Cover Image: Boy Parts

Boy Parts

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Member Reviews

"Boy Parts" by Eliza Clark is a provocative and unsettling debut novel that challenges societal norms and expectations with its unapologetic exploration of desire, power, and identity. The novel delves into uncomfortable truths about gender dynamics and the commodification of the female body. Clark's writing is sharp and incisive, drawing readers into its dark and twisted world with its vivid imagery and visceral prose. "Boy Parts" is a bold and daring work that pushes boundaries and demands to be reckoned with.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

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Wowie. Where do I even start? I read Eliza Clark’s Penance before reading Boy Parts, so I was hoping it would be just as over the top, and I was so happy I got just that. The book was shocking throughout, with so many *gasp* moments. The main character in this novel, Irina, is unlikable and a little manic. It’s both fascinating and horrifying to be in her head. Although this novel was A LOT, I couldn’t stop reading. The writing was engrossing and very explicit. Read at your own risk, lol.

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I loved this book until the very end, which is where it went totally awry for me. I think it mainly probably has to do with my own lack of understanding of the ending and its connection to the rest of the book, but it really got almost too weird there and I wasn't a fan.

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After being blown away by Eliza Clark's "Penance", I couldn't wait to read her debut! It did not disappoint. In fact, I may have even liked it more. A very talented, fresh writer. I look forward to continuing to read her work in the future.

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Boy Parts introduces us to Irina, a photographer and artist with a passion for capturing medium ugly guys in the most explicit of poses. This is a vantablack thrilling comedy that bluntly addresses into the taboo regions of sexuality and gender roles and societal expectations. It shocked me in the best way.

From the very first page, I was hooked by Irina's unapologetic pursuit of the unconventional. Her obsession with finding models on the streets of Newcastle and photographing them in compromising positions sets the stage for a provocative exploration of desire, power, and the blurry lines between art and exploitation. Clark's writing style is gripping and intense, and the scenes were both gruesome and enthralling.

Irina's chaotic world is populated with a characters that are just as intriguing in different ways. Her obsessive best friend, who blogs about her dedication to Irina, adds an extra layer of tension that I loved. And then there's Eddie from Tesco, whose innocent allure captivates Irina and threatens to unravel the existence she has carefully curated.

This was seriously one of my favorite reads for the year, it shocked me and kept me hooked the entire way through. I know absolutely no one I could recommend this to in good conscience, and yet I keep recommending it! It's worth the read.

Thanks so much to Harper Perennial as well as NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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Irina is a bartender (to pay the bills) and erotic photographer (to soothe her soul) who dreams of the fame that is actually attainable. She’s a very dominant figure, both mentally and physically. Most of her work is finding unconventional-looking men to photograph in indelicate detail. She likes them short, atrophied, dimpled, pretty but blemished, and androgynous. Later, she likes them humiliated and broken down by her…broken down into boy parts.

Then she meets “Eddie from Tesco”. The cashier is a young, slightly overweight boy-man with almost an asexual, androgynous personality. Irina doesn’t just want to photograph him; she wants to devour him. She wants to choke him. She wants to shove a wine bottle into his ass (spoiler alert - she does!) These feelings (ugh no, not FEELINGS those are gross)…these THOUGHTS she keeps having won’t go away, and it’s probably the only thing that scares her.

Irina is usually at least partially attracted to the men she photographs - that’s why she picks them; there’s a quality they have that isn’t the norm, and that’s what she loves. She doesn’t usually have sex with them though, (and definitely not dinner). Eddie is different, and this book goes through a few encounters with him, as it flashes back to other photography/BDSM partners in Irina’s past, and how it shapes who she is today.

This book goes through her mind and while the writing style turned me off at first, I ended up liking Irina. She’s just a girl, standing in front of the world, wanting adoration. She’s just a girl, leaning over a toilet, and she could be either snorting drugs or vomiting. She’s just a girl, leaning over a man, who may or may not have glass poking out of his eyes.

This is another case of me picking a horror/thriller and falling into some kind of trippy, hipster, plotless Gen Z book. While the book is probably written primarily for people younger than me, I still ended up liking this quirky read. The things that normally bother me in this kind of kaleidoscopic writing didn’t bother me this time, because I both loved and loved to hate Irina. This book definitely isn’t for everyone, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. 3.5 stars, rounded up for being a very creative debut!

(Thank you to Harper Perennial, Eliza Clark, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)

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BOY PARTS is a gritting and blatantly all-out-there look at a photographer’s life as she examines past and current work for a gallery show. Clark delves into the darkest parts of her character’s mind while exploring the effects she has on those around her.

If I am being brutally honest, this was a hard book to read. It deals with a completely unlikeable character who manages to justify the worst behavior. However, there was also something compelling about the way Irina moves in the world and how she relates to people, especially her best friend. Then there is her process of creating her art which directly relates to her need to manipulate all those around her. She is detached from everything most of the time, but then there are glimmers of humanity that bubble to the surface before she gets rid of them.

