Saturday, February 2, 2013

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys
by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Nook, 189 pages
Published: January 15, 2013
By: St. Martin's Press
Source: Purchased

Goodreads Summary:

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.

My Thoughts:

Anna grows up with a single mother that is never there for her.  Her mother goes out every night, sometimes several days and nights at one time, leaving Anna all alone.  Anna is expected to be responsible for herself at a young age.  She makes herself dinner every night, wakes herself up to go to school, and takes the bus home just to arrive to an empty house day after day.  Anna is lonely and desperately wants her mother's love and attention.  However, Anna's mother's priorities consist of dating a variety of men, getting married and divorced several times, and preserving her youth and looks.  After each divorce, she is constantly on the prowl to snag a new man.  All that Anna wants is someone to love her and pay attention to her.  She becomes best friends with Toy an eccentric young girl who lives in her head and is always inventing stories.  Anna and Toy are constantly competing with one another over who has the better boyfriend and are jealous and envious of one another throughout the story.  Toy doesn't really listen to Anna's feelings and stories, because she is always too busy talking about herself.  Toy is there for Anna and comforts her only when she is at her lowest.  However, they are a lot a like because they both live lonely lives with absentee fathers, and mother's.  Anna goes through many dysfuntional relations with a variety of boys until she meets Sam.  Anna realizes quickly that Sam is different from any guy she has ever known.  She also becomes enamored with Sam's family, and they her, and is envious that her boyfriend has a warm and nurturing relationship with his parents and siblings, something that she has always desired.  

I was thoroughly dissapointed with Uses for Boys.  I preordered it because I loved both the book cover and the synopsis of the story.  Who knows, maybe my expectations were too high.  I just know that as I began reading, I thought to myself, "this story is going to be good."  However, as the story progressed, it dragged.  I  thought, "Ok, this story is going to get better."  Well, no such luck.  It never did get better.  I was frustrated because Anna did not grow as a character.  She made the same mistakes continuously and did not learn from them.  The story was very redondent and static.  It was like the movie groundhog Day where the same events take place over and over again.  Just change the guys name and looks and you have the same circumstances and story repeating itself time and time again.  Also, this story was emotionally draining, dark, and depressing.  I kept waiting to see some form of hope to enter the character's life.  However, Anna's life just went downhill, and she didn't understand why.  The reason being that she did not look at her own actions and make the necessary changes. I disliked the way the story ended.   It was unimpressive, 
and I still had questions that were never addressed.

Yes, there were a few aspects of the story that I enjoyed.  I did get a clear picture of the characters and the plot events.  The author's writing style was easy to read, and the story took off at a fast pace.  It was very realistic of the real world and not sugar coated in any way.  I did connect with Anna's emotions.  So much that I felt physically ill while reading this book, but continued reading, hopeful that Anna's life would improve, and her mother would mature, and realize what is important in life.

 Uses for Boys was an okay story.  It was a mediocre read.  It would not be my first choice when selecting a story to get lost in.  I would suggest to read this story if you can borrow it from the library or from a friend, and if you have nothing else to read at the moment.  Do not read this book if you are looking for a romantic read, with happiness, hope, and a HEA.  I give, Uses for Boys 3 stars.

My Favorite Quotes:  

"I don't want this house.  I want to go back to the tell-me-again times when I slept in her bed and we were everything together.  When I was everything to her.  Everything she needed." (Nook, 17)

"Toy and my mom haven't abandoned me, I think.  They need me.  You're strong, Sam's mom had said.  You can do anything.  So strong, my mom had said."  (Nook, 183) 

"They're my family.  And the stories we tell ourselves are not the only stories.  Our story, I think, could start here." (Nook, 184) 

About the Author:
When I was a kid all I did was write. I dropped out of high school and attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University where I was surrounded by writers and artists.

But then, in my early twenties, I got a job. I worked hard at that job for 15 years and didn't write a word.

Then this happened: I walked into a bookstore and bought two books by Francesca Lia Block. No particular reason, I just liked their covers. Then I read everything she wrote. I read all the YA I could. I still do. I think the world that happens between 13 and 17 is everything.

I quit my job. I studied writing. I spent three and a half years writing Uses for Boys. Now I'm working on a new novel and it's like falling down a hole. Writing my first novel taught me nothing about writing the next one.

Now I write. I live with my girlfriend and her daughter and when they come home we make dinner and walk the dog and dance around the kitchen and the next day I get up and I write.

                                        Escape in a book,


  1. I was really excited when I got a while back, and like you was really disappointed. It wasn't I thought it was and is really for older teenagers. :(

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    1. Hi Jenea, thanks for stopping by! I hate when you look forward to a book, and it ends up not being what you had hoped for :(

  2. First, I love your bloglayout !!! It's so damn cute and I love the colors! You and Giselle did an fantastic job here!

    Oh and .. I am happy you liked it.. I didn't like it at all was I was utterly disturbed by most of the scenes.. I just had hoped for a cute story with hope and redemption and sadly it was not what I found!

    1. Thank you Danny! I LOVE Bewitched Bookworms :) Actually, I didn't like the story :( I thought it was okay. There were a lot of things I disliked, and only a few things that I liked. My rating scale for 3 means it was okay.

  3. Sorry to hear this one fell short for you - that seems to be the popular opinion with this one...


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