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Parents' Guide to

Boy Toy

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Very mature book about boy molested by teacher.

Boy Toy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 15+
age 14+

Boy Toy

Hi! So I read Boy Toy around the middle of 2011. I went to Borders and picked it up and read it in less than a week. I say pause at 14 and under specifically because by the time kids are in 8th grade they have already been exposed to the things in this book. The sex in this book is pretty graphic, but also really low key in a sense. Parents should be aware of Josh and other characters language, because it is very strong. Even with what I say, you should pause and think about letting them read this book. I really liked the story. Josh was a strong character but he certainly had his flaws. He was a little dense despite his seemingly bright character, he had those flickers that actually weren't all that bad, and he apologized WAY too many times for my tastes. I loved Rachel, his friend, and Zik. They were great characters for the book. I also loved the romance. Rachel was so perfect for this and she just blew my mind in how wise she was. She said things that made you go "wow." I loved how she was a strong but girly character that really just KNEW what she was doing. Anyways, the book was real good. I'd recommend parents letting kids 14 & older (after thinking about it) take a go at this book. Please think about how mature your children are in the process so they do not "hurt their brain" or be "scarred for life".

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (9 ):

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.

Book Details

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