January 18, 2013

Review of Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

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.

add to goodreadsUses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Publication Date:  January 15, 2013
Publisher:  St Martin’s Press
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn NewUses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is definitely one of those books where the cover is not at all what you may think the story is about.  At a glance it looks like it could be one of those contemporary coming of age tales that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy by the end.  Total opposite, my friend…total opposite.  The one emotion that I felt while reading Uses for Boys was…sad.  So very sad for main character, Anna.

One of Anna’s favorite memories is the one where her mother tells her the story of how Anna meant the world to her.  That all her mother wanted was a little girl…and she had Anna.  Memories of how Anna would ask her mother to repeat the story to her over and over again, and each time the love her mother felt for Anna radiated through the words in her story.  Until one day, the story never came again.

Anna’s mother started to do her own thing.  Dated and married over and over again.   Uprooted Anna from their homes to start new, and then to only have that semblance of family ripped away from beneath her, and to watch her mom drift further and further away from her, more and more each day.  Times where her mother would not come home for a day or two, to weeks, to going on trips without her and having Anna fend for herself.

And while Anna gets older, incidences that should not be accepted and feel somewhat normal are happening to Anna.  A different boy, a different memory.  Anna is just finding out where exactly she fits in this world, and where she belongs.  With feelings of being used and discarded continuously, we witness Anna travelling down a dangerous road, where I feel like she’s trying to find her own happy ever after.

With much context about drug use and sex, Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a more mature read due to its mature subject matter.  I couldn’t help but get swept up in this story of loneliness and the need to feel loved.  Author, Erica Lorraine Scheidt, opens up the readers eyes to a life that happens behind closed doors.  Where there are individuals who only dream of the perfect family and family moments, but are instead living in the reality of being alone, wandering around to find someone(s) who will accept them and love them, and perhaps give them what they only dream of…a family, a life to want to come home to every day.

I, personally, found it difficult to read the different encounters that Anna comes across…especially at such a young age.  Her need to feel a loving touch, which only causes her to find that kind of touch in the wrong places and, a lot of the time, from the wrong people.  I could feel Anna’s loneliness in my heart, and read the book in one sitting with my mouth agape, shaking my head, wishing that she would meet someone to help fill this void that Anna is missing inside.

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Schedit is a quick read, but one that will remain in your mind long after you’ve finished. Thank goodness Gabby passed on this one and I picked it up to review.  Absolutely not a read for my 14 year old.

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.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

1 Comment

  1. Sophia Rose

    This does sound like the kind of story that would stick with one. I think that I’d have to be in the right mood to read it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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