Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Monday, October 21, 2013
Reality Boy
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Standalone
Age Group: YA
Website
Source: Won from author (though this in no way affected my review) - thank you!
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.
Summary from Goodreads.

I want to give this book to every parent who has ever put their child on a reality TV show. And then I want to give this book to every single person who has ever watched one of those TV shows. And then (when they're old enough to read) I want to give this book to the kids who were forced on those shows.

Seriously, King's Reality Boy is biting at times in its (accurate) portrayal of reality TV, but it's also incredibly insightful, thoughtful, magical, and gritty. This is really just a fantastic premise for a book and one that is so flawlessly executed- it's everything the camera don't show and then some as the reader gets in the mind of a reality TV "star."

Said star, Gerald, is a very raw character and hugely sympathetic; King doesn't spare any of the horrid, heart-wrenching, and sometimes disgusting details of his life (as for the latter, I mean, he isn't known as "The Crapper" for nothing). I don't want to give away too much of his journey, but his progression throughout the story is tumultuous and quirky. It will make you laugh and cry and scowl at the utter injustice in his life, but Gerald's courage may just make you do a fist punch in the air, too (metaphorically, of course, especially if you're reading in public).

What's amazing is that every single character, even those who are there for only a scene, feels vital to the plot. What's even more incredible is that King can make you sympathize with any character, and considering one particular character (you'll understand when you read it), that is saying something.

Naturally, since this book is written by A.S. King, you won't be able to put it down. Every time I pick up one of her books, I'm just wowed by the way she combines the crazy with the everyday while still keeping it fresh in each novel. So, as a warning, you should try to start this when you aren't particularly busy/in want of sleep because there is a large chance you'll want to shirk your responsibilities and just keep reading.
*5 stars*
For Fans Of: Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Which is your favorite A.S. King book? OR Which A.S. King book do you plan on reading?

14 comments:

  1. This sounds like such a good read! And judging from your review that's exactly what it is. I haven't even heard about this book, but I'll be sure to check it out!

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    1. I hope you like it! All of A.S. King's books are amazing. She's one of my favorite realistic fiction writers.

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  2. Sara, so glad you liked this book too! My review is going live next week and like you, I could not put this book down and thought even the worst details of this book were like... so spot-on. King is a great writer and I feel like this book could lead to so many great bookish discussions. And it's also a great representation of life now.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it, too! It is a great representation of life now, unfortunately- the emotional disconnect, the sensationalism in the media, the obsession with reality TV... on and on.

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  3. I'm really curious about this book since the plot is intriguing and everyone seems to love it. But, I still have such a bad taste in my mouth over Dust of 100 Dogs that I've sworn off reading any of her books. Should I get over that? Have you read that book? I'm especially curious because you commented on how well she's drawn the characters and made them so sympathetic. I found the characters in Dust of 100 Dogs to all be awful, shallowly drawn, and not at all sympathetic. So, definitely curious to see how different this book is.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't read Dust of 100 Dogs, though it's in my TBR pile. It appears like her other books are VERY different, and having read all of the others, I can vouch that the characters are very well drawn and sympathetic.

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