Release Date: January 15th, 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Details: 240 pages, paperback
Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary
Source: NetGalley (Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press!)
Find it: Amazon || Goodreads
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.
Uses for Boys has a very misleading cover. This isn't a cute fluffy contemporary about a girl who "uses" boys in high school. No. No no no. This is the very opposite of that! Uses for Boys is a much darker and mature read. It deals with excessive drug use and there are many many scenes with sex or that talk of sex so please keep that in mind when you pick up this book. The writing is a little bit different. Sort of like Love and Other Perishable Items where it's not verse but it's not really told my a point of view either.
Anna lives a very sad life. My heart broke for her so many times. It starts off with her and her mom, her mom telling her that once she had Anna she had "everything" but now Anna is living on her own, in the big house her mom got from yet another ex husband. She spends her days after school by herself, hardly seeing her mother except for when she comes home to change only to leave again. And I couldn't understand how her mother could care so less for her own daughter. The only thing she had. But because of it, Anna learns how to navigate through the hardest time of her life by herself. And she doesn't always make the right choices. But without a parental guardian how can you? She understands what's going on, but she doesn't understand. Not until she's older. I felt for Anna, she had no one and nothing but an empty house and all she wanted was a friend. Didn't her mom see that by leaving her alone, she was doing to Anna what was done to her?
I didn't really understand Anna's best friend Toy. She was sort of off. I mean, you see her as Anna see's her... always talking about herself, about boys, telling stories about her life. But you don't really get to know her. I don't think Anna really knew her either. Then there's Sam, who's suppose to "change it all around" but I felt like you didn't really know him either. Maybe it's just the writing style that makes me feel unattached to everyone but Anna. I didn't know much about Sam and I didn't really get him.
While Uses for Boys does have an incredibly misleading cover, the title is perfect for the story. I think this will be a book that a lot of people may want their kids to stay away from but besides the parents leaving you aspect, it's things that are real. That happen growing up and I think it's important to expose teens to stories like these so that when it comes to them, they can learn to make the right choices.