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Review/Discussion: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt Publication Date: January 15, 2013 Publisher: St Martin’s Press Pages: 240 Target audience: Mature Young Adult Keywords: sexual relationships, parent relationship examples, effects of neglect Format read: ARC downloaded from NetGalley (Thank you!) Summary: Anna’s mom has set a poor example for her by continuously hopping from one relationship […]

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September 30, 2014 - 12:01 am

Fifteen Must-Read Tough Subject Books - […] Uses for Boys — language + actual way it was written, but also sexually explicit, borderline uncomfortable for me — sex isn’t described as overly poetic and is raw and often very in-your-face […]

January 29, 2013 - 4:11 am

Jasmine Rose - I haven’t read this and I don’t really intend to, but I did find your post really interesting (not in a bad way, promise.)

Something you mentioned at the end kind of made me think. Everyone always gets disgruntled when a girl finds happiness through a boy, but I think that needs to be written sometimes because it does happen. Very rarely is it healthy, but it does happen.
Since my (older by a couple years) sister was 15 (she’s almost 22 now) she hasn’t spent more than a month of her life not fixating on a guy. Now, this certainly isn’t healthy. Just recently it lead to a marriage that ended after 2 months. She was with another guy within weeks. I wish she would take the time to just love herself and I’m hoping one day she’ll get to that point.

There are, however, healthy cases as well. I’ve always had pretty happy with myself and who I am, but when I started dating my husband he really brought it out in me more. He’s helped me grow into the person I am today and he’s still helping me grow. There were definitely times when I relied on him totally for my happiness, but over time I realized that /I/ need to make me happy first and foremost.

Sorry for the long-winded comment 😛

January 28, 2013 - 11:08 am

April Books & Wine - I read Uses For Boys and fell into the MEH camp. Like, for me personally, it was a little much — like I get that sex can be gross, but I don’t know, it just was too much. And far from being sex positive, I felt like it was kind of the opposite — like look at all the bad things that will happen if you do ‘it’ – Anna loses her friends and drops out of school.


Going back to your question — I kind of think that Anna totally did follow in her mom’s footsteps, I don’t know that she was doomed or anything, but like even in the end she was still looking for a dude’s approval (Sam) and while he’s a good guy and all, I still sort of felt like it was just like her mom to seek validation.

Plus, okay even thinking more about this, I am getting heated up because the insinuation that if one doesn’t have a male parent, one will not turn out okay gets me mad. Like, I’m not sure that I believe that. And I know, I know anecdotal evidence does not mean a thing, but I know a ton of people who had single parents and they turned out thriving and fine and well adjusted. It just, ugh, it annoys me. And while I am not sure that’s what the author was driving it, that seems kind of like an underlying message.

January 25, 2013 - 6:10 am

Lori - This is a very thought provoking book and I think you said everything so well. I really enjoyed the story. I knew a lot of girls that turned to sex and boys as a way of escaping something and this was the first time I’ve ever come across a YA book about it. I also really loved the writing style. It was so unique and like you said, it worked!

January 24, 2013 - 9:46 pm

Bookworm1858 - This book was so hard for me to read precisely because of those decisions…and the fact that I felt so distanced from Anna-I had no idea why she chose to make the decisions she did because they are so far from my own life experience.

January 24, 2013 - 1:49 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - I LOVED this book, so much, and part of that for me was Scheidt’s writing style. Scheidt has a wonderfully blunt, choppy, flowy style that I connect to as a reader, speaker, and blogger. I am already excited for whatever her next writing venture will be because I really enjoy writing like that. (My mind thinks in that same style and format.)

I also loved this story a lot, and I think that is really special considering I’m extremely new to the YA contemporary scene. This is one of the heaviest ‘issues’ books I’ve read, and I think Anna is one of the most unique voices out there. Unfortunately, she represents a very real part of the demographic, and I think this author captured that so well. I know this because of my job experience as a OB/GYN/L&D nurse. That is not a spoiler for the book, for those who may not have read it yet – it is merely an observation from a women’s health perspective and a remark on my career and experiences. I also understand from both the standpoint of a person who has read the book and cringed AND as a women’s health nurse that works with EXACTLY this population – I understand why lots of people will probably not like this book. It’s hard to read and to know stuff like this.

