Friday, November 22, 2013

Review ~ Reality Boy by A.S. King

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 368 (for hardcover edition)
Publication date: October 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Amazon 


*I receive a small kickback for purchases on Amazon

Goodreads description:
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.


Source: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for allowing me to read it!

First of all, I want to say awesome it is that this book was in the "Read Now" section of Netgalley. My request for it on Edelweiss was declined, so I jumped at the chance to read this book when I saw that I just download and read it.

Anyway, forward with the review.

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.

THE WRITING

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 YA Book Mother award, she would be an excellent candidate for it.

GOOD ROMANCE

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.

OVERALL

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.



My questions for you:

Do you really like flawed characters like I do?
What do you think of male only POVs?
Who would you nominate to win the 2013 Worst YA Book Mother award?

6 comments:

  1. Glad you really enjoyed this book Kaitlin! Flawed characters are interesting, because they are unpredictable. I've read a few reviews of this and they are all glowing. Great review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. I'm glad you've been hearing great things about this book! Maybe you'll read it sometime. :)

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  2. Lovely review! Coincidentally, I've actually been looking for a YA book with a male protagonist who actually has a male voice (you'd be surprised, there aren't many books like that.) I'm a bit annoyed with all the "mean moms" in the genre; there are only a handful of caring, supporting parents. I'm not sure if I'd like that aspect of the book, but the characters and writing sound brilliant.

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    1. When it comes to this bad mom, though, there's an actual purpose behind her being that way. It's an essential part to the story. One of the biggest reasons why the MC is so flawed is his mom and her attitude towards him. This is one of the times where, if the mom was a supportive one, there really wouldn't be a reason behind the story that was told. So, I really hope the parents don't turn you away from reading the book! It's a brilliant book!

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  3. This sounds like such an awesome book, how have I not heard it? BTW I like your new format for your review. And to answer you questions I love flawed characters! It makes them more believable and realistic. I character with no flaws just seems too perfect and for some reason it's not appealing. Oh the logic....I have never really liked male POV's because I have never found a writer who has pulled it off properly. Sometimes I find there is no distinction between a girls and a boys so that really irks me! Anways I can ramble on forever, great review!

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    1. I think there needs to be more great male POV! The author did a really good job with the POV, so maybe this could be the first book you feel the author pulled it off properly?

      Thank you! I really like my new review format, too. It actually makes it easier for me to write my reviews, and it actually helps me write longer ones, too.

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