This is a darkly witty novel exposing the thoughts of a self-destructive woman. It is one shockingly candid moment after another until the end.

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Breathtaking and Heart breaking debut novel ,

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book .

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3.8/5 - It’s amazing with how much British literature and TV I soak up, just how much of a language barrier I still come across. The wonkily British phrasings and slang make me feel drunk like the protagonist from page one. I can slide in well enough like a pebble into the crack of a shoe. The MC is a sloppy female bartender with flashy customers they wanna seem superior to. It’s mildly funny, the voice distinct with the pretty description of dizzy ritzy barmen. It comes across confusing that the MC is pompous when she’s embarrassingly modern/bland like a Sex in the City mess. That and what the heck is going on with all these little chirpers at the bar? Everybody needs more of an introduction to gauge their motives.

The mention of a master’s degree and mockery of non-subtitled films alludes to their needlessly high opinion of their self. A real pinched-nose yuppie puke. Of course an MC who loves to photograph lost boys isn’t going to be all that genial, and their criticism of the softness of others isn’t all that wrong, but the character comes off too basic at first. Any wannabe-deep collegiate waif wandering the city night in a scarf. Now, what is good and playful/creative, is her observing her friend’s blog so we get a new perspective on her: the friend’s in love with the BPD MC. The mom is as hypocritical as her but it comes across much funnier, she a foil in some ways. When the mum disses her nails, she stabs herself in the leg with a fork and casually tells her mom she’s doing fetish art.

Of course, Mum’s response isn’t all champagne and they keep nitpicking, but “forgive” each other over a shopping trip. Clearanced Westwood dress. Just my taste. What’s so not but just as entertaining is reading about the MC photographing feminine guys and posting them on a site for money to Epstein-ish pervs. Soon, we get her background in art school, capturing ever-gay hardcore, and being a tall, goth thing caught dating a teacher. Things are told with enough emotional distance to remain enigmatic yet momentarily sating. This is where I start coming around on her because she’s so out there, keeping a scrapbook of her peers with funny captions and turning it in as an art project and dealing with Flo, that pathetic stalker who’s queer-crushing on her. Of course all the random white guilt is cringey but it suits such a virtue-signaler to be so quietly evil where it matters and to police language when she says stuff as awkward as “lmao” in dialogue. The girl is as grossly cold and calculating as a Bret Easton Ellis character (though could use more of his trademark irony over annoyance).

Something I actually like about this is how all the “victims” are whiney and unlikable perpetuators so you don’t mind what happens to them—as is often the case in real life, rather than editorialized news. That and how unhinged in terms of unearned arrogance and sexual deviancy many male and female theater/photog kids turn out to be, which makes plenty of sense w/ the attention-seeking nature of some of their shallow aspirations. Anyway, it’s really a third in that we dig into her artsy kink for further emasculating andro boys. I would never call any of this ultra-violence or even gorey, just sexy misanthropy and threats. The weirdest stuff can be boiled down to a page with a guy chewing a tampon or moderate knife play. We begin to question along w/ her what is real about herself and her actions, giving her character nice Neon Demon shadings all of a sudden. Who pushed her here, what does she want out of soft pudgy boys and is she that different on the inside? It’s also nice to see some flirtatious queer teasing halfway in, her not the aggressor for once. The sprinkling of personal photos, bits, and binges are most interesting.

66% in, WTF happens? There’s the bloody Curb Your Enthusiasm under-hero I wanted. Be warned this really isn’t disturbing for more than a minute unless you’re a lightweight; it’s just a bit underground with a heap of dark quirkcore. Very offbeat but kinda mild humor. Kind of like when you have to accept the American Psycho movie is much different than the book’s tone can read yet that can be good and doubly ironic for different reasons. I don’t know why people say this is plotless because there’s always the pressure of her preparing for her show and some relationship exploding/getting exposed. Things culminate neatly and nearly plump. I appreciate the last third as much as I was annoyed by the first third. The people she comes into contact with towards the end are far more insufferable than her, so roles get reversed and it’s fun to see her pick and claw at others. Okay end, if not predictably flat to be “artsy.” I great gender-swapped Patrick Bateman’s tamer cousin type of fan fic.

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There are a lot of layers to this book. If you are a fan of the dark, weird, and almost hallucinogenic sort of writing, then you will be a fan of this. In this story, we follow Irina who is a fetish photographer in Newcastle working out of her studio at home. As we work our way towards the new exhibition of her new gallery, we see as Irina focuses on her past work and interactions with her previous models. In short, this book is American Psycho/Patrick Bateman. Irina is a narcissist, manipulative as heck, is constantly putting herself and her models in danger all for her own thrill. You never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, as this book is unhinged and dark; I personally love it for that.

