ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Boy Toy

Updated on June 9, 2011

To continue my apparent recent interest in young adults who have been traumatized, "Boy Toy" is the sort of YA novel I'm not sure parents would be entirely comfortable with their young adult children reading. That said, this is the sort of book I'm sure both adults and young adults would find interesting.

Josh Mendel is a brilliant high school senior (he's never gotten below an A in any class since elementary school), as well as an unbelievably good hitter on his high school baseball team. That said, he's also seriously messed up in the head: in the first chapter he decks his baseball coach for an off color comment regarding his past. This past has made him a sort of social outcast, at least partially by choice: he's deeply suspicious of pretty much everyone around him, particulary adult authority figures, and he experiences what he terms "flickers," which are probably a form of PTSD (he flashes back in time to random events in his past).

Josh, five years before, was statutorily raped by his middle school history teacher, a beautiful young woman named Evelyn Sherman. This ended with Eve being sent to jail and Josh being uncomfortable around girls ever since, particularly his childhood friend Rachel, who he himself attempted to sexually assault (this was how his relationship with Eve was discovered), and whom he hasn't talked to since.

But Eve is being released early on good behavior, a very important baseball game is approaching (one on which an all-important athletic scholarship to Stanford is riding), and Rachel is suddenly and insistently back in Josh's life again, wanting to start back up from where they left off five years before. All of these will force Josh to deal with what happened before, and possibly recieve the healing he never did in the past five years.

What I liked the most about "Boy Toy" was how the characters were emphatically not perfect. Josh is kind of an asshole more often than not, and he's also rather self-obsessed, thinking that everyone in his hometown are snickering behind his back at him. I liked how the other characters (particularly Rachel) don't let him get away with it, even though he is somewhat justified in his paranoia, anger, and suspicion. Eve herself (who mostly appears in flashbacks) is another interesting character, neither a fool who did something stupid nor a calculating monster, but something intriguingly in the middle. In a series of flashbacks dealing with Eve's trial, I loved how the detectives and prosecutors, people who theoretically are supposed to be on Josh's side, use tactics that, at least in Josh's 13-year old mind, appear as scarring as, if not more so, than whatever Eve did to him. No one is black in this story, and no one is white.

The story is perhaps a little unevenly paced. Much of the first few chapters is set up, and there are two lengthy flashbacks to explain what went on in the past. A lot of the major plot resolution happens in the last, very short, five chapters or so. But this is only a minor flaw, if a flaw at all.

All in all, a good book in my opinion. It deals with delicate issues very well, as well as producing a character that seems to be a realistic depiction of someone who has been sexually abused. Read it if you don't mind its rather heavy subject matter.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)