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Uses for Boysby Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Anna still remembers the 'tell-me-again times' when her single mother would reassure her that she was all her mother ever wanted. Through lyrical language, repeated phrases, and pared-down chapters that are often no longer than a page or two, debut novelist Scheidt traces Anna's lonely path from age seven to 16, as her mother chases one man after another, leaving Anna to fend for herself. Anna has a series of early sexual encounters, is raped by an older boy, and eventually drops out of high school to move in with her teenage boyfriend. On her own, she makes missteps but also meets people trying just as hard as she is to stay afloat, as well as families that exude the warmth and closeness she craves. Readers will be moved as smart, honest Anna learns she can draw on her innate strength to write her own story — one with room for the wounded people she loves. 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. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“I wish every young woman could gain the wisdom found in these pages. Quiet. Stark. Possibly life changing.” Ellen Hopkins, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the Crank trilogy
“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 ('the unmade bed is peaked and stormy'); 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.” Booklist (Starred Review)
“Like its narrator, Uses for Boys is poetic, sensual, edgy and strong. Captivated, I finished it in two sittings and sobbed at the end.” Francesca Lia Block, New York Times bestselling author of Weetzie Bat and I was a Teenage Fairy
"If somebody had handed me this book when I was fifteen, I would have felt 75% less alone and 100% less crazy." Pam Houston, award-winning author of Cowboys Are My Weakness and Contents May Have Shifted
“Some writers know how to make something terribly complicated and true...simple. That's what Erica Lorraine Scheidt does in Uses for Boys. With stark, lucid prose, she hones in on that experience we girls know well: we believe boys will fill our emptiness.” Kerry Cohen, author of Loose Girl
About the Author
As a teenager, Erica Lorraine Scheidt studied writing at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and later received an MA in creative writing from University of California, Davis. Now a teaching artist and longtime volunteer at 826 Valencia, Erica works with teen writers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shes a 2012 Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts and is currently at work on a second novel for young adults.
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