Also from my personal experience, I have thankfully not followed in my parents’ footsteps. I am not Anna and have never had the experiences of Anna – but I can certainly understand that Anna felt a void. I do not understand her actions – why she let the behavior on the bus begin and the snowballing from there, like you mention – but I do believe that in the absence of good parenting, *sometimes* all it takes is a little bit of nurturing from other places – teachers, friends’ parents, etc – to entirely change a person’s life or perspective. To CHANGE a WHOLE, ENTIRE life, which is basically changing a generation or a legacy. I am a testament to that. I totally agree that it would be great to re-visit future Anna, like Ginger suggests. I would love to know that the hope I felt at the end of the book turned into something positive for her character.

Also, I think it is super cool when one book can make so many different people think so many different things. Great post, Magan.

January 24, 2013 - 10:34 am

Alexa Y. - I just finished reading this last Sunday, and I must say, the subject matter really got me thinking as well. It’s interesting to consider how Anna’s lack of a mother’s influence in her life, and the lack of a father might have affected her outlook on her own life and relationships. That might have played a part, but I also think that a lot of what Anna did go through was something that she chose without thinking too much about it and going on her impulses.

Your post has got me thinking. I’ll probably come back later with an even more coherent response.

January 24, 2013 - 8:34 am

Ginger @ GReads! - This book has become such a hot topic to discuss. I think it’s a nod to the author for creating literature that gets people talking, don’t you? I know you and I have discussed this in thorough detail, so I won’t rehash everything. But from reading your questions above, it made me consider this… do you think sometimes people (especially young, impressionable people) make bad/wrong decisions just because? Like maybe there isn’t some huge meaning behind.. sometimes those decisions are just made & thus it becomes a catalyst for where the rest of their life takes them? I would like to revisit Anna several years down the road & hear her thoughts on how she views her childhood/teenage years. I have a feeling it would be very different. At least I hope so.

Magan: Return to Me by Justina Chen

Return to Me by Justina Chen Publication Date: January 15, 2013 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Pages: 352 Target audience: Young Adult Keywords: Divorce, College, Sixth Sense, Long-Distance Relationships Format read: ARC received at ALA Summary: Rebecca is on the brink of beginning her architectural education at Columbia; her parents have packed up their […]

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April 14, 2016 - 6:01 am

Return To Me by Justina Chen | Audiobook Review - […] Rather Be Reading – “sadly wasn’t a hit for me” […]

January 30, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Estelle's Shelve It: 1/20/2013 - […] bookish (sorta?) birthday list. A review of Take Me There by Carolee Dean. A review of Return to Me by Justina Chen. A review of The Secret Year by Jennifer […]

January 22, 2013 - 5:20 pm

Magan - Hannah: “Why they gotta be getting all supernatural?” <---- that's precisely how I felt. Just let something be good without making it weird. Too much is TOO MUCH.

January 21, 2013 - 4:12 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Aw sad to hear this just didn’t work! Sometimes I think things like this could have been caught and worked through with a really good editor. You know? I could see how an author might be so caught up in their own character and story that they don’t realize they are lacking some development and thought about the reasons behind certain decisions. That’s when I think an editor should help them tighten things up and really solidify the story.

Honestly though, it’s the sixth sense/pyschic things that made me completely lose interest in ever reading this. It looks like a cute contemporary. Why they gotta be getting all supernatural?

January 18, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Cynthia - I remember reading this one years ago when it first came out and really liking it, I was really new to reading YA so I thought it was great at the time. Now after reading so much awesome if I were to read it again I’m sure my opinion of it would change a lot. I agree that the cover is not fitting to the story at all and I was frustrated with the girl in this one. Great honest review Estelle!! =D

January 16, 2013 - 11:35 pm

Magan - Mands, your comment was SO spot on. Hurting characters? Bring them ON! When it ripples and things go downhill from there, no bueno. 🙁

January 16, 2013 - 11:34 pm

Magan - Lori, I agree that maybe your decision to skip it might be best. If you didn’t like NoB, then I think this might really be a turn off for you. 🙁

January 16, 2013 - 11:33 pm

Magan - Rachel, me either! Psychic element?! Um, what? I dunno. It was just unnecessary and made me really sad. There was so much potential.

January 16, 2013 - 11:33 pm

Magan - Alexa, yes. Definitely, definitely jumbled. To the point where I couldn’t connect w/ the character or even begin to assume what her next move would be.

January 16, 2013 - 11:32 pm

Magan - Taylor, I am so glad you’re still going to. I always like it when other people read books I was “MEH” about so then I can see if maybe I was just having an off experience. Can’t wait to see what you think!

