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Boy Toy

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  7,131 Ratings  ·  825 Reviews
Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is.
Five years ago, Joshâs life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems like the world—thinks they understand. But they donât—they canât. And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First thereâs Rachel, the girl he thought heâd lost yea
Paperback, 410 pages
Published January 5th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 24th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
There's no way to review this book without spoilers. Read at your own risk, folks. (view spoiler) ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire Scott
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Wendy Darling
This was a hard book to rate, because it was fascinating to read and was very well-written and structured, and yet it's not a book that I really enjoyed. Even though I like the fact that the author writes very frankly and convincingly puts us into a teenage boy's head (he also does a great job of showing the grooming process as well as Josh's reaction to Eve), some of the flashbacks (and a few too many flickers) bordered a bit too much on the gratuitous side for my taste.

The truth is that sexua
Abby Johnson
Jan 31, 2008 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was disturbing and super compelling. I seriously could not put it down. The story starts when Josh is 18. He's messed up. No, I mean really messed up. When he was 12, his history teacher sexually abused him. And what's worse? Her detailed confession made its way on to the internet and Josh is sure that all of his classmates and teachers know exactly what he did with her. And what's WORSE? Mrs. Sherman is getting out of jail. Early. Right now.

Because of the abuse, Josh made a mistake w
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
HOLY FUCK!! This book was disturbing, beautiful, awesome, amazing. I stayed up until 4 in the morning reading this. And I had to catch a plane at8. But god it was worth it!
Review from Way Too Hot Books

"I was molested. When I was twelwe.
And everyone in the world knew it except for me."


I am left speechless.
This story is real and unforgettable. It isn't a story about the forbidden teacher/student love that many fantisize about, this story is the realism behind what actually goes into the waters of female teacher to male student molestation, down the path of pedophilia.
Writing is so realistic that sometimes I had a feeling that I was in the room with Mrs. Sherman a
Jun 01, 2012 Fred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fred by: Jolene Perry
I was surprised at what a great read this is. Honestly I was a bit sceptical, I don't like YA written by guys, as a general rule. Too jock-y, too jokey, too hearty, too hokey. They don't usually have an emotional component that resonates with me. But this one completely had a powerful and intense impact on me. Also it's from 2007, and I've been trying to keep up with new stuff, but this felt fresh and new, even though student/teacher affair stories are hardly even news anymore. Remember Mary Kay ...more
May 09, 2008 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fiction
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Spider the Doof Warrior
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Aug 13, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-reads, library
Rating B+

Review There was so much I liked about this book and only a little bit that I didn't like (but it's a pretty major thing).

What I did like: the seduction by the teacher (which, I believe, is actually called "grooming" when it comes to child molestation) scenes are done really tastefully and are told from Josh's POV and are so eye-opening. That sounds weird to say, and you might think, 'Why would you want to have your eyes opened to that?' And I guess the reason I found this book so fabul
Flesheating D-Ray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I am horrendously lazy.
I did intend to rewrite this review by typing it out on my laptop, but... meh. Scanning is so much faster. If you're interested, my thoughts are here. Good luck deciphering them. (Although I do like to think I have a pretty neat handwriting.) If you can't properly see what I've written, just save and zoom.
The mistakes - there must be some, though I can't be fucked to check - are there because I wrote this while watching HP#7 pt. I.
I told myself I wouldn't start blabbing off about books I read pre-2011 while I still had VERY IMPORTANT READING and SCHOOLWORK to get done, but Mello's review (which I would link to if I knew how) inflamed a lot of my old feelings about this book.

The key problem was this:

What do you do with a book whose central point you agree with 100% in principle, but whose execution you wholly disagree with?

Such was my problem with Boy Toy.

At its core, I thought Boy Toy and I were about to embark on the kin
Jun 02, 2013 Rebekah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I related to this book far more than I'd like.

Baby spoilers to follow.

The best part of the book was undoubtedly this:


“Why, Eve?” My voice trembles. I try to force it steady, but I can’t. My cheeks are wet and I wonder where the hell those tears came from. “Why, Eve? Why did you do it? Why?”
She’s crying too, great wracking sobs that shake her entire body and send streams down her face.
“Why, Eve? Goddamn it, I’ve been waiting forever to know. Why did you do it? Why did you let me seduce y
Jan 15, 2010 laaaaames rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Women, don't get jobs, your kids will get molested. Duh. Money-making and independence is for gentlemen!

Ahem. As far as readability goes, I soared through this book. Lyga's really good at that. Unfortunately, Lyga is also really good at misogyny. Just because the woman at the crux of your story (and I'd even argue that, as Rachel is significant too) was a molester, not every woman has to be terrible or the kind of male fantasy that doesn't really exist.

Speaking of Rachel, I wavered a lot on her
Ellen Hopkins
Jul 08, 2008 Ellen Hopkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The voice of the protagonist is spot-on!
Nov 19, 2010 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: open minded readers, tough subject readers (YA)
"Boy Toy" is one of the most eye opening books I've read in a while, though I'm very sure that this will not be a book for anyone and everyone to read. I thought it was very well done account on the issue of child molestation, told from the perspective of an eighteen year old boy reflecting back on his sexual relationship with one of his former teachers when he was only twelve years old. I'll admit in part that I didn't know what to expect coming into this story, but now that I've finished it, I ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

