Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: Cracked by K. M. Walton

Cracked by K. M. Walton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Hardcover, 311 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult
 ISBN: 978-1442434424

My Review:
I must admit that after the first few chapters I almost put this down.  Is is poorly written?  Absolutely not! Was it boring?  No way!  It was just painful.  This also causes me to admit that I am not the target audience for this book and this is one of those times where I think this may matter.  However I kept reading and I am glad I did.  Even though I am not the target audience of young adult (I am a parent of an almost 11-year-old and a 6-year-old and I'm approaching my late 30s), I took some great lessons away from this book and what starts out as a very painful book, becomes so much more by the end.

Why is it painful.  To me it was because of the parents that just did not care.  But maybe a lot of young adults can relate to that.  And to them I would love to apologize.  I am so sorry there are parents like this out there.  This book has also helped me to see how words can hurt.  I have always been careful to word my criticism of my kids like my parents did with me, but this book has made me even more aware.  I don't think we should go to the other extreme and make them think everything they do is wonderful because that is not how the world works, but constant verbal abuse is just about as bad as physical abuse if not worse at times because there are no outward scars to show.

Okay off my soapbox.  Cracked alternates chapters between Victor and Bull.  Victor is actually bullied by Bull and is just trying to get through life unnoticed.  He tried to be unnoticed by Bull, by kids at school and even at home because if he's noticed at home, he is sure to draw some sort of criticism from his mom and to be reminded that he was an "accident".  Bull is a bully of sorts, but his home life is far from ideal as well.  He lives in a small apartment with his grandfather and mom who both drink themselves into oblivion.  His grandfather beats him when he takes the notion and makes sure Bull knows that he is the reason they live like they do and that his grandmother died of a broken heart.  Bull's mom got pregnant at 17 and his dad didn't want him so obviously his situation is bad as well, he just chooses to act out instead of hiding like Victor.  But there is a different side to Bull as well.

Then the fateful last day of school comes, the one that lands both Bull and Victor in the psych ward under the 5-day forced commitment and they are in the same room.  Both are struggling with their own demons and they meet kids in the ward who have demons of their own and they begin to realize that they aren't alone.  This is the part I loved, when both came out of their shells.  It was great watching them come into their own in this environment and finding out that there are people that care.  This kept me turning the pages and glad I kept reading the book. 

The painful part is there for a reason, to make you appreciate the rest of the book even more.  And to show what some kids do go through and to show teenagers out there they aren't alone.  K.M. Walton did a brilliant job with this.  I think almost anyone can relate to Bull or Victor in some way or one of the other kids on the ward.  They may not be contemplating suicide, but I remember being a teenager and feeling alone even when I had friends.  This is one of those books that I think just speaks to teenagers.  And I like that it features male main characters, since I am raising boys and there isn't as much just plain contemporary fiction for them out there.  Cracked fills that void well.  It's a great book for teens and parents alike.  It's powerful, thought-provoking and unfortunately timely in a world of parents who are selfish and tuned out from their kids.  It's also a page-turner, you have to know what will happen to Victor and Bull next and how it will turn out.  It is an amazing book that I am sure will not leave my mind for quite a while.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Sometimes there's no easy way out.

Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.

Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.

When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better….

About the Author: 
K.M. Walton writes contemporary YA, middle grade suspense, picture books and nonfiction. Her debut contemporary YA novel, CRACKED comes out from Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster January 3, 2012. She is fortunate to be represented by the lovely Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown Ltd.

K. M. had a gazillion dreams when she was a little girl. Her biggest dream was to be a teacher. Teaching became a reality for K. M. and she taught for twelve glorious years – some of it in Osteen, Florida and most of it in Springfield, Pennsylvania. But, it turns out writing is her favorite thing to do. Even the hard parts – and there are a lot of hard parts.

K.M. Walton also co-authored a book on the teaching of mathematics called TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking published by Corwin Press.



FTC Information: I received this book through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love comments on the blog and do take the time to read them.