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I don’t know what it is, but this is the second sociopath woman POV novel I’ve read this year and honestly…I’m not mad about it. I really like reading from a unreliable, terrible narrator, and Irinia is definitely all of that. We follow her as she goes around photographing random men for erotic photos, building her portfolio and eventually getting her own exhibition. As she gets more involved with one of her subjects and continues to party way too hard she finds herself in a spiral leading up to her pivotal show. I will say this book really examines themes of consent and various ways to cross it, so definitely look up trigger warnings if anything involving those themes could be triggering. There is some pretty brutal imagery and scenarios in this, so be warned. However, I absolutely breezed through this book. I found it so well paced and intriguing as you descend deeper and deeper into Irina’s downward spiral, revealing past skeletons in her closet. I really, really liked this book but I also love unreliable often really problematic narrators, and sits very squarely in that genre.

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Wow, I loved this. Told through a combo of present day and flashbacks, Boy Parts is the story of a photographer named Irina and her various experiences with the men she photographs. It was both funny and horrifying, and I thought Eliza Clark did a great job writing a MC you want to root for even though she can be completely vile. It was really dark; good for fans of Bunny, Acts of Service, and Acts of Desperation.

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I devoured this today while recovering from being tortured in a dentist chair yesterday and it was the perfect read to deal with my angst! Unapologetically toxic, unhinged and disturbing, this book contains every trigger you can name. Definitely shocking and darkly funny, this is a book you don’t want to dwell in your head for too many days with all the descriptive hangovers and fetish photography. And you can bet I put in a request for Eliza Clark’s next novel, I cannot wait to read what her demented mind has in store for us next! Thank you Netgalley, Harper Perennial, and the author for this eARC in exchange for my honest review. This book is available now!

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Ended up reading this in the space of a few nights, and just some absolutely fantastic, rancid vibes. Our main girl is a photographer who is on the verge of making it big, absolutely thrives on the gender role fuckery she shows in her photography (think femboy humiliation, along those lines), is partially funded by her parents, and is just kind of a glorious mess. It's fun to watch things slowly start to spiral out of control. Great debut, and definitely someone I'll be watching in the future.

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If Patrick Bateman were a hot girl living in Newcastle upon Tyne, he’d definitely be Irina Sturges. Despite being a narcissistic and deeply flawed individual, Irina is a trainwreck you simply can’t take your eyes off of. You’re compelled to continue reading what degrading things she has her so-called “models” do in the name of art, as she takes photos of them. I loved how every photograph she had saved unlocked new memories and we got to see what she had been up to in those years prior to us, readers, getting to know her. Clark’s writing is razor sharp, and although we can agree that Irina isn’t the best person and her relationships are all terrible (her mother is evil, her best friend is awful, and the men in her life are either simps or losers), you can’t help but feel some bit of empathy in the way that she’s the way she is because both society and her interactions with people have shaped her in this way (I don’t want to delve too much into her past because of *spoilers* ).

The horror isn’t smack dab in your face, but it’s there and it’s vicious when it comes to the surface. But overall, this is a crazy adventure of human depravity, looking for artistic approval, and trying to leave a mark in the world however fucked up that may be. I totally recommend this if you loved books such as American Psycho, Maeve Fly, and Into The Miso Soup.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Perennial for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Boy Parts is a hard book to review. I absolutely hated the main character, which is sort of the point of the book, but it was a bit too much for me at times.

Irina is a self-centered and manipulative person who only cares about her looks and the carbs she doesn’t eat. In fact, she might be the female version of Patrick Bateman, and I did toss American Psycho about halfway in, so there's that. In the case of Boy Parts, I did finish the book, and I'm not so sure if I liked it or hated it.

Some parts of the book were wild, and I craved the chaos, and other parts seemed overly pretentious. Like we get it, Irina. You're better than us. You're hot and cool. Which is basically also the gist of the story: Irina thinks she's the shit and everyone around her sucks... or is it?

Could it be that maybe Irina acts the way she does because she's desperate to be seen? To be seen like she sees her boys/ models? But no matter what Irina does, no matter how horrid her actions are, no one seems to care about anything other than her physical appearance.

Like I said, I'm not really sure how to review and rate this book because it's just wild.

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I love an unhinged, toxic main character and Boy Parts delivers that! The story is thrilling and visceral and I enjoyed it from start to end. Definitely similar vibes to Ottessa Moshfegh & Bret Easton Ellis.

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I just really love messy, complex main characters -- especially when they're done as well as they are here.

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I’m a moth to a flame when it comes to anti-heroines. Give me more female MCs who are messy, crude, nasty, and unexpected. Unlikeable? Yes. A f*cked up, dark sense of humor? Even better. Boy Parts’s Irina is a toxic sociopath!

She stood out to me, and that makes her unforgettable, IMO. The notion that characters – especially female ones – ought to be likable is something I fight against. I fight it by reading books with dynamic female leads who are unconventional.

This book is dark. Very dark. And it has strong existentialist overtones. (Boredom is a state of being.) (There is no pleasure in anything.) Clark keeps a running commentary on gender, art, privilege, and the female gaze. It’s strong.

I keep seeing American Psycho as a comparison title, and I'm afraid I have to disagree with that. This vibe is more Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest & Relaxation.

Triggers include self-harm, alcoholism, substance abuse, sexual violence, and eating disorders.

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