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Reality Boy
Cover of Reality Boy
Reality Boy
by A.S. King
Borrow

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" struggling to break free of his anger.


Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV 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. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

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" struggling to break free of his anger.


Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV 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. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    3.0
  • Lexile:
    620
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    K - 2

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • A.S. King is the author of the highly acclaimed books Glory O'Brien's History of the Future; Reality Boy; Ask the Passengers, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner; Everybody Sees the Ants; and the Edgar Award nominated, Michael L. Printz Honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 15, 2013
    King (Ask the Passengers) drafts a nuanced portrayal of a boy saddled with the nickname the Crapper because of his infamous behavior at age five on a reality show, Network Nanny. Now almost 17, Gerald Faust is ostracized by his peers, barely keeping his violent urges at bay, and grateful for his spot in special ed because, he says, “I need to not be on my guard all the time.... I need a place where I don’t need war paint to survive.” Although the Network Nanny episodes about Gerald’s family framed him as the problem child among his siblings, the truth was more disturbing, as King shows in flashbacks that are as uncomfortable to read as reality TV can be to watch, and equally impossible to turn away from. But this is a story about healing, and although Gerald stumbles as he takes his first steps—he frequently retreats to the fantasy world he calls Gersday and struggles to trust the girl he allows to get close—his candor invites sympathy from the first page. Ages 15–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 15, 2013
    "Everybody's so full of shit," declares the epigraph of this heart-pounding and heartbreaking novel, setting the tone of the narrative: cynical, disappointed and slyly funny. Gerald "the Crapper" Faust has not yet outlived the notoriety he achieved at age 5 by defecating on the kitchen table during their stint on Network Nanny, a "reality" television show that edited out most of the truth about his dysfunctional family life. Gerald has struggled to manage his anger in the 12 years since with the help of a few compassionate adults at school and work, but at its root, his rage remains unmitigated. In suspenseful flashbacks, Gerald details the damage wrought by his oldest sister, Tasha, a spoiled sociopathic despot. When he meets Hannah, a troubled beauty who sees him as he is instead of as he was, he cannot resist the possibility of genuine connection, despite the dangers. King deftly depicts the angst of first love in all its awkward, confusing glory. Even when she trots out the archetypical road-trip-as-journey-to-self-discovery, King writes with an honesty that allows Hannah and Gerald to call each other on their bullshit and ultimately arrive at an intimacy that feels neither forced nor false. This is no fairy-tale romance, but a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other and themselves. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-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

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books grapefruit - How would you feel if a reality TV show barged into your house when you were five--and it was about you? Gerald Faust spent the first five years of his dreadful life in this nightmare, a little retard who pooped on everything and screamed whenever he was upset. That's what everyone knows him as--the Crapper. Being on TV never helped his life, but made it worse. But everything changes when he meets a girl called Hannah, a sweetheart with her own life problems. Gerald is taken on a roller-coaster of love, fear, and surprise. But there's one thing for sure--his life is about to be changed.
  • Booklist

    September 15, 2013
    Grades 9-12 Seventeen-year-old Gerald became infamous at age five, when he took a dump on his family's kitchen table for the whole reality-TV viewing public to see. A network TV nanny came in to help Gerald be less of a problem child, but the cameras didn't catch what Tasha, his older sister and tormentor, was doing to him and his other sister, Lisi, or his mother's constant defense of her eldest daughter at the expense of her youngest children. And so Gerald continued to rage on. Though years of anger-management training and a boxing-gym regimen have helped him gain better control, his future still feels limited to jail or death. The narrative, though striking and often heartbreaking, is disjointed in places, namely with Gerald's grand plan to run away to the circus. However, this is still a King novel, and the hallmarks of her strong work are there: magical realism, heightened emotion, and the steady, torturous, beautiful transition into self-assured inner peace. Like Gerald, it's wonderfully broken.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • A New York Times Editors' Choice

    A 2013 Publishers Weekly Best YA Book

    A 2013 School Library Journal Best Book

    A 2013 Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book

    A 2013 VOYA Perfect Ten Book

    A 2013 Association of...

    A New York Times Editors' Choice

    A 2013 Publishers Weekly Best YA Book

    A 2013 School Library Journal Best Book

    A 2013 Kirkus Reviews Best YA Book

    A 2013 VOYA Perfect Ten Book

    A 2013 Association of Booksellers for Children Best Book for Children

    A 2014 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

    A 2014 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers BookAn Amazon Best Book of the Month

    A Publishers Weekly Book of the Week

    A Winter 2013-2014 Top Ten Kids' Indie Next List Pick

    A 2014 Texas Tayshas Reading List Top Ten Book

  • John Green, The New York Times Book Review A.S. King is one of the best Y.A. writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly.... Reality Boy is finally a novel about whether you are fated to the life the world expects you to have.
  • Kirkus Reviews, starred review Heart-pounding and heartbreaking.... a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other and themselves.
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review A nuanced portrayal....This is a story about healing.
  • VOYA, starred review King's writing is tighter, more focused, and better than ever....[An] intense and incredibly fresh plot.
  • Library Media Connection, starred review King offers a compelling look at possible long-term effects of reality shows.... thought-provoking and ultimately optimistic.
  • The Horn Book Put down the remote and pick up Reality Boy—it's a showstopper.
  • The Bulletin [A] smart and sympathetic story about breaking free from the world's expectations.
  • Dodie Ownes, SLJTeen We all know at least one teen who needs a book like this; I didn't know I needed it until I turned the last page.
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  • Publisher
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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