Uses for Boys

Erica Lorraine Scheidt. St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-00711-7
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. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 01/15/2013
Genre: Children's
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