January 16, 2013 - 11:31 pm

Magan - Amy, frustrating is such a good, good word to describe how I felt. And let down. Very bummed I didn’t love it. 🙁

January 16, 2013 - 9:30 pm

Amy @ Tripping Over Books - Ah, bummer! I admit, I haven’t read North of Beautiful yet, but it’s been on my radar for some time, and I was looking forward to checking this one out, too. There are really fewer things more disappointing in reading than a book that isn’t as awesome as you’d hoped. I’m sorry to hear, too, that there was that weird aspect with the visions that doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. That can be so frustrating, when it seems like things are in a story and serve no purpose. WAH!

January 16, 2013 - 8:23 pm

Taylor @ Reading is the Thing - I really enjoyed Justina Chen’s other novels, so I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I’m sad this book didn’t click for you in the same way North of Beautiful give, but I definitely want to give it a shot anyway! Great review!

January 16, 2013 - 11:26 am

Alexa Y. - It’s always sad when a book doesn’t meet your expectations, especially when you’ve loved previous work from the author. I’m honestly a little put off by the way you’ve described the story, because it really does sound confused and jumbled up and like too many elements were put into play.

January 16, 2013 - 9:15 am

Rachel - I *loved* North of Beautiful so I definitely have high expectations for this book too. I haven’t read it yet but after reading your review, I might put it off. I never would’ve guessed there’d be a sixth sense / psychic element to it and I agree that it sounds unnecessary. It seems like all the changes in Reb’s life would’ve been more than enough to go on.

January 16, 2013 - 6:40 am

Lori - I’m one of those strange people that didn’t love North of Beautiful. So I think I’ll skip this one. The psychic element sounds unnecessary. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Magan.

January 16, 2013 - 4:18 am

VeganYANerds - This sounds so promising from the beginning but it lost me with the sixth sense aspect, I agree that this probably could have ditched that and been a better story!

Reb sounds like a confusing character, I can understand your inability to like her, I don’t mind a character who is hurting, but I do mind when they take that out on others.

Estelle: The Stalker Chronicles by Carley Moore

The Stalker Chronicles by Carley Moore (website | twitter) Upcoming Release Date: March 27, 2012 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Pages: 240 Target Audience: Young Adult Format read: ARC paperback received at ALA (Thank you!) Summary: Cammie isn’t the best at talking to guys. In fact, she has a reputation at school for being stalker. A label […]

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July 24, 2012 - 1:01 pm

Learning Moore: An Interview with Carley Moore - […] The funniest things can happen in the middle of New York City. Like you go to a reading and you realize you may or may not be sitting down behind the author you may or may not have just reviewed on your book blog. Here’s a short vlog to explain just how I met Carley Moore, author of The Stalker Chronicles: […]

July 10, 2012 - 12:30 am

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books That Have Flown Under the Radar - […] Cammie is a really refreshing character who has a tendency to get really nosey. E loves the family dynamic in this story, and watching as Cammie tries to overcome her (unique) flaw. goodreads / amazon / E’s review […]

June 16, 2012 - 9:41 am

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - This sounds really quirky. I’d definitely want to give it a read when I can!

April 12, 2012 - 11:02 am

New York City Teen Author Festival Recap: Part 1, Estelle - […] Moore of The Stalker Chronicles was sitting in front of me at the reading, and I surprised myself by tapping her on the shoulder […]

April 1, 2012 - 2:11 pm

In My Mailbox Meme: Rather Be Reading Blog (Estelle) - […] Magan: April 2102 Book Releases Estelle:  The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith Magan: A Book Blogger Video Magan: The List by Siobhan Vivian Estelle: The Stalker Chronicles by Carley Moore […]

March 27, 2012 - 11:53 pm

Jasmine Rose - I haven’t heard much about this one yet, but you make it sound worth the read. Thanks for the review :]

March 26, 2012 - 6:05 pm

VeganYANerds - I think this sounds like a really cute read, I’ll keep an eye out for it here!

March 26, 2012 - 5:27 pm

Karen - I’m really glad I’m not a teenager right now. lol
I can’t imagine finding out your boyfriend is cheating on you via Facebook or any of the horrible things that could be embarrassing because of all the social networking these days.
(jeeze that makes me sound old!)
Nice review and the book sounds really cute. I’m happy to hear that family played a part in the story. They are so often ignored in YA.

March 26, 2012 - 11:12 am

elena - I haven’t heard of this book but after reading your review, I’m really curious about it right now! I don’t think people realise how much they really do share of themselves online, it’s so baffling and I think it’s interesting that this book uses that theme. Cammie definitely seems like a character I can relate to. I’m going to try to check this book out, thank you!