* I was provided a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
Reality Boy is a heartbreaking story that is very much an eye opener. We often forget that children on reality TV aren’t given the choice of being on the show or not. And it’s just as easy for us to ignore the impact that may have on them as they grow up. This book is a perfect reminder of that. Another thing it reminds us of is that what “reality TV” shows most likely is not reality, but just extracted parts of their lives that have been pieced together to show whatever the powers that be want to show.
And while this is the main focus of the novel, it really is just a tool the author uses to explore the other problems in Gerald’s life as a little kid, and how they’ve grown into much larger issues. Overall the plot was great, and honestly I felt like it was story that would deserve to be in the bestsellers, with the exception of two problems I had. The first was the writing. The writing is kind of bland, especially when it comes to the dialog. It seemed more like a script when there was talking back and forth. And to be honest this really didn’t stand out to me too much until I reread a section out loud to my husband (because I thought it was funny, in its own very messed up way). The other problem I had with this story was he depended on Hannah so heavily. Had they broken up, I’d hate to have seen where the story would have ended up. Yes Hannah and Gerald seem like a great couple, with their comparable issues, but this might give kids the wrong idea as well. At least the author did emphasize how important to take it slow, although his wanting to wait to break rule #5 sure didn’t last very long.
I think that while some things definitely could be improved upon, the story itself is heartbreaking, hopeful, and original. A few characters might have benefited from further development, but others were well written, even the ones we are meant to dislike. Overall it’s an enlightening story, that while a good read the first time through, probably won’t warrant a second read from me unfortunately.