Reality Boy

By: A. S. King

Gerald became famous as a tantrum-throwing kid on a reality TV show. Twelve years later, he’s still recognized by strangers . . . and still dealing with his rage.

ISBN: 9780316222709

JLG Release: Nov 2013


Sensitive Areas: Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes
Topics: Family problems , Emotional problems , Dating , Fame , Reality television programs

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Awards & Honors

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013, Children’s Fiction; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2013; SLJs Best Books of 2013, Fiction; YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults; YALSA 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers; VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2013

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
When 16-year-old Gerald was 5, his parents made a contract to appear on a reality television show where a stage nanny offered techniques to mend their beyond-repair family. Gerald was targeted as the problem child when it was actually his psychopathic sister, Tasha, who was the true menace. His parents turned a blind ey
[STARRED REVIEW]
When 16-year-old Gerald was 5, his parents made a contract to appear on a reality television show where a stage nanny offered techniques to mend their beyond-repair family. Gerald was targeted as the problem child when it was actually his psychopathic sister, Tasha, who was the true menace. His parents turned a blind eye, repeatedly allowing their firstborn to torment and threaten the lives of Gerald, sister Lisi, and even the mother while the edited television broadcasts skewed the truth. At first, readers will be taken aback when they learn that little on-camera Gerald defecated on Tasha’s and his mother’s belongings, earning him the infamous nickname “Crapper,” but they will soon realize that in his young mind it was his only weapon of defense in a desperate situation. The horror and injustice of it all follow insecure, agry Gerald into his teens. So does fearsome, unemployed Tasha when she moves into the family’s basement with her boyfriend, has loud and regular sex, and is still enabled by their parents. When Gerald warily falls in love with Hannah, a schoolmate and coworker with family troubles of her own, “kidnapping” themselves by running away together seems their only recourse to wake up their parents. King’s trademarks—attuned first-person narrative, convincing dialogue, realistic language, and fitting quirkiness—connect effectively in this disturbing, yet hopeful novel. Not since Norma Fox Mazer’s disquieting When She Was Good (Scholastic, 1997) has an emotionally and mentally deranged sibling and dysfunctional parents wreaked such havoc on a main character who still manages to survive and grow beyond it.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO

SLJ’s Best Books December 2013, Fiction
When he was five years old, millions of viewers saw Gerald Faust defecate in his mother’s shoes on a reality TV show. Twelve years later, he is as angry and confused as he was then. In this honest and unflinching portrayal, King grapples with issues of identity, love, and self-acceptance.

Horn Book

When Gerald was five, TV’s Network Nanny (complete with British accent and the “naughty chair”) came to his house, along with camera crews, to help solve his behavior problems—apparently he screamed a lot and punched walls. Now nearly seventeen, Gerald bears the emotional scars of having his deeply dysfunctional childhood na When Gerald was five, TV’s Network Nanny (complete with British accent and the “naughty chair”) came to his house, along with camera crews, to help solve his behavior problems—apparently he screamed a lot and punched walls. Now nearly seventeen, Gerald bears the emotional scars of having his deeply dysfunctional childhood nationally televised—and worse, edited to make him seem like the troubled one in the family. He became known as “the Crapper” for defecating on tables and in closets, but we soon learn the reason for his behavior: his oldest sister Tasha, obviously a psychopath, had been trying, early and often, to kill him and their sister Lisi. When Gerald meets Hannah, he discovers he’s not the only one with a messed-up family, and the two teens decide to run away together. There’s less here of the magical realism for which King is known (Everybody Sees the Ants, rev. 1/12; Ask the Passengers, rev. 1/13), but fans will recognize the author’s expert skill at believably portraying a bullied, neglected, angry teen in desperate need of healing and love. As always, King’s societal critique is spot-on and scathing, this time examining the dehumanization wrought by reality television on its “stars” and on its viewers in order to feel better about themselves. Put down the remote and pick up Reality Boy—it’s a showstopper. jennifer m. brabander

Junior Library Guild

  • Enthralling and powerful, Reality Boy is another outstanding novel by gifted author A. S. King.
  • King provides a rare and convincing look at a young man deeply troubled by rage. Scarred by childhood trauma, Gerald faces a daily struggle to control himself: “No matter how much anger management coaching I’ve had,
    • Enthralling and powerful, Reality Boy is another outstanding novel by gifted author A. S. King.
    • King provides a rare and convincing look at a young man deeply troubled by rage. Scarred by childhood trauma, Gerald faces a daily struggle to control himself: “No matter how much anger management coaching I’ve had, I know that if I had a gun, I’d shoot Nichols in the back as he walks away with his beer. I know that’s murder and I know what that means. It means I’d go to jail. And the older I get, the more I think maybe I belong in jail.”
    • Gerald’s inherent good nature and tenacious optimism balance out his anguish—and set the stage for a romance with a coworker. Gerald has avoided pursuing his crush on “Register #1 Girl” (real name: Hannah) so as not to upset his delicate emotional equilibrium, but when he sees her walking alone one night, he offers her a ride. Finding common ground in their difficult home lives, they begin a relationship that is both charming and emotionally raw.
    • The narrative is interspersed with Gerald’s recollections of his youthful star turn on a nanny reality TV show. The flashbacks provide troubling glimpses at the deep—and ongoing—family dysfunction that led to Gerald’s anger issues, smartly informing the present-day story line and building to a dramatic break with his troubled mother and older sister.
    • Being with Hannah shows Gerald that he’s not alone in his pain, and the two of them eventually take drastic but necessary measures to protect themselves. Many readers will be comforted and inspired by their story.

Book Details

ISBN

9780316222709

First Release

November 2013

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

368

Accelerated Reader

Level 3.8; Points: 10;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.5; Points: 18;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Little, Brown

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Strong Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes

Topics

Family problems, Emotional problems, Dating, Fame, Reality television programs,

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