3 May 2015

Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Title: Reality Boy
Author: A.S. King
Published: October 22nd 2013
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 353
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.


At first, I really enjoyed reading about how messed up Gerald was but then I started to feel like there was more to his anger issues, it seemed to be a part of something larger but it was oversimplified by his anger management coach(?). It just seemed like there was something more to it and I couldn't shake this feeling off for the rest of the book. I would think that you would suffer from more than just anger issues if you had such a crazy family. It just seems a lot more complex but it was never addressed.

Then he meets a girl and this became so reminiscent of John Green that I couldn't stop comparing. Troubled boy meets troubled girl and together they try to help each other. I was not at all interested in the Register #1 girl (I can't remember her name) and she sounded just like that girl in Looking for Alaska, which I also couldn't care for. I know I sound so heartless since Register #1 girl does suffer from some serious issues as well but I just didn't connect with her. The relationship was also really strange and I was just not convinced. Do people really behave this way?

I went into this thinking that I would be able to really get into the head of a reality tv star, as per its summary, but we mostly just get recounts/flashbacks of what happened while they were filming the show and a lot of decision-making happening in Gerald's head. Things didn't get as deep as I was expecting and it really fell short in the feels department for me. I wanted to know how he really felt, if he was in pain, if he felt wronged etc. I mean we do get into Gerald's head but he was not the most introspective character. We do see a bit of change in him towards the end but it was too little too late. He just seemed a little too crazy and unfocused, making it very difficult for me to connect with him.

However, I did enjoy the writing style and I felt that it really helped in the portrayal of Gerald and it was rather unique. It probably did its job too well since he sounded too crazy for me to connect with. But he is not really crazy, he just has anger management issues, so why does he sound so off even when he is not angry? He sounded more autistic to me rather than someone with simply anger management issues, so this was a rather confusing read for me.


All in all, I am not really sure how I feel about this book. This was good but not that good. I wanted all the feels but I didn't really get it and I could not connect with the characters. Reality Boy feels very incomplete in terms of addressing the mental issues of the various characters, it felt like there was a lot more to Gerald, Sister, Mother, Register #1 girl.  I just needed a little more from it and this would have been amazing! I would definitely be checking out A.S. King's other works though, I really enjoyed her writing style!

Recommended for John Green fans.

Plot: 3.5/5 
Pacing: 3/5
Originality: 3.5/5 
Writing style: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5 
Feels: 3/5
Enjoyment: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I just heard about this book a few days ago. The synopsis sounds intriguing.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!