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young adult book reviews & more

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Boy ToyJosh Mendel’s life is a mess, and he’s drowning just trying to sort it out. As a high school senior, he’s 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 that’s 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 can’t allow himself to be close to his friend Rachel because memories of another woman still haunt him. Josh’s 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 couldn’t put down. Josh’s 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 story’s 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 didn’t 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.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from Amazon Vine

25 munch(es) :

stargirlreads said...

I wanna read this one. I was goning to get it from BD's.

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Boy Toy sounds like a great book! I have also heard great things about Living Dead Girl.

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com
Ch. 1 is online!

Ashley said...

This sounds really interesting.

Readingjunky said...

Yes, I agree - a difficult subject handled well.

Em said...

I completely agree with you, disturbing yet completely gripping. I didn't think I would like it but I did.

Em said...

p.s. I nominated you for an award. I know it’s already gone around a lot but I’m slow in posting it. Basically, I just wanted to give you a shout out. :)

http://emsbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-love-your-blog.html

sweetmelissa818 said...

Sounds like it's worth reading!

TheBookworm said...

It does sound disturbing... but also interesting. Hmm...

Amanda said...

I want to read this because it look like one of those books that will leave me thinking.

Shalonda said...

I am so glad that so many authors choose subject that are gritty. They are important stories and often get lost in all the lighter novels. Glad Barry Lyga took a chance and tackled a heavy subject.

Liviania said...

I've wanted to read this one since it was featured on ibteens. All of Lyga's books sound interesting to me but this one especially.

donnas said...

Good review. It sounds like a very emotional book.

Mandy said...

Wow, I've been seeing this book around the book reviews blogosphere for a while now. It sounds like a very emotional, but very good book.
Great review.

Mitzy said...

I've had this book on my wishlist for awhile, but I never really read a review like this before! I didn't know it had such a disturbing backstory - can't wait!

katie said...

OMG I hadn't heard of this book until now but after reading your review I really want to go out and buy it. It looks very interesting and I really want to know what happened.

kbpup903@yahoo.com

cosmicdustbella said...

This book sounds great, but kind of scary, like Living Dead Girl.
lizzieland@optonline.net

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I really want to read this. I've had it for awhile but haven't had the chance to break it open. It sounds really great and emotional though.

-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Korianne said...

All of the fans of books are books on my wishlist, maybe this one should be too. It just doesn't catch me as one I will like though.

Elizabeth said...

I hadn't heard of this, but I'd like to read it; I've been looking for more books with male protagonists.

xdaisyx said...

I have never heard of this book! I must go and check it out.

Julie K said...

This looks really good!

Ann said...

Reading this reminded me of the book, Twisted! It sounds really good! I enjoyed Twisted and I'm thinking I would enjoy this also.

Michelle Kuo said...

I agree with the comment above me, this book sounds a lot like Twisted! Like those books that keep you hooked because everything is so disturbing yet intriguing to read.

Paradox said...

I've heard that this book was supposed to be good, but disturbing. And it seems pretty unique because the main character is a boy.

Anonymous said...

where does it take place?

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