Title: Reality Boy
Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 10/22/13
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I loved Gerald, the main character. He was one of those unexpected characters that I ended up really sympathizing with and understanding, even though I have nothing in common with him. His narration was extremely compelling, especially the detached way he spoke about his childhood and the way his hope grew and evolved throughout the story. It was really interesting, too, because he spends a lot of the book in his own world, or in an almost trance-like state when his anger overwhelms him. A.S. King did a wonderful job of sticking to his voice in these parts, even while other things were happening around him.
Memorable or Forgettable: I thought many parts of this book were unexpected. The storyline was unique, and his family members, especially the mother and sister, were a great twist in the story. The ending, too, was a surprise for me, and it did a really good job of being hopeful and conclusive, but not too happy. I also really enjoyed that the love interest was just as messed up as Gerald was, they both continued to make really stupid mistakes. I feel like too often the girl is a pure, innocent savior put into contrast with the boy's dark, tortured soul, and in this case, they both needed to save each other.
Cover: I really like this cover. I think it uses the primary colors in a really interesting way; that is pretty unusual for teen books. I like how the boy on the front has his eyes closed, as Gerald often retreats to the world in his head. Overall, it fits the book: colorful, chaotic, and right on the brink of crazy.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: How do you understand your family's problems when they are all public, not private? How do you understand yourself when everyone in your town thinks they have you figured out? For Gerald Faust, reality TV star, the answers to these questions are not so easy. The best he can do is try to stay out of prison, though his overwhelming anger may get the better of him.
tags: contemporary / realistic fiction / coming-of-age / sociology / abuse / mental health / family / romance / ya lit