Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
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 criticism, but they have also made his story a powerful one.
Josh Mendel loves baseball. He is a wiz at math. His best friend, Zik, seems to be the one with the rocky home life and all the problems, but not for long.
Mrs. Evelyn Sherman is the new history teacher recently transferred from the local high school to the middle school. She is drop-dead gorgeous. All the boys probably find it a bit embarrassing to stand up and leave the classroom some days. Josh certainly does.
Josh's involvement with Mrs. Sherman begins when she praises his writing and asks him to help her with a project for her graduate class. Honored and excited, Josh is eager to help. Problems at home make staying after school, and later actually going home with Mrs. Sherman, a convenience for Josh and his parents. He begins spending more and more time with her even after her project is complete.
At first, being in Mrs. Sherman's apartment everyday after school is exciting, because Josh gets to play unlimited video games, drink Coke, and hang out with an attentive, beautiful woman. His time in the apartment becomes even more fascinating when Mrs. Sherman begins inviting him to help her cook dinner and sip wine with her. Then kisses begin - tentative and then passionate. The passion moves from petting to full-on sexual experimentation.
Josh is addicted. There are feelings of guilt, but those feelings are outweighed by the incredible physical pleasure Mrs. Sherman offers. Life is spiraling out of control.
The world comes crashing down when Josh finds himself playing spin the bottle with Rachel. He and Rachel have been friends on the baseball field for as long as he can remember, but when Josh's newfound experience turns the innocent teenage game too sexually explicit, Rachel runs screaming to her parents. The "game" is over, and Josh's secret is about to come out in the open.
BOY TOY is not a short romp between the sheets. In fact, it has raised many eyebrows in the world of YA literature. Readers will see exactly what went on with Mrs. Sherman, but they will also see deeply into the world of a young man trying to continue with life, make amends to his friends, and make plans for his future. It has a strong, powerful story to tell, and it tells that story well.