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January 27, 2013

Review: Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys
Title: Uses For Boys
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: January 15th, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Format: eBook
Pages: 240
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.
Don't judge a book by its cover... or synopsis. That was the lesson learnt in reading Uses For Boys. Are you expecting a short and cute contemporary? well I must warn you, this book is not for you. What started off as an innocent girl who never fit in anywhere, soon dramatically escalated into a girl jumping from one boy to another in a disturbing pace. Uses For Boys, in my opinion, is mislabeled. I do know some people who would appreciate the underlying point the author wanted to make through this book, I know I got it, but it was an uncomfortable experience, especially knowing that young teens might pick this up and read it. 
The writing of this novel is different. It isn't really told from any POVs, first, second, or third, and there is barely any dialogue, which I usually find annoying, but I actually enjoyed here. The writing style of Scheidt is different and unique and I found myself immersed in it and flipping the pages at a fast rate.. then we get to the disturbing over explicit scenes. I do not know why these scenes were needed, what point they were trying to make, reinforce the plot? I honestly wished these scenes were omitted. Also, throughout most of the novel there is this very discomforting feeling towards Anna and her daddy issues. I was also enraged at her mother's behavior; maybe because I could never imagine my mother being anything but selfless towards her children, I couldn't stand her mother's lack of interest towards her only child. 
Even with all of that, my confused feelings towards the book, I still wanted to continue reading it to find out what happens in the end. Anna does mature and grow up towards the end of the novel, salvage whatever was left of her daughter-mother relationship, and finally accept herself for who she is and become confident in her independence and her not needing a guy to define her. I give Scheidt points for keeping me interested through it all. I would recommend it to mature teens and ones who want to read something different. 


  1. Oh, I assumed this would be a cute contemporary read. It seems like a tough read, and I can see why you had mixed feelings. Don't think I'll be picking this one up.

    Thanks for the honest review, Juhina!

  2. Not gonna lie, I've not been looking forward to this book since I've read the synopsis. I just don't think it's for me. At least you gave it a chance. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I agree Anna's mother was hugely frustrating in this book. I felt the same way despite having a few bumps along the way, I was compelled in finding out how this book would end. Lovely review Juhina! :)

  4. I've been hearing great things about this book lately. I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to pick up a copy for myself. I've also been hearing its a tough book not a cute romance too! Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  5. I agree with you, especially the part where the author's writing style is different and unique. I found myself flipping the pages a lot and finished it within 2 days. I also agree how there weren't that much dialogue in it but it still didn't bother me. The explicit scenes did bother me though, and I think that is the reason why I gave it a 3 and 1/2 stars. Nice review!!
    Little Book Star

  6. To be honest this sounded like too much drama from the beginning but I was hoping the reviews would prove me wrong....sadly, none of the reviews compelled me to pick it up. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Great review. I am glad you liked this, sadly this one really wasn't for me. It definitely is for older teens.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  8. This is second not-so-good review about this book. Huh I was so looking forward to this but now I see some of my friends are disappointed. I'm so sorry to heart that. I think I'll skip it. Great review :)

  9. I'm glad that in the end you did like this book. Unfortunately for me it was a DNF. I just didn't like the writing style and couldn't even try to connect with the character. I was very bored with it all. I was really sad too because I wanted to like it. I love gritty contemporaries, but this one wasn't for me.

  10. The crazy reviews I've seen for this have made me so curious. Some people, like yourself, seem to have been able to overcome the discomfort and find some elements to appreciate, but others were just too creeped out. Ultimately, these reviews have made me really curious what reading this book is like, so I'm going to be trying it at some point. O_O

  11. I think it would have been weird to have such an honest book without the explicit scenes. Sometimes, the books that make us feel uncomfortable are the ones that leave us thinking about them after we're through. I know I felt that way with this one.

  12. I recently picked up a book because I thought it would be a cute contemporary. The cover was gorgeous with a girl in a pretty prom dress and the synopsis made it sound like a funny romp and romance. It was completely mislabeled, like this one, and I was completely irritated! Had I known what the book was truly about I probably wouldn't have picked it up and if I did, I would've mentally prepared myself for a dark and frustrating read. I'm sorry you were mislead in this case. I read Jasprit's review and that was enough for me to figure out this book would not be for me. Sorry for the novella here, Juhina! You wrote such a lovely honest and helpful review. :)

  13. So many people have read this and I have read mixed reviews for it. I want to read it and find out what happens to the characters but I kind of don't want to read it due to all the emotional stuff. But, then I want to read it for the cute romance....ahhh..I'm so confused about this one. But, hopefully I'll come around to it. Despite your concerns, I'm glad at least it kept you interested.

    Fabulous review!

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair

  14. For some reason, I'm not completely sold on the book, and your review proved my hunch right. Thanks for the review Juhina.

  15. I had the same feelings about this one, but unfortunately I couldn't finish it. I think there was a powerful message, but it made me way too sad and uncomfortable. Especially when the cover and synopsis made it seem like a cute high school romance. New follower by the way =)