cover image Reality Boy

Reality Boy

A.S. King. Little, Brown, $18 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-22270-9

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. (Oct.)