Australia’s national newspaper (the mysteriously-named The Australian) reviewed Boy Toy over the weekend…
Unflinching as it is compelling, this novel centres on a troubled high-school student, Josh, who was molested by a female teacher at the age of 12. Five years later, Josh is still struggling to get his life together when his abuser, Eve, is released from prison, pitching him into further emotional turmoil. Exceptionally well-written, Boy Toy offers a psychologically sophisticated and edgy portrait of a male sex-abuse victim….
The reviewer goes on to mention a concern: “Some of these passages are so erotically charged, they inadvertently run the risk of allowing us to forget the victim is a child, and could arouse rather than repel teen readers. That is a worry.”
Of course, I’m psyched that the reviewer liked the book, but about that last bit… I feel like I should state, for the record, that there was nothing “inadvertent” about that risk. It was totally, uh, advertent. If you lose yourself in Josh’s mind and forget he’s a child, even momentarily, it’s much easier to understand how he got sucked into Eve’s world. Early readers often said to me, “I forgot he was a kid for a little while — it really creeped me out.” Which was exactly the reaction I was looking for.
I realize this makes some people uncomfortable.