Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

When Anna is little her mother tells her that she is the whole world to her.... until she doesn't anymore.  Anna's mother tells her that she had nothing until she had Anna, but then she goes off and tries to fill her life with men.  One after the other.  Until eventually Anna is left pretty much all alone.  At some point, to end her own lonely existence, Anna seeks the company of boys.  Most of the time these relationships are mistakes and Anna just ends up being hurt and alone once again.  Then she meets a girl named Toy, who shares her love for vintage fashion and talks about a love and romance that Anna only dreams of having.  Anna decides to leave it all behind and move to the city to try to find her own happiness in life, but it isn't until she meets someone who truly shows her what family is all about that she can understand why she is the way she is.
This is a gritty book that goes to some dark places and I totally respect the author for doing it.  This kind of content isn't easy to read and I'm sure it wasn't easy to write, but it needs to be out there.  I don't think I've ever read a book so honest and holding nothing back without feeling like it was trying too hard to shock.  This book had reasons for the disturbing parts, they weren't just thrown in there to make you feel uncomfortable.
Because Anna's mother is completely absentee, she is always on this search for family.  She wants these boys to make her feel like she did when her mom told her she was everything to her.  It's not the sex, it's the closeness she wants.  Her loneliness just permeated throughout this book so much that I just wanted to jump in and save her myself! 
Anna to me was this character that at first I wasn't sure about, but then I totally GOT her.  I know what it feels like to think that being with this guy is somehow going to fix something in you.  It sounds stupid when you say it out loud, but in the moment it feels possible.
It really made me think about why we as people have this need to fill voids with other people or substances.  How a shitty mom can really ruin you life if you let it and how there are people who come from great homes who still feel empty for some reason.  I love it when a book makes me think about life like that. 
I DEFINITELY wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 18 as some scenes are graphic and the content is just not for the young.
OVERALL: This is an issues book.  A good one, but if you don't like troubled teens with issues, this will not be for you.  If you like books that take you somewhere you're not quite comfortable (but not too far), you'll love this.  This book got me.  The writing is beautiful and Anna was just this sad girl who wanted someone to hold her... LOVED IT!

My Rating:

Date Published: 1/15/2013
How I got this book: Thanks to NetGalley & St. Martin's Press!


  1. Sounds amazing... like a sad story with a beautiful message... thanks for the review.

  2. I just scrolled past everything...since I just bought this and am going to read it soon. I will look at this after I write my review!

    Audrey @ Ink and Page

  3. The cover seems so sweet with the twinkling lights- didn't know it was a grittier read! Sounds like a sad yet lovely story.

  4. I have seen so many mixed reviews for this book that I'm not sure what I want to do!!! Great review and glad you enjoyed!