Thursday, October 18, 2012
Continuing in my series of giant covers, today we have Cracked, by K.M. Walton.
I finished this book the other day, and just wanted to briefly recommend it to all of you. Before I go into my reaction, here is the copy from Amazon:
In this gripping debut, a teen takes a bottle of pills and lands in the psych ward with the bully who drove him to attempt suicide.
Victor hates his life. He’s relentlessly bullied at school and his parents constantly ridicule him at home.
Bull is angry. He’s sick of his grandfather’s drunken beatings. And he likes to take out his rage on Victor.
Determined to end it all, Victor takes a bottle of his mother’s sleeping pills—only to be disappointed when he wakes up in the psych ward. And his roommate? None other than Bull, whose loaded-gun effort at self-defense has been labeled as a suicide attempt. Things go from bad to worse—until the boys discover they might just have something in common: a reason to live.
I loved this book. It was a very short, snappy read, but what it "lacked" in length, it made up for in depth. These characters are so alive with humanity, and so authentic in their portrayal of life as a male teenager, I can't believe the author is a woman (full disclosure: Kate is an internet friend of mine, but still).
They both start out a bit unlikeable. Not in the sense that you can't sympathize with them as a reader, but in the sense that these are real people, who are not perfect, and therefore might be annoying in real life. Bull is a bully, and an asshole, and Victor is weak, uncomfortable in his own skin, and afraid of his own shadow. This works perfectly though, because you can still completely sympathize with both their situations, and fully understand why they are the way they are. I don't want to go into too much detail and give away the plot, but suffice it to say, both boys have plenty of reason to be the way they are.
When the boys end up in the hospital, and are forced to face the hard truths about why they are the way they are, the story grows so honest that it moved me to tears several times. Having spent many years as a scared, lonely, angry, confused young man, I really felt for both these boys, and could relate to both their coping mechanisms.
I won't go on forever, but my favorite thing about this book was that it did not have an easy, happy ending. Yes, things get better for Bull and Victor by the end, but they're not perfect, and they go on about their lives much the way I expect real people would in this situation.
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever been in pain, and is willing to admit they might not always be proud of how they handled it. So, essentially ... everyone.