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Title: Uses for Boys
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Release Date: January 15th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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 has been almost an hour since I finished reading Uses for Boys but I still have mixed feelings about it, and you might be thinking that's not a good sign at all—let me tell you: it's good and bad.
At first, I thought Anna was strong, being able to cope with an absentee mother and one stepfather after another with just the memory of what she called the "tell-me-again times" with her mom. Well, that was until she discovered that if she let boys use her for their satisfaction, she can use them to forget about everything that she didn't have, too. Her personality and decision-making just went downhill from there.
I'm sure I'm not alone in hating whiners, and that's what, I think, will break this book for most people. Thank heavens Anna's complaining wasn't make-a-scene "I hate my life!" but more like whisper-in-a-corner "I want someone else's life". Even then, I believe she could've not let her need for love ruin her future; she disappointed me greatly while making me pity her, as well.
With boys who didn't really care about her and a questionable friendship with Toy, a girl she met while shopping, she knew well enough not to expect anything when she met Sam, but he soon proved her wrong because he does care. He teaches her what it's like to love and be loved, and even introduces her to the thing she knows least of: family. Their romance, although presented pretty late into the story, was as real as it could get with Anna's situation, and I really liked them together.
With a gratifying ending added to the sometimes confusing but constantly lyrical writing, Uses for Boys turned out to be very different from what I thought it would be. It may not be for everyone, but I can assure you that it's worth the try.
MY FAVORITE PART was when Sam introduced Anna to his family on their first date.
RATING:(cover from Goodreads.com)
About the author:
When Erica was a kid all she did was write. She dropped out of high school and attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University where she was surrounded by writers and artists.
But then, in Erica's early twenties, she got a job. She worked hard at that job for 15 years and didn't write a word.
Then this happened: Erica walked into a bookstore and bought two books by Francesca Lia Block. No particular reason, she just liked their covers. Then Erica read everything Francesca wrote. She read all the YA she could. She still does. Erica think's the world that happens between 13 and 17 is everything.
She quit her job. Studied writing. And then spent three and a half years writing Uses for Boys. Now she's working on a new novel and it's like falling down a hole. Writing her first novel taught her nothing about writing the next one.
I also had the chance to post my own choice of excerpt, and this one below is a scene that I felt has a good message and, at the same time, is un-spoiler-y and shows the general feel of the book. Note that this excerpt is from an ARC.
And now for the giveaway!