Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cracked, by K.M. Walton


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.

16 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Books don't need to be long to pack a punch.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Doh! I actually read this book and haven't reviewed it yet. I totally forgot. I need to do that soon. My brain has been scattered. I too liked it, especially for the boy protagonists. That's rather unusual. And the writing is really good.

Nancy Thompson said...

Adding it to my TBR list right now. Thanks, Matthew!

maine character said...

Sounds excellent.

T. Drecker said...

Ug! My TBR list is getting too long. But I'll definitely add this one to it!

Candyland said...

I'll say it again: Love K.M. and I've been waiting for this book since it was called "Everything's Not Lost" (is that right?) when we did the Sourcebooks contest :)

So great to see her shine 2.5 years later!!!

Andrew Leon said...

Stop telling me to read stuff! :P

Christina Lee said...

Woot WOOOOOOOT! Love this book (as you already know) and love me some Kate. And Matt, her next book, Empty, is going to knock your flipping socks off! She is AMAZING! xoxo

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've heard good things about this book.

Christine Danek said...

I loved this book as well. So awesome!!! Of course, Kate rocks as well. Coolest person on Earth. :)

mshatch said...

I've been wanting to read this - maybe I should recommend it to my library...

thanks.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Just spent Tuesday evening with Kate at our local Barnes and Noble, by coincidence. She's awesome and so is her book!

Also there was E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin. You like science fiction, right Matt? You would like Fair Coin.

Angela Brown said...

I better make sure this one is on my TBR list. My blog tour is getting closer to the end and I'll probably go on a reading binge during November as I take a break and "breathe". Thanks for the recommendation.

Michael G-G said...

"My favorite thing about this book was that it did not have an easy, happy ending."

I appreciate that too--though it's hard to really do it justice. The fact that this book brought you to tears on occasion is also indicative of its power.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love this cover and this book. I can't wait for Kate's next one. I've heard it's great.

Guilie said...

Great review here, thanks for sharing. Love the cover, and the story / characters sound riveting. It is, indeed, the mark of an excellent writer when non-perfect characters are brought to life in ways that make us connect with them.