Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

So many books... So little time...

So, last week, while working the dreaded day job (I really do like my DJ, but it's harder to take while pregnant or something, I don't know...), my CP walks in with this book she picked up in the YA section at our local second bookstore, The Thrifty Peanut. (I know, right? But this bookstore defies awesomeness in so many ways; they even have free coffee!)

"Just flip it open and read a passage," she says.

"Which?" I ask, one, because we're busier than a hooker at a bachelor party, and two, she's always got a particular passage she wants me to read.

But, alas... "Any," she confirms. "Just do it."

So, I do my norm. Flip to the middle, start reading. I land on a scene where, apparently, because it's young adult , a young boy is diligently attempting to see up a woman's--a grown woman's--skirt. And thinking all sorts of bad thoughts in the process, colorful language included.

Of course my eyes bug, jaw drops. "Wow," I say.

"Yeah," comes her short, 'I told you so" response. "I bought this for my fourteen year old son. Thank God I skimmed through it first."

I asked if I could do the same, she said, "sure," and the rest is history.

Check out Boy Toy on Amazon.com

I loved this book. Couldn't put it down. Start to finish, 416 pages, in less than 2 days. Which, for me, is a record, because I'm a slow reader. Not to mention I sleep all the time and have, like, no extra time whatsoever to do anything but try to write or check email, etc.

Mr. Lyga, to me, wrote a masterpiece. The characters are more than memorable, they're astonishingly, sometimes shockingly real. Off the charts. The type who stick with you every second of every day, and you can't get anything done, because you can't wait to pick up the book again, reacquaint yourself with Josh and Eve and Rachel and Zik. Seriously. By the second day, I was sneak-reading this novel at work, and I haven't done that, I kid you not, since grade school and Beverly Cleary.

When finally I handed it back to the CP, I dolefully added, "With great reluctance, mind. I will own this book." (She got it for $2.50, hardback, pristine condition. Sick, right?)

From the inside cover: 

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 who he thought he'd lost years ago. She's back, and she's determined to be a 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...

Josh is more than troubled. He's broken.

Based on a super-touchy subject matter, Barry Lyga's disturbingly beautiful novel speaks out not only to older teens, but to adults eager to understand their children in a way which no one I've read has depicted accurately thus far. At least not in commercial fiction. For writers, you will love the deep characterization, stellar word choices, believably endearing, sometimes very raw dialogue, and the colorful supporting cast. Most of all, I really think you'll love the growth of this young man, seeing the world through his eyes, cheering him on as he struggles to escape his torrid past.

Bravo, Barry. I am a fan for life.

Read all about Barry, as well as his other
novels & comic books on barrylyga.com

Happy reading, everyone. Tell me: Where's YOUR bookmark right now?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,



Bonnie Rae said...

Oh nice! I am totally interested!! I am gonna have to find this one!

Andrew Leon said...

Darn you! And I do mean darn -you-! Probably, this is not something I would ever pick up, but you've managed to make me interested. If it was anyone else writing this, I would probably just dismiss it, but it's you, so I'm curious.


I have too many things on my to read, right now.

Alyssia said...

@Bonnie I really do think you'll like it. It's like nothing you've ever read, trust me.

@Andrew Haha--I know what you mean! But you can spare a small slip-in space for this one. :) I'll be surprised if you don't enjoy or at least appreciate the concept.

David Powers King said...

Awesome review! Thanks for sharing a few insights.

Good thing I found your blog today. Because it's awesome! :)

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