Some YA books are raw and shocking in their sincerity. Some YA books hit too close to home. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Schneidt is one such book. Anna is only twelve years old when we meet her, and she is being cast aside by her mother who is desperate for male attention and affection and nice things. Anna follows in her mother’s footsteps of putting herself out there for male attention, only to find herself cast aside way too often. She does everything you are desperately screaming at her not to do: let him in, drop out, say yes, say no, not say anything, let her in.
Anna finally meets a nice boy. But she sees the way his mother looks at her, and fears that her own little girl will see Anna’s lifestyle as romantic and not what it really is: dangerous, lonely, and sad. Anna thinks she is all alone in the world, has always felt that way, but surprisingly a boy is the one who helps her realize that she is wrong, that she is loved.
This will be a difficult book to recommend. It is not light reading. A grown woman will shed tears. A teen girl may as well, or she will pull her friend closer because she just might become Anna if she isn’t hugged enough. This is a quick, solid, realistic read.
Thanks to the publisher Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press for sending me a free copy! I didn’t even ask for it!