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, brining 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 by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a story of breaking down and growing up.
Decent writing, story kinda meh...
This one largely involves the fractured relationship between teenage Anna and her mother, and how that relationship affects how she approaches relationships with men. When Anna is a little girl, she is super close to her mom, a single mother. By the time Anna is 8 though, her mom seems to be around less and less. By the time Anna is 12, her mother flat out tells her, "Your a big girl, feed and put yourself to bed" and then goes on to start a habit of staying out all night, essentially leaving Anna to really and truly raise herself. You can imagine how well that goes.
I admit, I was a little misled by the cover. I was thinking this might be a cute, summer romance type read where a girl goes through a few bad ones before she finds that one right guy, maybe at least for a season and everything ends on a happy note. This SO was not that book lol. This book is dark, gritty and really depressing. And not even in a "yeah I took a lot away from that". I didn't. I found myself a little annoyed at how much Anna seems to float through her life with a blaise, "whatevs" kind of attitude and then wonders how so many dud guys come into her life. The incident on the school bus --- why would you not fight back against that?!
This girl becomes promiscuous as all get out but doesn't seem to learn anything from her bad experiences, not really. I didn't see much character growth at all. Girl didn't seem to have any fight in her spirit! I just wanted to shake her and be like "For the love of God, start giving a damn!"
That being said, there is something about Scheidt's writing that compelled me to finish the book, even if I wasn't overly impressed with it. That and it's a short read to boot, so once you're even a quarter of the way in, it's hard not to think "eh, I'm this far, might as well..."
A word of warning for sensitive readers: This story involves a character being raped, a pregnant teen, abortion, and pot smoking.