Day: October 14, 2014

Reality Boy – A.S. King

Reality Boy

Reality Boy

Author: A.S. King

Publish Date: October 22nd, 2013

Number of Pages: 353

Genre: YA, Contemporary

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.


Review

Reality Boy had almost everything I was hoping for. Almost.

I knew it was going to be about a messed up teenager who’s life had been ripped apart by his family and Network Nanny. I wasn’t expecting anything about crap to show in the novel. I feel so bad for Gerald because “The Crapper” has to be one of the most humiliating nicknames ever. Gerald’s story was so unhappy. His growth and realization as he goes through school and learns to open up to other people is something that was rewarding to read about. He’s a misunderstood soul that’s been labelled as a criminal simply because of the fact that he was never taught how to portray his emotions. His character was raw and realistic, someone that was characterized very very well. I couldn’t help but sympathize with him. There were multiple scenes in this book that just made me want to give Gerald a hug. By the end of the book, I wanted to applaud him for finally stepping up and becoming a stronger character. He’s a really nice person but the outsiders have been deluded by the superficial image they have of his childhood persona.

I didn’t really like the love interest, Hannah. I found her kind of annoying at times but I can understand how Gerald would have liked her. The build-up for them was really cute. They are a good couple but I couldn’t feel the chemistry. Part of the reason I didn’t really like it was because of the fact that I didn’t like Hannah as a character.

I loved the setting of this story. The hockey arena, school, house, every crucial setting was described very well. I could imagine the format of the hockey arena and his house. I could vividly picture nearly every setting in the book.

Plot-wise, I felt like the book was lacking. It’s entirely about Gerald’s road to recovery and realization and it’s a heart-breaking one at that. It’s told in a combination of scenes from the show that Gerald’s family was on, Network Nanny, and the present. It’s a very effective form of storytelling. By doing this, King slowly reveals more and more snippets of Gerald’s past and links it to how it affected the future. While her storytelling skills were great, the plot was not good enough. The important moments were distinct (moments when he reflects on his family, key events in the book, etc.), but the connections between them sometimes dragged.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books where the main characters seem to suffer from some type of mental disorder. In this case, Gerald has anger-management issues and King handles the subject matter extremely well. She shows that there are multiple layers to a victim’s anger and that even if the victim says that he or she isn’t trying, some of them genuinely want to recover. She brings up the idea that family issues can be the reason that a someone is the way that they are. And most importantly, she addresses the amount of truth that lies in reality television. We all know that reality tv is completely fake through and through but in the process of creating these shows, the children and actors are negatively impacted.

I didn’t like the writing in Reality Boy. I thought that it matched Gerald’s tone and personality but personally, I didn’t enjoy reading it. It felt scattered and choppy, which I suppose, is what King might have been trying to accomplish in this novel (that is, the disorganized, highly-unstable mind of an angry teenager).

There were some plot aspects that I loved about the book. Gerald and Hannah’s list of demands (basically a list of stuff they wanted from their dysfunctional families/parents). The story about Gerald and his sister Lisi (Lisis worked her butt off to escape their house). The circus. Gerald’s class (He was placed in the special-needs class by his mother.). Although it was awful for Gerald, I really liked the parts of the story with Tasha (sex-fiend who does it loudly in the basement with no remorse). The boxing. The hockey fan that recognized Gerald.

All in all, a pretty good book that occasionally dragged.

3.5/5 Stars

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to

Visit

50ab0-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.


Ohhhh this one is going to be fun. I can’t even begin to count the number of places I’ve wanted to visit because of books.

1. Anna and the French Kiss – Paris France

I’ve always wanted to go to Paris for a number of reasons. It sounds beautiful, it’s the fashion capital of the world, they have ballet, art, music, and all sorts of stuff! There’s so many things that you can do in France. The French boarding schools plus Anna’s fun personality only reaffirmed my want to go there.

IT LOOKS BOOTIFUUULLLLLL.

