May 11, 2015

Wicked Review: Reality Boy by A.S King

Published: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Borrowed Paperback
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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.

This book is so screwed up (I want to use the 'f' word but that would be so inappropriate...) but it's so beautiful, I love it so much. Now I know why A.S King is loved by all.

You see, from the first chapter, I can feel Gerald's anger. His no-holds-bar attitude kept me on edge and the fact that he has to live with such a screwed up family had me biting my nails. There are so many things going on in the book that I just don't know where to start.

I feel sorry and at the same time, I am proud of Gerald. For one, no kid, let me tell you, no kid deserves a childhood like his. I MEAN REALLY?! A REALITY SHOW?! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!? WHO DOES THAT?!!? Why would any parent do that to their child? Don't parents USUALLY keep their children away from the television or the Internet for fear of the "bad and unhealthy stuff"? RIGHT?! He lives with his crazy mother, clueless father, psychopathic older sister and another sister who's left them for a better life. What kind of parent are you to let your child that he or she is "retarded" or "learning disable"? I know I shouldn't talk like this because for one I don't have a kid of my own so obviously, parenting is a foreign concept to me. Trust me when I tell you that anyone with a brain and two eyes would realize how perfectly dysfunctional Gerald's family is.

Now that I have it out of the way, let's talk about Gerald. So, Gerald has learned how to keep his anger in check by attending anger management classes and boxing as exercise. This is a weird combination, I know but for him, it works. He goes on with his life even if he's stuck in the special education class or that kids at school taunt him and call him names or that he's in love with the girl at register #1.

He gets in trouble later in the book for shutting down completely from reality. In his head, there's this place where he can escape to. I think this is an effect of having to be in a reality TV show. He got so exposed to other people and what people see think is the 'real' thing and that's when he lost the concept of reality.

It's heavy but it's heartwarming. It's depressing but it'll make you happy. It's fictional but it seems so real. This is Reality Boy.

A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed REALITY BOY, 2013 LA Times Book Prize winner ASK THE PASSENGERS, 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. She is also the author of the ALA Best Books for Young Adults THE DUST OF 100 DOGS as well as a collection of award-winning short stories for adults, MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP.

Look for Amy's work in anthologies DEAR BULLY, BREAK THESE RULES and LOSING IT. (And brace yourself for 2014's novel, GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE.) Find more at

p.s.- If I don't accept your friend request, don't feel sad. It's because I don't really use Goodreads even though I'm completely thrilled that you do!

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