Book Review: Reality Boy

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"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."

Reality Boy is lovely. A.S. King, as usual, tackles the teen experience in America with some brutal honesty. That's what this author does: reality.

I may never have gone to school with kids who were on a "reality TV" show (I'm too old for that, thank goodness), but I knew plenty of kids who were angry, and didn't have a clear way to okay.

We all know that "reality TV" is farcical, where editors create storylines out of people's lives and NOBODY is represented accurately or fairly. But combining that with a bad home life (actually, two separate instances of bad home life) and resulting in characters who are real, pitiable but not necessarily likable, and a hero's journey of fixing was lovely.

This was a fairly quick read, mostly because it's engaging. I really liked Gerald's voice, and the snarky narrative humor woven throughout, and the concept that anger is okay and accepting the humility and risk of love is okay. So I'm officially an A.S. King fan now.

Also, I listened to this via audiobook, and the narrator did a great job. There's a lot of swearing but it's edited as "Eff this" throughout....I couldn't tell if that was an edit done by the author, or the audiobook publisher. 

I highly recommend this for fans of contemporary YA, classic but realistic 'coming of age' stories, people whose home lives were messed up or who have sympathy for those folks, fans of realism and honesty in narrative voice and (of course) anyone who had read and liked any A.S. King novel.

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