Saturday, 25 July 2009

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub. Date: September 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: hardcover
Source of copy: from publisher - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is.

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 . . .

Enticing and intense, Boy Toy is the kind of book that you think scandalous as picking it up and claim fabulous after putting it down.

The story is off a few haunting ones that I've had an opportunity to encounter in the past few years. Fair to say, I found this even more breathless than either 13 Reasons Why or Wintergirls. The storyline was turbulent - seriously, you cannot find many books on teacher-student relationship (so far, slow as I am, I've seen three only) and it is rare to see the male with a role as a student too. I also love the fact that the narrator was a guy, one with a calm and collected voice, totally unpredictable but also very addicting. Generally, Boy Toy had the whole package to make a hit.

Boy Toy brought me a lot of thrill. Like, real thrill. I couldn't but have feel like something was stuck in my throat as I read this book. As if the circumstance itself wasn't peculiar enough, Barry Lyga had to choose to tell everything in such a fast and somewhat dangerous tone. Honestly, I was a bit scared by some parts of the story but that didn't necessarily drive me away. On the contrast, I bet you'd feel taken aback by how the author elaborated everything, including the prickly scenes without making them too much to tolerate. I really appreciated it, that way the younger readers would still have a chance to approach the story, safe and sound.

Josh was brilliantly illustrated. Even though I didn't see much development in other characters, only Josh himself was what it took to hold my full awareness. I couldn't put it into words how much I loved the way Barry Lyga analyzed Josh's inner life. His thoughts, his feelings, especially the creepy flickers and his controversial anger. It fitted Josh like stuff in a box. Even though I could hardly imagine anyone in his shoes, my heart and soul went out to him when I read this book. How bad it was to experience such cruelty at such a young age - Josh lost his innocence, his happiness and was hesitant to explore the world as well as his own self. What was even worse was that he was trapped in a shell - afraid that people would judge him, scared that he would harm them like he once did to his friend Rachel - to a point that he totally got the wrong idea about what had happened. Just wait and see the climax, trust me, you'd be very impressed. Gotta add that Rachel was my favorite character too. She was not just strong but absolutely tough and daring. Without her, I didn't think Josh could have made it.

Barry Lyga's courage was paid off with an amazingly candid story that would provoke each and every reader. I could now see you pick it up and love it so much you'd have to force your friends/family to read it.

Rating: 4.5/5


Anonymous said...

I've wanted to read this for a long time. Your review only makes me want to read it more!

debbie said...

It's great ! I want to read but I haven't finished some books that i borrowed from you ! :(

Annie. said...

OoOo this book sounds very intriguing! I'll go look for it and have a read myself...hopefully some time soon.

Thanks for the review babe!

Keep up the good work!

Em said...

I read that one awhile ago and really liked it too. You're right, it's very serious without being off-putting.