Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Boy Toy

cover 1

says "She's more than just a teacher to him."

Lyga, B. (2007). Boy Toy. NY: Houghton Mifflin.
YA LIT/ Review for high school collection consideration

A high school librarian asked me to read this book. She had purchased it for her collection, based on the popularity of The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl, written by the same author. She had read some reviews that made her think twice before putting it on the shelf.

I have not read Fan Boy, and I didn't know what to expect of the author or the storyline.  I have to say, I was really flabbergasted reading it.  The story is told by an eighteen-year-old boy who was sexually molested by his teacher when he was twelve. The teacher seduced and manipulated Josh, the main character, and convinced him that they were in love. It's told alternating between present times and flashbacks to when Josh, was twelve, but in present times, Josh has "flickers" back to his time as a twelve-year-old. It delves into the aftermath of being a victim and how he is treated, how he feels, and how he struggles to be a regular high school kid.

Those chapters that were flashbacks, as well as the flickers, were very graphic about the sexual activities that occurred between Josh and his teacher; this was a bit of a show-stopper for me.   I kept thinking, "would I want my kids to read this? is this how I want my kids to find out about these sexual situations?"  My answer was no. Having this book on the shelf means that the most immature of freshmen could pick it up as easily as the most mature senior.

Though there may be value to a reader who may have experienced the isolation and recovery from being the victim of a sexual predator, I am not sure that value outweighs the distraction and what I feel is inappropriateness of the sexual descriptions.  It truly bordered on soft porn, in my opinion.

It is considered "young adult literature," but the older those "young adults" are, the better.

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