Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is.
And fortunately for us readers, Barry Lyga doesn't make us wait too long to learn Josh's secret either...and once it's revealed, there is no turning back.
Five years ago, Josh's whole world was shattered. Some tense moments during a harmless game of "spin-the-bottle", a frantic slip of the tongue, and everything was different. In a bad way. Although his name was kept from the papers, everyone knew. Many lives changed as a result.
Now, Josh has a lot on his plate—college decisions, issues in his parents' marriage, a tendency to lash out violently, the girl he avoided ever since a fateful night during Spin-the-Bottle, a baseball coach who's on a perpetual power trip, and above all, the guilt he feels for seducing his social studies teacher. Affected with what he calls "flickers," Josh flashes back to those moments in his past in a most vivid way, never once blaming his teacher anything that happened.
This book is intense and riveting. Lyga captures the dialogue and thoughts of a teenage boy rather well. Not that I've ever been a teenage boy or anything, but I'm guessing they'd think a lot like Josh, even with his past weighing on him.
The book is realistic without being over-the-top; the tension builds at a perfect pace. I could have done without quite so much baseball jargon, but it's a part of Josh, and part of what makes him come alive. The book has a lot of language and many sexual innuendos. Never a problem for me, but there are probably some parents and librarians who'd want to take heed. This is definitely for an older YA audience. That audience will love the book though. It held my attention until the very last word, even with all the baseball stuff. ;)
Preorder it here (pub date September 2007): Boy Toy