Boy Toy



Very mature book about boy molested by teacher.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Josh is only 12 when he is sexually molested by his teacher. Their relationship is discovered after Josh attacks a girl in a closet during a teen party. Josh is later beaten up by Eve's husband.


This book centers around a character who is sexually molested, but believes he is in a relationship. Josh's sex life with his teacher is graphically described, including oral sex, watching pornography, to very specific descriptions of sexual acts.


All the big bombs: "f--k," "s--t," and "dick."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Eve drinks and encourages Josh to drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is about a boy who is molested by his teacher; Eve tricks Josh into believing they are in love even though he is only 12. Their sex life is graphically described, including depictions of oral sex and the watching of a pornographic film. Their relationship is discovered after Josh attacks a girl in a closet during a teen party. Josh is later beaten up by Eve's husband. The book also features language that is as mature as its subject matter.

What's the story?

This book centers on a high school senior named Josh who, at only 12, was sexually abused by his attractive female history teacher. Through a long flashback, readers see how Eve slowly manipulates Josh into a sexual relationship, making him believe they really love each other.

Now Eve is getting out of jail, but Josh is still dealing with the trauma -- he's not only afraid to pursue girls, he also has bouts of violence and moments where he zones out uncontrollably. Additionally, Josh begins to worry that he will run into Eve in public.

Is it any good?


Better plotting and character development make this second book more intense, more disturbing, and ultimately more memorable than the first. Lyga again centers his novel on a messed-up teen boy protagonist and even sets the story at the same high school he created for his popular debut, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Readers may be drawn in by a scintillating premise, but they will quickly feel sickened as Josh is easily and expertly manipulated by his teacher into a sexual relationship he is much too young for. They will find it easy to empathize with Josh, who even years later is traumatized by Eve's sexual molestation; Lyga carefully draws out Josh's flaws, from his violent tendencies to his fears of intimacy to his paranoia that everyone around him knows what has happened to him -- and that Eve could reappear at any moment.

There is no doubt that this is a mature book, from the subject matter to the language. But Lyga shows great respect for his audience and doesn't go the sensationalistic route. He writes in specific detail about Eve and Josh's sex life, but he also reveals Josh's vulnerability, presenting intimate conversations between Josh and his therapist, or between him and the girl who wants to be his girlfriend. This level of detail makes the story feel very real and makes Josh's pain very palpable.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about where ideas for books might come from. The premise for this book, for example, seems very similar to some recent news stories about female teachers molesting their young students. Can you think of any other books that were derived from headlines? Why can news stories make good plot lines?

Book details

Author:Barry Lyga
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:September 24, 2007
Number of pages:416
Publisher's recommended age(s):16
Read aloud:16
Read alone:16

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bymeeohmyoh August 22, 2010
While the topic can help one learn about such situations, it was unnecessary to include explicit sexual activities. I wouldn't recommend it at all, although I believe there is never a good reason to include graphic/explicit sexual situations.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byxaltrockgirlx October 27, 2011

Great, but extremely mature

This is an extremely well-written but extremely disturbing story of a boy who is seduced by his teacher but believes it is his fault since his teacher tricked him into thinking they were in love. Lyga makes a sympathetic character without making him the perfect victim (giving him anger and intimacy issues, etc.). All the characters are colorful and they breathe life into this twisted story. However, this is definitely for mature teens due to the SVU-like story told from the victim's point of view and harsh langauge like the F-bomb, s***, and etc. Even so, those who can handle it will find a fast-paced story that will break anyone's heart.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bydwade472 June 12, 2011

Very good

Very good story. Very relatable to a lot of pre-teen to teenage boys.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much swearing


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