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3.7 3
Young Adult Fiction 317
Beautifully written, yet ultimately underwhelmed...
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This is a story of a young girl and the story she tells herself, the one she ingrains in her head and on her heart, to keep her company. This is the story of girl who mourns for the loss of her mother’s company and for the loss of being the very center of her mother’s universe. From a very early age, Anna watches her mother try to stifle her own despair with the attention of different male suitors. In turn, Anna also tries to fill her own void from the loss of her mother’s love with various boys, and there are quite a few of them. But nothing ever takes the aching loneliness away.

With a lyrical prose that feels very similar to stream-of-conscious writing that pours from every page, as readers, we’re thrust headlong down a spiral of gut-wrenching heartache of a girl longing for the long lost love of her mother. We travel through Anna’s life as she endures several hardships that a girl as young as herself should never have to experience, and you feel the pain behind the words and thoughts of a girl left alone in the world. You feel the bone-weary tiredness and the need for acceptance and the undeniable misery of wanting to have a story of love to share with others and with herself. But sadly, she goes looking for love in all the wrong places, and she wears her despondency like a war-torn scar. Because the truth is, nothing good in her life has ever stayed, it’s merely a fleeting memory that she struggles to hold on to with all her might.

Special Notes: The author doesn’t hold back any on terms of underage sex, though the scenes aren’t overly graphic. If the idea of a young girl through the ages of thirteen to sixteen having quite a few sex partners makes you feel uncomfortable, I suggest you not read this book. Also, there is a rape scene. Though Anna is conflicted about the nature of it and decides not to tell anyone, it happens, so fair warning.

Verdict: Uses for Boys made me feel. A Lot. It sunk it’s teeth deep in my skin and wove its depressive nature around my heart. I wanted to scoop Anna up and cradle her and give her the love that her mother should have been giving her all along. I wanted to throttle the mother and make her realize how poorly she took care of her only daughter who only wanted her time and affection, not the big houses and money or the step-fathers and family that came with them.

While I certainly appreciated the honesty and raw innocence of the words behind Anna’s story, I feel like the book lacked substance- the meat- to garner a higher rating from me. This book won’t be for everyone because it deals with the grittier truths of some young girls in this often cruel world, but for a select few of you, I suspect this story will move you beyond words.

**Note:** An e-ARC of this novel was provided by St. Martin’s Press for review via Net Galley. However, that did not influence this review in any way.
Good Points
lyrical prose that flowed beautifully
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