The winners of the 2007 Cybils Awards have been announced! Yeah Winners! And many thanks to the brains and beauty behind it all -- Anne Levy and Kelly Harold, our organizers.
In as much as I was a member of the YA nominating committee (oh happy days of having piles of books around the house waiting to be read; the cupboards are bare at present) I was of course very keen to see who they were going to chose. My money was on Sherman Alexie, but no. It was Boy Toy, by Barry Lyga.
I almost wasn't able to read this book. I thought about quitting several times. The plot--a 12 year old boy seduced by his teacher, and his road to recovery--was almost too much for me. In large part this was because the boy himself did not realize for a considerable part of the book the extent to which he had been abused. He refuses to testify against the teacher in court, for instance, because he doesn't see her as the horrible abuser that she is. I kept imagining my own boys, in a few years, reading this, and not realizing how awful it was that this boy was in love (which is how he thought about it at first) with this beautiful teacher, the stuff of adolescent dreams, and that she was taking him places no 12 year old should be going. As one reads on, it becomes clear that this is a Bad Bad thing, and so I, as a reader, started feeling a bit better, but still. This is not a book for 12 year olds. Or their parents.
But for older teens, yes, it is a very good book indeed.