Reality Boy by A.S. King Review

Name: Reality Boy
Authors: A.S. King
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 22nd, 2013
Format: Arc copy
Buy the book on Amazon
368 pages

Summary:
Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.

Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.

In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.

Goodreads

My Review:

Not only was the writing in this book incredible and exciting, but I also thought that this was one of the most interesting plot lines I have seen in a long, long time.  I'm not exactly a fan of reality television, but I have seen a nanny show once or twice in my life.  However, the one thing I never thought of while watching those shows was what would happen to those kids when they grew up.  Who would want their worst, most embarrassing and difficult years to be aired on television for the world to see?  And especially when your episode is as widely known as Gerald Faust's was; there was no way he could ever grow up to be a normal kid after that.

I loved how, as the reader, I was able to see many different perspectives of Gerald: at almost every moment in the story, A.S. King showed us how strangers viewed Gerald, how his friends and family viewed him, and most especially how he viewed himself.  With the exception of a few characters, strangers and Gerald's classmates generally treated him either still as the little boy who pooped everywhere on television or as a complete dimwit who didn't even know the alphabet, which was entirely untrue.  His family and few friends mostly treated him as a normal person, but the way he treated himself was most interesting of all.  He always thought that he belonged in special education classes even though he was clearly too intelligent for them, and he was constantly trying to calm himself down, worried that he might say or do something rash; I, however, like many of the other readers, I would assume, believed in him.  Most of the time these three perspectives stayed separate, and for that reason I loved noticing the few moments when they collided.

There were two main relationships that caught my attention throughout this book: Gerald with his family, and Gerald with his girlfriend, Hannah.  Gerald's family was much more messed up than it outwardly appeared.  His older sister was legitimately insane (she constantly abused Gerald and their other sister as a child, plus was a sex addict since the age of twelve), his mother always backed up his sister no matter what, his second sister left his family the second she was old enough, and his father passively sat back and allowed his family to crumble to pieces.  Gerald also finds himself with a girlfriend named Hannah, who he originally refers to as the girl who works at register one.  She likes him for all of his faults, and he likes her back, even though she is far from perfect herself, definitely harboring a few secrets of her own.

This book was not particularly happy, but nor was it so sad that I was bawling my eyes out.  Instead, it was just raw and painfully real, which was one major reason why I enjoyed it so much.  King is a superb writer who had many, many great lines (such as one of my favorites: "What's crazy and what's sane when everything is possible and yet nothing ever happens?") and even better scenes.  I thought this was a great book, and would definitely recommend picking up a copy when it releases in October!

My Rating:



2 comments:

Princess Ash said...

Raw books slay me whether they mean to or not. I don't know that I could take all the hard parts without legitimate moments of happiness of the particular variety xD But I'm intrigued by its differentness to be excited for it since I have yet to read an A. S. King book (whoa, I know!). Awesome review!

Shoshanah said...

What an interesting premise. Considering the number of reality tv shows I watch, I'm really intrigued by this one.

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