Reality Boy by A.S. King


A.S. King is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are poignant, always keep me guessing, and utterly realistic. She writes teenagers better than almost any other young adult author currently writing--so true and authentic.

Gerald Faust is Reality Boy--the child star from a decade old reality TV show called Network Nanny that filmed and then aired a cut-up, false version of the violent, disturbing home he grew up in. Now, that's all he's known for and why he's constantly bullied; he's the Crapper--the kid who pooped on things to get back at a mother and sister Tasha who abused him. But of course, that part never made it on TV.

Though I couldn't relate to the childhood lived by Gerald, he felt like someone I'd known for years; that's how well he was written. He was angry--rightfully so--and he was stuck with a mother who couldn't love him and a sister who literally tried to kill him dozens of times since he was three years old. But he was the "bad kid"; the kid who crapped on everything. It didn't matter why, people just enjoyed watching the disgusting entertainment on their screen.

And his sister, Tasha. Son of a Nutcracker. I don't think I've ever hated a character as much as her--other than Voldemort. But she was worse. She was a certifiable psychopath. And the mother just went along with her on everything. It made the book hard to read at times, but also impossible to put down. I kept hoping she would change, get better or make amends, but I continued to be shocked and livid. But hey, the fact that I hated her so much proves how well written she was.

The book did have some flaws, however. It wasn't perfect. And the biggest flaw to me was Hannah, the love interest. I just didn't like her that much. She was insensitive. She didn't understand/believe how bad Network Nanny had screwed up Gerald, and expected him to just "get over it" and "get a sense of humor" about it. I didn't like that about her. And she was pretty dramatic and sporadic; unpredictable in a bad way. But she did mesh well with Gerald and their relationship was accurate to the kind of relationship Gerald would have--crazy and true.

Overall, this book was top notch. A.S. King is a genius and I am quickly reading everything I can by her, eager for her heartfelt characters and creative story lines.

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