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.
Love is a complicated feeling to understand. The way I view it, love has many definitions and many different feelings for different people: friends, family, and a significant other. Being in love is something that people crave, even dream about. Anna had grown up in a world where loneliness and love were two sides of the same coin. One minute her life was just the love between her and her mother, the next was her stuck in that large house watching her mother come and go with men left and right. She was always trying to fill the holes that the loneliness ate away at, and then the time of boys came and she felt that she found the perfect way to fill up those holes (no pun intended, but it’s actually intended because sex). Anna is the girl that everyone whispers about in the hallways with condescending tones, lashing the world slut around like it was burned into her skin. But you never really know who someone is or what they’re past is like.
For a realistic fiction, Anna’s story couldn’t get more real. Through all the sad, unfortunate events that she’d gone through, I know people who commit to the entire basis of love = sex, where in order to be happy they need to have that physical attribute thrown in there. Sex, for teenagers, is becoming more of a common thing, especially for the younger crowd. Teens always tend to say that they know when they’re in love.
Final Summation:The writing style consisted of short chapters that usually never lasted more than a page which made this novel a fairly quick read. The end did brighten up my feelings for this novel. All in all, I enjoyed Uses for Boys. It gives thought to love and makes you wish for the best to happen to Anna.
First Line: In the happy times, in the tell-me-again times, when I’m seven and there are no stepbrothers and it’s before the stepfathers, my mom lets me sleep in her bed.
Downtown the sin is back behind the bridge and there are only a few boys left, skating back and forth on the concrete ramp, dreamy and stoned. I meet a boy named Josh and he and Angel and I sit close together, our shoulders touching. We cup the end of the pipe for each other, sheltering the flame from the wind. I’m trying to describe the dream. I’ve had it ever since I can remember and it’s familiar, but when I try to describe it, it breaks apart. The wind picks up and I shiver. I’m ready to give up because I can’t make it sound right.
I stare at the changing sky and try again.
“I’m far from the world and I see it like a brightly lit ball in the distance. They sky behind is mostly gray. It starts in silence, but I can see the people. Everyone is in a hurry. They’re racing around the globe. They each hold a thread, like a bit of string, and it unravels, covering the planet. The buzzing starts. The buzzing gets faster and louder. They’re all racing to one spot on the earth. I’m outside of it and I can see everything. I can see every person in the world racing to a single spot on the earth. The buzzing is all I can hear. It gets so I can’t take it. Then I wake up.”
Angel’s sitting on my left.
“You’re a stoner,” she says. But Josh puts his arm around me.
“I know that feeling,” he says. “It’s like everything is standing still, but underneath it’s all frantic and rushed.”
I’m surprised and look at Josh full in the face. The boys are skating lazy figure eights and the sky is streaky with bits of light and stars showing through. I lean against him as he lights a cigarette and I feel good. Really good.
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.
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.