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’m having a hard time putting my feelings for this book into words. It was not an easy read. It’s sad, depressing and leaves you feeling helpless. It takes you through a dark tunnel and for a long time there was no light, no hope. But it’s engaging and captivating. I know that some girls will be able to relate to it and it may help them. The cover actually fooled me, I thought it was going to be a light, fluffy read. It was not what I was expecting.
Anna is a girl that we don’t like to talk about. A girl who had a tough life, who was abandoned by her father, whose mother didn’t take care of her. Anna is a girl who made wrong decisions, who believed love and sex to be the same, who never accepted reality and what it brought. And us not talking, maybe that’s the problem. Loneliness is a demon and that’s the worse there is. People need each other and love. No child should grow up without love. Anna would go to boys looking for affection because she didn’t find it at home. It makes sense. But not all boys she went to, were good or right for her. Sometimes the boys used her, she is filling a void but she is still alone.
I wanted to talk to her, to tell her things to help her because she was alone and the world is not an easy place. I was angry at her mother, yes, I see that she was going through her own issues but then she is still a mom and she should have been there for her daughter. I’m furious at Todd and the fact that Anna never talked about it to anyone. It also bothers me that he can just walk on with his life after doing something like that. I’m confused because I don’t understand what Toy brought to the story. I’m happy that she found Sam and I’m hopeful for her future. See the amount of things this book made me feel.
This book is not for everyone. The writing style, while I liked it, I just feel that it wasn’t right for the book. I had a hard time accepting certain things but the characters are realistic and her story is gritty and honest. I am not very happy with the ending and there were times when I wasn’t sure what was the point of the whole book. I saw things but there is a lack of depth and I couldn’t feel sympathy for Anna. So my feelings are a little mixed but I think you should give it a try.
Goodreads || Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam’s house is everything I wanted, but didn’t know to want.
“I’m home,” he calls, pushing open the heavy wooden door with me close behind. Past him, worn hardwood floors stretch through archways into a patchwork of deeply colored rags. The house thrums with the smell of roasting meat, the murmur of voices, rustling movement. There are thick curtains in muted patterns draping the windows and sheltering Sam’s family from the city outside.
I want to wrap myself in this house like a blanket.
Instinctively I take Sam’s hand and then, just as quickly, I drop it. He keeps walking and I’m still in the entry, fixed in front of a wall of framed family pictures. Dozens of them: here is Sam and a similarly featured little sister; a solemn and masculine brother; and the mother, casual, relaxed and happy. Here is a bookish bearded father. Black-and-white. Color. The house is warm and I feel flushed. This home pulses with their shared life. I don’t belong here. I turn to leave, but Sam puts his hand against my back.
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.