Title: Uses for BoysAnna 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.
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release date: January 15, 2013
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.
It all started when she was just a kid. It was just Anna and her mother, and no one else mattered. But as she got older, her mom began slipping away, instead slipping into the hands of man after different man. On the verge of adolescence, Anna then finds herself surrounded by boys that, to her discovery, can fill that void. Like mother, like daughter, after all. She's barely a teenager and she's had more experience than your average. She's a romantic, chasing after the perfect story to make her own harsh reality go away. She meets Toy, a girl whose stories of love make Anna try harder. But does she really know Toy? This book follows Anna as she discovers boys, love, family, and her experiences in losing it all just like that.
Interesting premise, but wow, was I ever disappointed. I wanted to like this book, I really did. But I literally spent most of my time reading it just because I wanted to finish it. I hate when I have to struggle to read through something, like in the back of my head I kept telling myself, "keep reading, maybe something epic will happen"... and nothing did.
I think my biggest problem with this book was the writing style. I didn't quite get it. I've read my share of contemporary books; very minimal in narration, but the heart was there. I didn't feel that with this book. The story was very disjointed and incomplete most of the time. There was no proper transition between chapters and even sentences. It was just so awkward. Anna goes through a lot in the early stages of the book, but she doesn't connect well. It's like she just narrates the events that happen, not so much how she feels. So there's a lack of connection with readers. The other characters weren't much better; her mom was never around, and her would-be best friend Toy was just as unlikeable as Anna. Then there were the titular "boys"... I can't even remember their names, save for one. Sam. In fairness, he was the most interesting. But that doesn't make much difference because even he was pretty bland.
The only part that I felt gave it a little redemption was when she and Sam met and they started up a relationship -- a real relationship. Anna spent more and more time with his family for dinner, they accepted her, they liked her. I actually found myself enjoying the fact that she finally found a family that she could spend time with, especially after having her own be practically non-existent. Then it got a little weird when she started wishing that she... was her boyfriend... and that his family was her family...? Yeah. This is the reason for my remaining stars in my rating; this, and the fact that I kept reading-- I saw the potential but I came out of the other end with very little satisfaction. Then after that, some stuff went down and she was back to the unlikeable Anna that I spent the last 70% of the book trying and failing to understand. I understood that she had issues, yes, and she wanted to be loved so she went out and found that in the male species, but maybe if the story was fleshed out a little more, I could feel more sympathy for Anna. I felt none at all.
The ending was also really random. It just sort of ended. I was honestly expecting another chapter, but it just stopped! It's like the final episode of The Sopranos. Either I'm just too shallow to understand that it was supposed to mean something really deep and meaningful, or it's just that bad. I thought it was a glitch in my eReader or in the file I was sent; I went back and forth between that last page and the acknowledgements and was all, "where's the next chapter?" but that was it!
Pretty cover, though.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with the ARC.
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