Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

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Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

This is a downer of a book. Not really happy endings or happy people to be found in this read. Also, it’s not that well written. Which may be on purpose for authenticity or maybe not. But the story is very real, raw and relatable. To set the stage, the main character’s mother is constantly uprooting their lives in search of her next husband, while ignoring her daughter and leaving her to scramble for identity. Entering new schools as an uncared for girl, she never really makes friends and instead enters into sexual relationships with boys to try and meet her need for connection. Along the way she works at asserting her independence and is able to separate from her unresponsive mom. But life never really gets easier.

I read the book, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t know that it was meant to be enjoyed. It is a work of fiction but I think it could easily be a true story, and so it may inspire compassion. Many people struggle and we don’t always know what their lives have been like. They may not have been very easy. Reading this story is a good reminder not to judge people or assume that we know why they made the life choices that they did.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

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Girls & Sex: navigating the complicated new landscape by Peggy Orenstein

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Girls & Sex: navigating the complicated new landscape  by Peggy Orenstein

After reading quite a few of the fiction books dealing with acquaintance rape in high school and college settings, I wanted to get a better understanding of the real situation we are in as a society with a deeply embedded rape culture. Girls & Sex clearly details the sexualization of girls of all ages and how they are sold a image of themselves as ‘empowered, pleasing, sexual objects’. The brutal reality of sexual behaviour that pleasures boys primarily and teaches girls only about protection is laid out in this fascinating book. This is a must read for all parents and I think for girls themselves. We should all know how our bodies and minds are being coerced into behaviours that are against our own best interest. Word of warning, a lot of what is revealed in this book is disturbing!

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

Gabi A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero

GabiGabi A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Gabi is a good girl who is questioning the hypocrisy of just what exactly it means to be “good.” In Gabi’s mother’s and Tia’s world her brother can do no wrong (even when he is obviously doing wrong), girls who get pregnant are sluts and always to blame, and being fat makes you destined to be single forever. Except that Gabi knows that none of this is true. She sees right through all the double standards and BS thrown her way. Gabi is smart and articulate, she is a writer and a poet, and she isn’t going to let her dreams die, like going to UC Berkeley, just because her family judges her harshly for her choices.

Written in the form of journal entries, this book is entertaining and heartfelt. It reads like a true-to-life high school experience. Gabi is from Southern California and shares a Latina perspective on growing up and coming of age. There is poetry and letters mixed in, all told in an authentic voice of a girl who is confident and insecure all at the same time.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz