Five years ago, Josh’s life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems like the world—thinks they understand. But they don’t—they can’t. And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First there’s Rachel, the girl he thought he’d lost years ago. She’s back, and she’s determined to be part of his life, whether he wants her there or not.Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game of his life coming up, and a coach who won’t stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink. And then there’s Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Josh’s past. It’s time for Josh to face the truth about what happened.
If only he knew what the truth was . . .
I really enjoyed Lyga's Fan Boy and Goth Girl, though I'm torn now as to which book I liked better now. Boy Toy is the story of Josh. He's around eighteen now, but five years ago, when he was twelve going on thirteen, his history teacher engaged in an improper relationship with him. We've heard the stories (sadly enough, stuff like this seems to be written up in the news far more frequently than any of us would like) and here is a realistic look at how something like that happens and what it does to people's lives.
Josh is doubly burdened. The whole sordid mess came out (with the resultant trial and everything) when he was playing spin the bottle with his friend Rachel. Things got out of hand in a hurry, mostly because Josh just plain didn't know how to react properly after his experiences with his history teacher, Eve. Since then, he's avoided Rachel completely and has lashed out at the people around him, always feeling like he is being judged and weighed. The only person who he still considers a friend is Zik.
When the news comes down that Eve is about to be released from prison after only serving part of her sentence, Josh's mixed up world gets even more unbalanced. He also, for the first time in five years, is talking with Rachel again. He winds up telling her things that he hasn't even told his psychiatrist.
Josh is a very intelligent guy, but emotionally he's been caught in limbo. He has flashbacks that he calls 'flickers' where he flashes back to the past and sort of spaces out on the present. Most of those flashes have to do with Eve, as can be expected. Another big part of his life is baseball and the question of college (and college scholarships). Will he hear from the college of his choice (Stanford)? Will he be able to reconcile his past mistakes with Rachel with his current relationship with her? Will he run into Eve and, if so, what will happen?
I found this to be an honest and realistic look at a terrible situation, including how Josh felt about it. Lyga doesn't pull any punches or sugarcoat anything. But I'm also happy that there are glimmers of hope for Josh (and no, I won't tell you how it ends). Yes, he's damaged (aren't we all?) but he's going to be okay.
Recommended for readers (boys or girls) aged sixteen and up (or 14, if they are ready for some frank talk, though none of it overly specific...but, given the subject matter, there's definitely sex).
Release Date: September 24, 2007
Rating: 4 stars
Five years ago Joshs life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his townseems like the worldthinks they understand.
But they dontthey cant.
And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First theres Rachel, the girl he thought hed lost years ago. Shes back, and shes determined to be part of his life, whether he wants her there or not.
Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game of his life coming up, and a coach who won't stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink.
And then theres Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Joshs past. Its time for Josh to face the truth about what happened.
If only he knew what the truth was . . .
Barry Lyga writes a powerful story in which he holds nothing back. Boy Toy's written back and forth between Josh's flashbacks from 5 years ago and the present. At any given time, you're chance to be wondering what Josh's thinking, and later you find out. Joshua has withdrawn himself, and avoided Rachel, because of the incident 5 years ago, until he bumps into her. Now he must face himself and open up with the truth. The plot kept me flipping pages, waiting to see what Josh would do next. Josh was a great narrator, his voice was pleasant and kept you reading. I definately will be checking out Barry Lyga's other works!
Josh Mendels life is a mess, and hes drowning just trying to sort it out. As a high school senior, hes got monumental college decisions to decide. As a baseball star, he faces pressure from his coach and the biggest game of the season, heck, his life. But thats not why Josh is falling apart. Five years ago, when he was only twelve years old, something happened that changed his life forever, and not for the better. His secrets went public, he hurt and was hurt by so many others, and he lost the ability to reason right from wrong, good from bad. He feels ashamed of himself; he thinks he is damaged. He cant allow himself to be close to his friend Rachel because memories of another woman still haunt him. Joshs story, though heartbreaking, is one of redemption and self-forgiveness.
