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"A.S. King is one of the best Y.A. writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly.... Reality Boy is finally a novel about whether you are fated to the life the world expects you to have."—John Green, The New York Times Book Review
* "Heart-pounding and heartbreaking.... a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other and themselves."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "A nuanced portrayal....This is a story about healing."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "King's trademarks--attuned first-person narrative, convincing dialogue, realistic language, and fitting quirkiness--connect effectively in this disturbing, yet hopeful novel."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "King's writing is tighter, more focused, and better than ever....[An] intense and incredibly fresh plot."—VOYA, starred review
* "King offers a compelling look at possible long-term effects of reality shows.... thought-provoking and ultimately optimistic."—Library Media Connection, starred review
"Put down the remote and pick up Reality Boy--it's a showstopper."—The Horn Book
"The hallmarks of [King's] strong work are there: magical realism, heightened emotion, and the steady, torturous, beautiful transition into self-assured inner peace. Like Gerald, it's wonderfully broken."—Booklist
"[A] smart and sympathetic story about breaking free from the world's expectations."—The Bulletin"We all know at least one teen who needs a book like this; I didn't know I needed it until I turned the last page."—Dodie Ownes, SLJTeen
Posted April 14, 2014
If you love the writing of Rainbow Rowell--read REALITY BOY. If you're looking for bruised, but valiant characters--read REALITY BOY. If you're looking for quirky, damaged, heart-tugging romance--read REALITY BOY. If you like your books to raise thought provoking questions--read REALITY BOY. It you want to understand empathy--read REALITY BOY. If you want to laugh and smile and be reminded of what hope feels like--read REALITY BOY. If you've ever been so lost in this world that you wanted to run off and joint the circus because shoveling elephant poop would have been an imporvement--read REALITY BOY. If you like to read amazing books--read REALITY BOY.
In case you didn't hear me--read REALITY BOY.
Posted February 10, 2014
Every time I read one of her books I am completely blown away and think, wish, dream that some high school would add a Young Adult Lit class, even if it was only a nine week course. These reality based teen novels contain so much more of what kids are facing than 150 year old desiccated classics they are made to read, but which have no bearing on their lives.
Gerald, almost 17 when we meet him, was the unwilling star of a reality TV show when only five. He did not ask to become the infamous "Crapper" who dropped one every place he could just to win some attention from a mother who loved only her psychopathic first born daughter, leaving Ger and his sister Lisi to fend off her sneak physical attacks while their father made money and drank. Starring in one of those "Nanny-cures-all" family programs that trim and shape reality into a tasty dish to feed the masses has only exacerbated Gerald's already existing anger management issues - who wouldn't be mad and out of control when your sister tries to drown you-smother you-push you down the stairs with alarming regularity? So he goes to work, buries himself in the Special Ed classroom his mother forced him into although he's quite smart- because there had to be something wrong with him to make him act that way - goes to anger management therapy and does stints at a boxing gym to give him a physical outlet, and tries not to notice the girl at work who's also trying not to look at him.
That these two deeply damaged teens are the sanest people in the book is its greatest irony, and the hope that things will turn out well for them seems almost as unlikely as a happy ending to one of the Grimm's darker tales. Yet King has the canny knack of distilling hard won lessons from the deepest pain...and I will continue to follow her through any twisty, thorn-filled maze she cares to write.
Posted February 7, 2014
Reality Boy is one of those books where I went into it with unclear expectations. I had seen the cover around and I had looked into the book enough to gain an interest. I thought it would be a cool one to read. I had no idea that when I started it, I wouldn't want to stop.
Something about the writing, the story, the characters, the general way it was set up, had an addicting—captivating—feel to it. I didn't want to put the book down. I picked up this book and lost track of time. I would pick it up to read for a little bit—only a (little) bit, I kept telling myself, and ended up reading 10, 15, 25, 50 percent of the book without getting bored. The times, I had to set the book down to focus on schoolwork, I literally said to myself "I don't want to stop reading."
CHARACTERS WITH FLAWS
I love flawed characters. Just love them. They’re just more relatable and believable. And the characters in this book . . . well, they were pretty messed up. Some thought they were more messed up than they actually were, and others were more messed up than they thought.
The main character, Gerald, was a pretty awesome character. He wasn’t “popular”—at least, not in the traditional sense. He was a “retarded” boy (according to his mother) with anger issues that was never portrayed in a good light on the nanny show he and his family were featured on when he was younger. He was refreshing because 1) he was a male teen character and the sole POV of the book, and 2) I haven’t read many books with main characters like him.
Hannah was also a good character. Flawed too. She had quite a few self-esteem issues, especially when it came to her parents and how she was raised. She referred to herself as the "the junkman’s daughter" often, and although though it was a little annoying, I understood that it was necessary for her to keep repeating it because she wasn’t proud of where she came from. I really liked her, and I really liked her and Gerald’s relationship. I was rooting for those two the entire way.
Gerald’s family was terribly dysfunctional. The sister was absolutely psychotic. The dad didn’t do much. He just let the bad things run their course, but towards the end, he made a surprising adjustment and turned out to be a better parent. The mother . . . it wasn’t blatantly obvious that she was horrible, but she said some awful things about her son and never did anything to help her family become a better one. If there was a 2013 Worst Mother in a YA Book award, she would be an excellent candidate for it.
The romance was a bit quick to develop, but the Gerald actually actually mentions how quickly he’s falling for Hannah. It’s a well developed romance, too. They didn’t just fall head over heels for one another because of nothing and they connected really well. (Again, I was rooting for them the entire way—I loved this couple!)
NICE USE OF FLASHBACKS
It was really nice to see how Gerald and his family were like while the reality tv show was being filmed. It made it easier to understand why they were such a dysfunctional family and how the show deeply affected Gerald.
Brilliant book. Just brilliant. I’m incredibly glad I got to read it and I’m so happy to say it exceeded my expectations. It’s an amazing novel, and I highly recommend Reality Boy to anyone even slightly interested in its premise.
*I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Posted December 31, 2013
Posted November 3, 2013
Are you one of those who just can’t help but watch reality shows that delve into the dynamics of dysfunctional families, assuming these are true, accurate and not edited for maximum drama? Ever wonder what the far-reaching toll is on the featured families, especially the children? Before you pick up that remote, pick up Reality Boy by A. S. King and be prepared for an incredible read!
Told by “Gerald,” a boy who faced the cameras at his worst as he relates what his life has become as the “victim” of the ratings game. His antics on national television haunt him years later and the effects are brutal. His voice is unique, honest and vulnerable in this dark and gritty tale that addresses the backlash of being “infamous” at only a few years old.
Author A. S. King is nothing short of brilliant in the packaging and delivery of this emotionally disturbing tale. I was taken into Gerald’s mind, felt his pain and feelings of betrayal by those who are supposed to protect him. Even his acceptance of his past is gut-wrenching as he struggles to control his anger and gain some self-respect.
This should be a must read for every producer and advertiser of these shows. This is one of those reads that will leave you shell-shocked in its wake. Aimed at YA readers, this should be a must read for all!
I received a review copy from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.
Posted January 3, 2014
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 22, 2013
No text was provided for this review.