Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boy Toy - Barry Lyga

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga has to be one of the most disturbing but great books I've ever read.  The subject matter is unsettling, to say the least, but the way the author handled it amazed me.  The fact that this subject was handled so delicately and exertly by a male writer was phenomenal.

The story begins with 12 year old Josh carrying a private crush on his History teacher, Eve.  Large for his age, Josh is sucked into a very adult and inappropriate relationship with Eve.  The truth emerges when Josh attends a birthday party for one of his friends, Rachel, and a game of spin the bottle gets out of hand.  Due to his actions in this scenario, Josh's secrets comes out to devastating results.

Now, years later, Josh is 17 and about to graduate high school without ever having a normal, healthy relationship, especially not one with a girl his own age.  He is angry and hostile, and fights his own inner feelings about Eve, even while battling a growing attraction to the very girl, Rachel, who started the downfall of his affair long ago. 

Being inside Josh's head as he battles his inner thoughts, desires, guilt, and new feelings is inspiring, unsettling, and at times, very uncomfortable.  Although this book is labeled for teens, I would definitely not recommend it for younger teens, as the nature of the subject matter is very adult, and some of the scenes are extremely frank and gratuitous.  This story, however, is definitely worth the read.

I had a very difficult time putting it down and ended up reading it in one sitting.  At the end of the book, you find yourself feeling sad for Josh's discoveries, but also very satisfied for his future. 

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