Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt


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, brining 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 found this book fascinating but also kind of unnerving.

In Uses for Boys, Anna turns to boys to fill the loneliness inside her. When she finally finds a boy who is practically perfect, everything feels perfect, until it isn't.

The first thing that surprised me about this book was the writing style. I expected a traditional YA narrative. Uses for Boys is still done in prose, but the style is very poetic and lyrical. I happen to like that style so it was  a pleasant surprise for me.

You really feel for Anna throughout the book. She's so broken and doesn't know any better because that life is all she's known. I was happy to see some growth in her midway through the book, although her promiscuity did put me off a bit.

This book is heavy on the sex and sexual activity, though, so if you aren't fond of things like that in your YA novel, especially if things that border on sexual abuse bother you, you might not like this book.

The book feels very real, though, and I think a lot of girls will see a little bit of themselves in Anna.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for the e-ARC. Publication date of Uses for Boys is on January 15, 2013.


  1. Anna is interesting.
  2. A lot of girls may be able to relate to Anna, if not because of her experiences, then because of her hopes.
  3. It can help girls stay hopeful.


  1. The writing style may not work well for everyone.

We each carry a dish to the dining room, mashed potatoes with bits of skin; a crusty steak cut in long strips, showing red in the middle; green beans with bell peppers, everything in rough heavy dishes.

  1. You like YA novels that are a little bit more adult.
  2. You like poetic writing styles.
  3. You like dark YA novels.




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