The cover of Uses for Boys, the debut novel of Erica Lorraine Scheidt, is confusing. It depicts two teens – a boy and a girl – kissing, with a strand of tiny white lights loosely wrapped around their shoulders and waists. The lighting is muted and frosted, save for firefly spots of bright. The image is romantic. It suggests love, maybe first love, perhaps, even, the first kiss in a burgeoning relationship. But the title of the novel is written across the middle of the cover. Uses for Boys it reads. This direct and, perhaps, even crass title, blurs the idea of romance. The cover becomes confusing or perhaps, contradictory, as its words and image are at a disconnect.
As it turns out the cover is just right. Because inside is a story that is – well – confusing and contradictory. Anna, the central character, is seven when Uses for Boys begins. She is the only ...
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