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Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Boy Toy

by Barry Lyga

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Don’t let the title mislead you: this is not a charming coming-of-age story. This is about sexual abuse.

Twelve-year old Josh Mendel has a crush on his history teacher, Eve. When she starts paying him particular attention, he eats it up. What he fails to understand is that Eve is manipulating him into a sexual relationship.

Author Barry Lyga tackles a topic that is usually sugarcoated as a young boy initiated into the wonders of sex by an older, more experienced woman. Lyga addresses the power imbalance and abuse inherent in this type of relationship. While Josh may be ignorant of Eve’s deliberate designs, the reader is not. Lyga deftly rolls out the story of Josh’s becoming entangled in his own confusing, conflicting emotions until he believes he is the one who brings about Eve’s downfall and arrest.

Lyga alternates between twelve-year old and eighteen-year old Josh – during and after the abuse. When older Josh learns that Eve is to be released from prison for good behavior, he struggles to comprehend the guilt and shame he has carried around for so long. While his parents and his friend Rachel are concerned about how Eve’s release might be traumatizing for him, Josh isn’t even sure what his reaction is.

Lyga does not shy away from the graphic reality of the abuse. He captures beautifully the conflict Josh is desperate to untangle, and while Eve’s honesty at the end of the novel helps to bring the story to a close, life may not be quite this neat. Still, this is a small complaint amidst a powerful novel.
( )
  louis.arata | Jul 31, 2015 |
This book was distressing to read at times. At some points in the story, the plot was either extremely graphic, or just emotionally upsetting and I had to put it down for a little while. Not that that's a bad thing, it was actually a fantastically written book, but the topic of a teacher molesting her 12 year old student can be a bit too much to take sometimes. I liked how Josh grew throughout the story, and I loved the scene where he realized it wasn't his fault, and that it was something that was done to him, not by him. ( )
  bladechik99 | Feb 28, 2014 |
It's a YA book about a high school student who had a sexual affair with a teacher when he was twelve. Now he's eighteen, about to graduate, and he is *angry*. And he has every right to be. He feels extremely ostracized, mostly by his self. He hangs onto what he has -- baseball and math, as he has flashbacks to his sexual assaults/incidents of abuse/molestations... I guess there's no real good word to call it. Because there's a huge double standard when it comes to this sort of thing. And it's nice that the story is written in such a way that there's no thing you can point to and say "if we eliminate that, this'll never happen again".

And it fascinates me. Not to diminish anyone who was in this situation but, as far as the "dominant, aggressive, older male with younger female" relationship goes in writing, it's been done to death. "Dominant, aggressive older female, younger male" is not. Especially with stories like Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, and Pamela Rogers Turner. It follows the mental state of the boy nicely, as he struggles for normalcy in his current relationships, and how his past troubles color him. But he's really coloring himself.

Once again Lyga knocks it out of the park (baseball!). I haven't read a book of his yet that I didn't like profusely. I got exactly what I wanted -- an answer to the question of how a boy gets in a sexual relationship with a teacher. The only thing I wish was that we got a little more insight into the teacher. We never really learn her deal. Was she abused? Was she just unhappy? What was her motivation in starting this relationship? She makes a confession, so there has to be something in there. Maybe this is like real life, where the state keeps the victim and victimizer in the dark about each other's state. And that is the scariest part. ( )
  theWallflower | Jan 20, 2014 |
Boy Toy is a griping story of a school boy ,girl and a teacher and how their life changes when the teacher starts a relationship with the boy.The book have a shade of suspense on whether the relationship was planed or not by the teacher although it's somehow known to the reader from the staring that the it's teacher planing but it's till a good read about the difficulties faced by the boy in it's relationship with his childhood friend. ( )
  Pankaj.Kumar | Dec 20, 2013 |
after teaching a class about sexual abuse and teachers having sex with their students, I'm intrigued.
  pam.enser | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618723935, Hardcover)

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 . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)

After five years of fighting his way past flickers of memory about the teacher who molested him and the incident that brought the crime to light, eighteen-year-old Josh gets help in coping with his molestor's release from prison when he finally tells his best friends the whole truth.… (more)

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