Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Uses for Boys (Author Spotlight + Giveaway)

Uses for Boys

Author: 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.

Published January 15th 2013.


I have to say, this book was completely not what I had expected. I had envisioned a sweet contemporary read about a scarred girl who finally understands that not all boys have to be used when she falls in love. Yet, rather than that, what I got was a novel dealing with sensitive issues, namely sex, family and self-worth.

Truthfully speaking, I'm not very comfortable with books about sex. Usually, I'm turned off by Young Adult books discussing these topics (I'm fine with intense kissing, but sex?!), and good Lord, I'm all the more disgusted by any attempts of description. But, one reason why I read on was because this book dealt with these somewhat taboo themes with astounding flair and finesse; so much that I could get past my disgust and presumptions-- which could have clouded my appreciation for the novel-- and truly move onto understanding the main character, Anna.

Oh, Anna. She's lonely, insecure and broken. And this whole novel charts her journey towards finding who she really is and can be, and it couldn't have been a more beautiful metamorphosis!

In a single parent family, Anna craves for love and attention from her mother-- a woman who does not believe in love. The generations of women in their family have always been abandoned by men and this scars both mother and daughter. Anna's mother deals with it by constantly using men for her own means, always moving from one to another. Neglected, Anna learns and starts making boys her family. 

And the most unexpected thing was, I had never imagined myself being able to empathise with Anna, but I could. My mother is honestly my best friend and I love her so much that if I was Anna, I wouldn't know how to function emotionally. Perhaps, that was why I rooted for Anna all the way, wanting her to find the capacity in herself to love and the courage to be someone different from her mother and grandma.

Reading this novel was like reading poetry, it was simple yet moving. And ultimately, when Anna finally found the strength within herself to leave her mother's life in the dust, I felt triumphant for her.

And this novel deserves to be recognized, for it peeled back the prejudice and ignorance that we had when looking at those girls whom we labelled as "sluts", and made us understand what they need were not catcalls or hurtful nicknames, but compassion and love.

Source: From the publisher for review purposes
Via Netgalley.

Song of the Day: At Seventeen by Janis Ian

Author Spotlight

When Erica was a kid all she did was write. She dropped out of high school and attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University where she was surrounded by writers and artists.

But then, in Erica's early twenties, she got a job. She worked hard at that job for 15 years and didn't write a word.

Then this happened: Erica walked into a bookstore and bought two books by Francesca Lia Block. No particular reason, she just liked their covers. Then Erica read everything Francesca wrote. She read all the YA she could. She still does. Erica think's the world that happens between 13 and 17 is everything.

She quit her job. Studied writing. And then spent three and a half years writing Uses for Boys. Now she's working on a new novel and it's like falling down a hole. Writing her first novel taught her nothing about writing the next one.

Official site: www.ericalorraine.com
Twitter: @ericalorraine

Giveaway (Aw, yeah!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I totally agree with your review, it was nothing like I expected. There were aspects I thought the author handled wonderfully and there were parts I could barely read. This is an interesting one to read reviews for. :)

    1. Yes yes yes! I was so surprised when I first read your review for this book, since it sounded like nothing I imagined. Then, I read it myself and it completely overturned my second impression again :) I will have to check out the reviews on Goodreads!

  2. Good review. Thanks for participating.

  3. This book sounds amazing! I don't know how soon I'll get to read it, though. I like books that kind of tear the mold that YA books like to stay in...LOL. Fab review, Sel! (:

    Megan@The Book Babe

    1. This one definitely tears the mould! I haven't read any of this sort :) I'm kind of glad that St. Martin's dared to pick it up ;D

      Thanks, Megan!

  4. I love the Author Spotlight. No matter what happens or how long of a time passes by, a person will still return to doing something he loves. Truly inspiring.

    1. Oh yes, this is the way life works :) It always brings you back to what you love as long as your passion doesn't fade! Glad Erica inspired you ;)

  5. SO excited to read this book--I've been hooked on it since I first heard of it, and I am hoping it lives up to my very high expectations (which it sounds like it will!) Thanks for the great giveaway :)

  6. Replies
    1. Yeah it does! But it's going to be completely different from what you expect ;)

  7. I guess Uses for Boys is an unexpected book for everyone,I still enjoyed it though.Insightful review,Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Great! Glad you enjoyed it :)

      Thanks for commenting too, Nuzaifa!

  8. Thank you for the giveaway! really want to read this book!

    1. Haha, you're welcome :D Glad you want to read it!


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