Lyga, Barry. Boy Toy. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. 410 pages. ISBN 978-0-618-72393-5
Joshua Mendel is 18 years old. It started when he was twelve and continued until he was thirteen and in the 7th grade. His history teacher, Evelyn Sherman (Eve), molested him. It began as a friendship that turned into much more. Josh had believed he was in love with Eve, she claimed to loved him. Before long, their relationship progressed into a sexual one. At the 13th birthday party for Rachel, Josh’s friend, he practically raped her in the closet because he was just doing what Eve taught him. This caused everything about Eve and Josh to be revealed. Eve was sent to jail and Josh was left to struggle through life with flickers of memories from his time with Eve and everybody always judging him. However, five years later, Eve is out of jail and Josh is panicking. He was just trying to get through school with good grades and play baseball so that he could go to college, far from home. Now he has to worry about running into Eve, which dredges up a lot of memories. Not to mention, he just ran into Rachel, whom he has not talked to in five years.
Boy Toy is a riveting title that will suck you in and keep you engrossed for hours. The story is powerful and sheds light on issues you do not normally come across. This story is written in the first person view point of Joshua Mendel; he speaks from the present and from his past. Josh is a character who a lot of teenagers can relate to on a basic level. He likes to play baseball and get good grades in hopes of getting into a decent college. However, (and this is where he is different) being molested by his history teacher makes it hard for him to fit in with other teenagers. Although Lyga did a great job writing Boy Toy to catch the attention of older teens, library media centers will have to be careful about putting this title on their shelves. This story has a lot of controversy that could easily be challenged by parents.
Five years ago Josh’s life changed all because of one person, his history teacher, Eve. Everybody thinks they understand what Josh is going through, but they don’t.
About the Author:
Barry Lyga graduated from Yale with a degree in English. He then worked in the comic book industry for ten years. He wrote comics part time, but was also responsible for developing Free Comic Book Day. During those years, he was a spokesperson for comic industry. In 2006, he wrote his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, it got great reviews. His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, and got critical ratings. His third novel, Hero-Type, came out in the Fall of 2008, and was reviewed as fresh, new and interesting.
He has now also written Goth Girl Rising (a sequel to his first novel), and the Archivillain series for middle-graders. “His upcoming books include more Archvillain, the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran), and the series I Hunt Killers. Publisher’s Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of his debut. Lyga lives and writes in the big city. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.” From: barrylyga.com
Reading Level/Interest Level:
YA/10th grade and up
There is the issue of a twelve year old having sexual relations with his history teacher. Library media centers would have to be careful about this title, but it is clearly for older teens.
Why I included this title:
I read about this book when I was writing a paper on censorship in libraries and I thought it would be an interesting read and a great addition to my collection.