Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys
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!

I read this one a while ago courtesy of NetGalley but held the review back until the book was published! It was a little different from my usual 'style' of book and wasn't quite what I was expecting.

What I loved:
  • Anna- For a girl given a very unstable life Anna was so resilient. Her lack of parental control and questionable friendships did lead to some ill advised decisions but she found a way to handle her life as best she could. I liked how determined she was to work and make a good life for herself. I loved her relationship with Sam, it was beautifully innocent and his family were so welcoming! I loved her realisations that people make their own lives regardless of boys, family or friends people have to decide to take control and make themselves happy. I thought it was a really important and poignant lesson and showed what Anna had learnt from her unstable beginnings. Anna made a good main character because she was flawed and she did make stupid choices at times but I loved how she evolved from a confused little girl to a confident resilient woman.
  • Plot- The plot followed Anna throughout her life as she struggled to figure out how to relate to boys, friends and her mum.It was bluntly realistic. Anna's mum, like a lot of women, defined herself by the men in her life and the impact this had on Anna's life was very interesting! I loved all the minor character roles such as Nancy, the step brothers, and Angel, they fitted into the plot well, seamlessly moving Anna's story on. I liked that Anna's story was littered with poor decisions and mistakes but none of these things 'runied' her life, they spurred her on. The plot was a unique take on several 'standard' ideas and worked well with all the characters.
What I didn't love as much:
  • Toy- There was so much more to her story that we never learnt! Her boyfriends and her life needed more explanation especially as she was Anna's best friend! I also just did not warm to her at all!
  • Lack of Emotion- I didn't like the way the book seemed to exclude any real emotion. Anna was quite detached so at times it read quite bluntly even things such as Toy's obvious issues didn't attract an emotive response!

This wasn't my usual type of book but I found it to be very poignant and I  did enjoy it!

Have you read Uses for Boys?
Much Love!

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