2. The Sister’s Grimm Series (Michael Buckley) – The Hall of Wonders

A hall full of artifacts from every single fairytale? Sign me up for the next tour because I really really want to go there. I don’t care if I get kicked out. I wanna see the magical stuff guys! (And maybe steal some of the wands.)

It’s an added plus if I can meet Puck and Sabrina (PUCKABRINA FTW!)

3. Sarah Dessen’s Books – Every single town mentioned

Sarah Dessen excels at making her settings amazing. They are small towns with well-drawn locations and I always want to visit the places! In Along For the Ride, I wanted to go to that beach town and shop at the boutique Auden worked at. In This Lullaby, I wanted to be BFFs with Remy and go touring with Dexter. In The Truth About Forever, I wanted to live in Macy’s house and ride around the town in the catering truck. All of her books make me want to take a trip to those towns (even if they are purely fictional ;;)

4. Every Soul a Star (Wendy Mass) – Moon Shadow

The majority of this book takes place in an isolated campground. And this isolated campground is beautiful. I usually HATE astronomy (it’s like my least favorite subject) but I make an exception for this book. If someone offered to take me to this campground, I’d take the offer in a heartbeat. I’d totally go there to stargaze and listen to Ally ramble on about the stars. Mass just describes the setting so well. She took a plain setting and turned it into something that was memorable.

5. When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead) – NYC BABY!

I read this book back in 4th grade and I was hooked. This was my favorite book for a very long time because of the time-travel concept in it and the fact that Miranda referenced A Wrinkle In Time like a bajillion times. It’s like I connected to her because we were bookworms y’know? Anyways, the mystery in this novel and the descriptions of all of the settings make me wanna visit this specific neighborhood of New York City, at the time period it’s in (1980’s-ish btw). I would legit wanna visit Jimmy’s and the pizza place and the studio of the $20,000 Pyramid and her house and like everything in-between. Combine that with my love of NYC in general and…. yup I really want to go there.

6. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloane) – His bookstore and Google’s headquarters

I love the concept of a mystery being hidden in the shop. The entire shop sounds simply amazing because of the great description of the shelves and desk. It sounds like my perfect place to go searching for an amazing book. Later on in the book, they go to Google’s headquarters and the description sounds like it would be really fun to just nose around all the fancy schmancy machines there.

7. The Cat Royal Series (Julia Golding) – 18th Century London

I thank one of my friends so much for introducing this series to me. I already loved Julia Golding but I had no idea that she had a historical fiction series.

This is set in London and Cat’s mischief and adventures in this town are some of the most charming things ever. I want to attend a play at the theatre and hang out with Cat and Pedro!

8. Al Capone at Alcatraz Series (Gennifer Choldenko) – Alcatraz in the 1930’s

I don’t think it’s supposed to be smart for me to want to go to Alcatraz when there are still prisoners on there…. but Moose and the other kids that lived there made their home seem like such a great place to explore! I might get beaten up by a criminal but hey, at least I can play a fun game of baseball and fail with the other kids!

And now for the ones that EVERYBODY wants to go to

9. Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling) – Hogwarts or Hogsmeade

Anybody who’s a Potterhead probably admit to dreaming of the day that they can go to Hogwarts. I don’t even care that there are so many steps to get places (we could all use it as our daily exercise requirement), I’d be bouncing off the walls if I could just shadow a student’s class there. The entire school just looks so antique and magical. I love it. If I can’t go to Hogwarts, I could go to Hogsmeade then. I wouldn’t be opposed to that either. BUTTAHBEEEERRRRR.

DOESN’T IT LOOK BEAUTIFUL?????

10. Percy Jackson Series/The Heroes of Olympus Series (Rick Riordan) – Camp Half-Blood/Camp Jupiter

I don’t even care if I can’t go in. It’s enough if I can just see the hill and Thalia’s tree (even if I’ll only end up seeing a strawberry farm ;__;). And for Camp Jupiter, I can look at the entrance in the Caldecott Tunnel. It would be nice if I could actually tour the camps. If the gods could make an exception for me…… well I wouldn’t be opposed to that. 😉


Where in books do you want to go?