MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys

by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt X
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Jan 2013, 240 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Ellis Smith
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A story of breaking down and growing up, for young adults.

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 by Erica Lorraine Scheidt is a story of breaking down and growing up.

the tell-me-again times
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.

Her bed is a raft on the ocean. It's a cloud, a forest, a spaceship, a cocoon we share. I stretch out big as I can, a five-pointed star, and she bundles me back up in her arms. When I wake I'm tangled in her hair.

"Tell me again," I say and she tells me again how she wanted me more than anything.

"More than anything in the world," she says, "I wanted a little girl."

I'm her little girl. I measure my fingers against hers. I watch in the mirror as she brushes her hair. I look for myself in her features. I stare at her feet. Her toes, like my toes, are crooked and strangely long.

"You have my feet," I say.

In the tell-me-again times she looks down and places her bare foot next to mine. Our apartment is small and I can see the front door from where we stand.

"...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What do you think the title Uses for Boys signifies? In what ways does it describe the events and relationships portrayed in the novel? 

  2. Compare and contrast the parent/child relationships in the story, including Anna and her mom; Toy and her mom; Sam and his mom. What effect do these relationships have on each character's actions?

  3. What is the significance of storytelling in this book? Consider the stories Anna's mom tells her as a child and Toy's stories about boys. What do you think Anna means when she says, "the stories we tell ourselves are not the only stories"? Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? 

  4. How do you think the novel might be different (or ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Like the cover of the book, Anna could appear to be confusing or contradictory. She could be painted in very black and white brush strokes, labeled a slut or latchkey kid or a stoner or a dropout. But she doesn't appear this way. With an incredible economy of words, Scheidt crafts Anna into a nuanced, complicated character...continued

Full Review (729 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Tamara Ellis Smith).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Starred Review. Many girls will relate to the fact that 'there are no fathers in this story'… Scheidt's spare and poetic debut offers up pretty images for some decidedly unpretty situations ... at times, her prose feels as tightly wrought as a novel in verse. This is a story about where we come from, and how, sometimes, we have to break free from the past in order to shape our own future... Lots of teens will see themselves in the pages of this beautiful, honest novel.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Scheidt's novel packs a punch; this fast-moving book can be devoured in one sitting, but reveals even more upon rereading. Ages 13–up.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Haunting, frank and un-put-downable. Fiction. 14-17

Author Blurb Ellen Hopkins, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the Crank trilogy
I wish every young woman could gain the wisdom found in these pages. Quiet. Stark. Possibly life changing.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Uses for Boys, try these:

  • Genuine Fraud jacket

    Genuine Fraud

    by E Lockhart

    Published 2019

    About this book

    More books by this author

    From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel - the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

  • Piecing Me Together jacket

    Piecing Me Together

    by Renee Watson

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Book of Longings
    The Book of Longings
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the life of Ana, a woman born in the Galilean city of ...
  • Book Jacket: Master Class
    Master Class
    by Christina Dalcher
    Christina Dalcher's Master Class shows America sleepwalking into a perfectionist eventuality not ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Pronounce Knife
    How to Pronounce Knife
    by Souvankham Thammavongsa
    Many examples of immigrant fiction dedicate a portion of their storytelling to exploring details of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Easy Part of Impossible
    The Easy Part of Impossible
    by Sarah Tomp
    Teenager Ria Williams is a skilled diver. She is on track to compete at the Olympic level, but ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Daughter of the Reich
    by Louise Fein

    A spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Paris Hours
by Alex George

One day in the City of Light. One night in search of lost time.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

B I T T Water

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.