There is something very disturbing about Boy Toy, especially with its difficult topic of sexual predation, yet at the same time, it is a gripping story I couldnt put down. Joshs character was so well created. There is something so sad and fragile about him that draws the reader in and sparks curiosity about the incident that drastically altered Josh. Some more minor characters had depth as well, especially the storys villain to my surprise, which I appreciated, but others, however, felt like total strangers to me. Emotions and emotional response were a huge part of the story, and not only for the characters, but for the reader as well; there were times I just wanted to cry for Josh and others when I gasped with disgust. My initial reaction after reading Boy Toy was something along the lines of, Wow, that was so wrong, but I actually really liked this novel. I didnt like much of the content, but I enjoyed the psychological journey Josh went through and the overarching message of hope strong enough to rise above anything, no matter how horrible.
Boy Toy is one of the best written novels on this difficult subject. Fans of Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, Identical by Ellen Hopkins, and The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer will also enjoy this story. I definitely look forward to reading more from Lyga as well.
reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
This book is not for the faint of hearted. In various sections of now (when Josh is eighteen and about to graduate high school) and flashbacks (when Josh is a 12/13-year old middle schooler), readers learn (in full, graphic detail) about how Josh was seduced by his middle school history teacher and eventually had a sexual relationship with her, which is discovered only after he nearly rapes his friend Rachel. This experience colors Josh's future encounters with the opposite sex, as well as his school life, and, most importantly, how he sees himself. As Josh finally reconnects with Rachel five years later, he has to come to terms with his relationship with Eve, the teacher, who is being released from jail, as well as his family and his future.
This was a phenomenal book. It tackled a tough issue well-- and in full detail-- and it deals with other issues-- prom, college, divorce, baseball-- equally adeptly. It's a long book, but it still leaves you wanting more. And despite the heavy subject matter, it manages to be humorous, and has a fairly positive ending.
When Josh was twelve, he was molested by his (female) history teacher. Now he is eighteen and still trying to get past the incident and the guilt he feels about it. His friend Rachel, who he accidently sexually attacked in middle school, is trying to to get him to rekindle their friendship, but Josh still feels guilty about that too.
This book tackles a really difficult subject and Lyga handles it well. Josh is well-fleshed out; he plays baseball and worries about college admissions so the focus is not all on the molestation. His feelings seem appropriate to a boy his age (whether written from eighteen-year-old Josh's point of view or remembering what happened to twelve-year-old Josh). It is a rewarding read, but there is some graphic description of what went on between Josh and his teacher, so this book is not for the faint of heart.
When Josh was thirteen, something happened to him that changed his life drastically. A woman named Eve wrecked his life. And even though its supposed to be a secret, everyone in town knows about it.
Five years later, Josh is still dealing with what happened when Eve is released from jail, blowing the whole thing open again. Hes also wondering about Rachel, the girl who was part of revealing the truth years ago, and who seems to want to be back in his life now, for some unknowable reason. And, of course, hes got the stresses that any high school senior does on top of all of that.
To finally be at peace with it all would help. To finally understand what happened, the way everyone else seems to think they do. They cant understand, but they like to think they do. If only Josh really did understand. If only he could figure it out, and straighten out his life. If only it were that easy.
In BOY TOY, Barry Lygas wonderful second novel, he shows himself to be a brilliant author (one whose first book Ill be looking for!). I was a little surprised at the serious subject matter dealt with in this absorbing storyfor some reason I had expected something fluffier, I guessbut that made no difference once it had grabbed me (and it did so right away). The characters populating the novel are well-developed, and their relationships with each other were also very well done. This is a book that could easily fall into the pretentious-sounding category of literature, but I mean that in a good way here! Well worth reading, BOY TOY is highly recommended to anyone looking for an engaging and well-written book that defies the expectations of people who think all young adult books have something in common with the likes of GOSSIP GIRL.