Monday, September 23, 2013

Slap and Run

You know how it goes. Book launch is coming. Reviews start to trickle in. I start showing up here and slapping up praise because it's nice to share praise, isn't it?

I'd like to write a brilliant post right now about something helpful and awesome. But I'm mid-line edits and they are due on Wednesday. So today is a slap-and-run.

We got a fantastic review for REALITY BOY from Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Chicago on Friday. I want to share it because it made me smile.

Reality Boy By A.S. KingOctober/ Ages 15 & Up/ $18.00ISBN: 978-0-316-22270-9 
Anger has long been the driving force in Gerald’s life, a fact that first came to prominence on national television, when he was five and his family starred in the reality show Network Nanny. His method of conveying his anger then has left him with the lifetime nickname of “the Crapper,” but his rages subsequently turned to more direct physical violence, including the savaging of a classmate’s face a few years ago. Now sixteen and the beneficiary of some reasonably successful anger management therapy, Gerald is beginning to examine the cause of that anger: a psychotic older sister who’s tried to kill him his entire life, a mother who’s so determined to exonerate her beloved daughter that she’d rather paint Gerald as a monster to the whole country, and a father who let his son be destroyed rather than stand up to his wife. Though a realistic story, this novel is also an effective psychological horror tale, a modern saga of domestic gaslighting; the most satisfying moments are those when an external observer, whether it be Network Nanny herself or an appalled long-ago viewer of the show encountering Gerald now, sees through the pretense to the real rot in the family. His anger is therefore satisfyingly, righteously justified and understandable (if uncontrolled), but King wisely takes her protagonist past that confirmation to the difficult task of building a different future. His tentative, growing relationship with a girl, Hannah (a masterfully characterized blend of independence, uncertainty, and annoyance), provides opportunity for both success and failure but in new, more functional ways, and it also gives him the strength to pull himself out of the story that’s been written for his life. The TMZ-level draw of the premise will definitely pull readers in, but they’ll find a surprising amount to relate to in this smart and sympathetic story about breaking free from the world’s expectations.

Previous Trade Reviews: -Kirkus, 9/15/13 ***STARRED*** -PW, 7/15/13 ***STARRED*** -SLJ, 10/1/13 ***STARRED***

I have slapped and now I will run.

1 comment:

Matthew MacNish said...

I demand that everyone reads this book.