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Boy Toy

Review

Boy Toy

Josh Mendel is still picking up the pieces of what happened to him in junior high school. Under the spell of his attractive, older and married twenty-something history teacher, Mrs. Sherman (she prefers he call her Eve), everything changes. Josh finds himself going from the role of teacher’s pet to teacher’s assistant in her home. Under the guise of having to conduct student research for a graduate school project, Eve convinces Josh (and his parents) that she needs his help. After several sessions in her apartment, the project work ends and Josh finds himself first playing video games, then having long talks with her, and eventually, involving himself in what becomes a sexual relationship.

As a senior, Josh is angry and uncomfortable with a past he never speaks about, not even with his best friend. He can’t ignore things anymore, though, when he learns that Mrs. Sherman is being released from prison. His anger and troubled feelings build, resulting in him lashing out and punching his baseball coach. He gets suspended, risking the ruin of his perfect high school grade point average on the cusp of graduation.

Author Barry Lyga does a good job of telling this difficult story by weaving the narrative with flashbacks throughout the book. Josh is plagued with a series of what he calls “flickers” --- fleeting, yet vivid and intense memories. Mixing the past in with Josh’s present reality, Lyga gradually peels away the layers of the story. A romantic relationship with longtime friend Rachel motivates Josh to talk about his past, to risk getting over his fears and, most importantly, to come to terms with the fact that what happened with Mrs. Sherman was not his fault.

BOY TOY is a very topical novel given recent news headlines of student-teacher sexual relationships and child abuse. Lyga masterfully makes this story realistic through the experiences of a very troubled teen. Fans of THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL will also be pleased to learn that BOY TOY takes place at the same school --- South Brook High School --- and that one of the characters is the sister of Dina Jurgens, who appeared in the previous book.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on September 24, 2007

Boy Toy
by Barry Lyga

  • Publication Date: January 5, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia
  • ISBN-10: 0547076347
  • ISBN-13: 9780547076348