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.
"You think you know everything about me. You. Know. Nothing."
Okay. I’ll admit it. The full extent of this story didn’t hit me right away. I didn’t hit me in any of the quotes or in any of the words. It didn’t hit me in the beginning, middle or end. Not the first or the last page.
It hit me exactly one day, about five hours and some minutes after that. Which is when I started writing the first draft of this review, right then and there. And it was only just then that I saw all of the words that popped out to me.
I can relate to Gerald so much as a person, how he feels at certain points in time, even though our lives aren’t the same in any way.
"My anger coach would say Stay in the present, Gerald. But it 's hard when nothing ever changes. For sixteen years, eleven months, and two weeks, I've been drowning."
There’s so much clarity and complexity and everything all at once about Gerald. For most of the story, at least the first part anyway, I identified Gerald as angry. Insane. Rebellious. Self-destructing. Resentful. But ti came to that, as quoted by John Green in LOOKING FOR ALASKA, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Gerald is more, much more, than the sum of his parts.
"Do you mind if I hug you?" she asks.
I shake my head no.
And when she hugs me, something really weird happens. Before I can even figure out what's going on, I'm crying. Like really crying. It's like someone is twisting open a spigot. I'm facing the ketchup containers, so no one at stand five can see this. And the harder I cry, the more she hugs me and the softer she is. The longer I cry, the more I realize what's happening.
I am being hugged. In ten years, I have been terrorized, scrutinized, criticized, and even terrorized by a handful of Network Nanny viewers. Never was I hugged.
I bet you’ll say it at least once when you read this. Oh, Gerald. According to my status update on Goodreads, I said it officially on page 132. But bear with me here while I try to sort through all of these thoughts. Gerald… in a sense, I guess you could say that he is the way he is–like a normal person. Everyone has their own issues, and Gerald is no exception.
I wish I was the hockey lady that hugged him. King really got through to me with REALITY BOY, by far making up for ASK THE PASSENGERS. Though I didn’t feel it a lot of the time for Hannah and Gerald, I still thought that their romance was spread out over a little bit of time pretty well. Their relationship was very extreme, almost like a calmer version of the relationship between Pat and Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook.
I felt like the pltow as slow at times. The pacing just didn’t work for me. Really the only way I can describe this book right now is through the caption in bold yellow lettering on the hardback.
Does Gerald? Does a boy struggling to find himself and break past the bindings of the world he grew up upon, when there was no one there for him, have what it takes to grant himself a better life? REALITY BOY is fearless, tough and, as Jonathan Maberry blurbed it, “a powerhouse of insight and empathy toward the people who cruise the fringes of acceptable behavior.”
No, I did not ship the romance. No, the pacing did not work for me. And yes, I would definitely read it again. 4.3 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 368