I didn´t really like the book, because Anna has severe emotional problems. Definitely this book was not for me, I felt as if the chapters were cut, I did not like the ending and I would have liked an epilogue.
This is a realistic contemporary novel, dark and very depressing. My favorite contemporary novels are poignant, and heartbreaking but with a happy ending, so Uses for Boys was not for me.
Something I should mention that although the book is categorized for 13 years old and up, I do not recommend it for teens, is more a mature YA novel because it addresses serious issues, like sex, sexual abuse and abortion.
I want to thank St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for this review copy.