Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Published: January 15th 2013
Genre: Young Adult
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Caution: May contain spoilers
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.
~synopsis from Goodreads
I wanted so much to like this book. I went into it with bright eyes expecting a cute story about a girl who distracts herself with boys. What happened? It wasn’t exactly a cute story. It was a very depressing story.
Anna’s story starts when she’s seven and the beginning progresses to her preteens quickly. We learn of the deteriorating relationship between her and her mother. At thirteen is when the boy distractions start. Let me say it straight up--I thought the boy distractions were going to be of the making out kind. I was wrong--it was the having sex kind. So, it kind of threw me off.
Since Anna’s mom isn’t around and they aren’t close like they used to be, she dives into this world of having sex with boys without a care in the world. These distractions keep her from understanding real life. She eventually drops out of school, she gets a job, she gets an apartment. She grows up too fast. When she meets Sam, she begins to see the more important things. And although there’s some sort of redemption in the end, it’s still barely hanging by a thread because it just happens suddenly.
Uses For Boys was a hard read. Seeing Anna going through all of this made me want to take her under my wings. It’s a realistic story though, because I know there are a lot of young adults who don’t have a good home life and they look to other things to make them feel something. Yet, I just found it sad and depressing. I didn’t hate the book, and I know some people will find it compelling. It wasn’t for me, that’s all.