In BOY TOY, author Barry Lyga takes readers on an incredible journey into a world that, for some, like main character Josh Mendel, is all too real. Josh's life was changed at age twelve when his teacher took the role of educator far beyond the limits of acceptable behavior. Lyga's story does not cut corners or mince words. He is straightforward and direct in telling Josh's story. His graphic descriptions may have earned him criticis
Dec 21, 2007 Meaghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all teens, especially abuse survivors
This was a frank, realistic look at an very under-explored, misunderstood topic. I was extremely impressed by how deftly Lyga handled this; so many people romanticize child molestation when it’s a woman who is the offender. There is none of that in this story. You get to see how the abuse affected Josh, his parents and his friends, and you even gain some understanding of Eve (nice symbolic name there)'s motivations.
Feb 13, 2008 Mokamonkey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-books
I had to read this one after all of the discussion on the sex and objectionable content. It's about a boy who had a sexual relationship with a female teacher in middle school. He's now in high school and is still having a hard time getting past it and his guilt, because he thinks he ruined her life, rather than realizing he was molested. With all of the cases that have surfaced lately, it's good to have a book with a boy in this circumstance, rather than a girl.
Sep 23, 2007 Ifwhennotthen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult
I really wanted to like this book, because there aren't a lot of good titles out there looking at teen male victims of sexual abuse. However, I found it to be scattered, with too many plot threads, and an overly neat and unrealistic ending.

Josh is a senior in high school, into baseball and hoping his excellent grades will get him into the college of his choice, but he's also stuck in an endless loop of revisiting what happened to him when he was in seventh grade, and his history teacher, Eve, se
Jan 06, 2008 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult, edgy
Powerful doesn't begin to describe BOY TOY by Barry Lyga. It is the story of Josh, a young man that was involved in an inappropriate relationship with his teacher five years ago. Barry Lyga does an amazing job showing the impact this event has on Josh's life. Relationships with his parents, kids at school, and teachers are changed forever.

There is one relationship that hasn't changed much since the incident. Zik is Josh's best friend and he has stood by him through everything. He doesn't push Jo
When I saw Barry Lyga's bulletin on MySpace about getting a copy of the ARC for his newest book, I jumped on it. And I jumped right in without reading any of the blurbs. Which I generally tend to do if a book grabs me in its first sentence. So by the time I realized where it was all headed, it was too late to stop or go back or put it down. Because it's a great story. And I give unending kudos to Barry for writing it. And I know there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be up in arm ...more
Melissa Noël
I have a mixed bag of feelings about this one. On one hand, Barry Lyga is a talented author (I love his "I Hunt Killers" trilogy and I'm waited with bated breath for the final instalment) who isn't afraid to tackle difficult subject matter that other authors shy away from. He isn't afraid to display the grittier aspects of Eve and Josh's twisted relationship, though it does flirt with explicit aspects at times. Luckily for us Lyga isn't crude enough to describe every detail, though there's enoug ...more
When he was twelve, Josh Mendel had a very adult affair with his twenty-four-year-old history teacher, Eve. Now, five years later, Eve is being released from prison, and Josh has mixed emotions. Was he really molested? Or, was it a consenual realtionship? Why did his parents force him to press charges and ruin everyone's life? As he relives those secret moments from his past, Josh shows that when the lines between teacher and student get blurred, bad things happen.

Barry Lyga addresses the taboo
Libro Joven
Feb 05, 2010 Libro Joven rated it really liked it
First things first: thank you thank you thank you, Barry Lyga!!!!! For finally explaining to me the sexual meaning of baseball bases. I had them more or less figured out, (after tons of times of reading over and over and over again about second base or the importance of getting to third base), but I always had some residual doubts left. So, Barry Lyga is a god. Finally someone who's not ashamed to explain it to non-American people!! (Meaning: people without baseball engraved in their brain, and ...more
Steven R. McEvoy
In the week before writing this review I have read three of Lyga's novels. Each looks at a different element of human nature and is about a man struggling to understand himself, of a boy struggling to become a man. Each was an incredible read. But this one was so dark, so gritty, that a few times I had to step back and put the book down. It was so intense that I needed a break from the story.

Josh Mendel is eighteen, a senior at South Brock High in Brookdale. He is an incredible hitter in basebal
Nov 09, 2012 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Definite review to come. Okay, since I tried writing a review for this one and couldn't quite find the proper words to describe it, I'll just give this to you in a nutshell: in a world where people like Jerry Sandusky prey on us children in a place that some of us once viewed as a safe place: school , this is an extremely important and relevant novel to read.

It is a little on the gross side, since they dedicate a whole 115 pages to describe the grooming process, but I think it would've bee
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #18 Boy Toy by Barry Lyga 1 3 Jan 17, 2015 08:23AM  
Is BOY TOY appropriate for 12-year-old boy or not? Help me please. 10 106 Jul 07, 2014 01:43PM  
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Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek. According to Kirkus, he's also a "YA rebel-author." Somehow, the two just don't seem to go together to him.

When he was a kid, everyone told him that comic books were garbage and would rot his brain, but he had the last laugh. Raised on a steady diet of comics, he worked in the comic book industry for ten years, but now writes full-time because, well, wou
More about Barry Lyga...

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“See, forgiveness doesn't happen all at once. It's not an event -- it's a process. Forgiveness happens while you're asleep, while you're dreaming, while you're inline at the coffee shop, while you're showering, eating, farting, jerking off. It happens in the back of your mind, and then one day you realize that you don't hate the person anymore, that your anger has gone away somewhere. And you understand. You've forgiven them. You don't know how or why. It sneaked up on you. It happened in the small spaces between thoughts and in the seconds between ideas and blinks. That's where forgiveness happens. Because anger and hatred, when left unfed, bleed away like air from a punctured tire, over time and days and years. Forgiveness is stealth. At least, that's what I hope.” 119 likes
“Anger and hatred, when left unfed, bleed away like air from a punctured tire, over time and days and years. Forgiveness is stealth.” 49 likes
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