Cracked by K.M Walton [twitter | website]
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: ARC received from the Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour
Why I requested it: Loved the idea of two unlikely characters being roommates.
Summary: Victor and Bull are sworn enemies. Bull terrorizes Victor, and Victor roams the hallways of his high school seemingly invisible. His home life isn’t any better; his parents remind him each birthday that he was an accident and was never wanted. Bull’s grandpa and mom are always drunk, there’s very little food, and he hangs out in the cemetery to avoid the regular beatings he receives. Bull and Victor become roommates in the psych ward after an incident goes wrong with Bull and Victor swallows too many sleeping pills.
Cracked is K.M. Walton’s debut novel, and she’s coming out with a bang. While Cracked seems to be a very serious book according to my summary, I found Walton did an incredible job balancing the serious with laugh out loud moments. I breezed through the pages and couldn’t get enough of Victor and Bull.
Victor felt invisible. He would sometimes go days without speaking to anyone but his dog, Jazzer. He was never good enough for his parents, and while they were never physically abusive, their treatment certainly took a toll on him mentally. It didn’t help that Bull ridiculed him, hit him, and called him names at school. It just didn’t seem like he had much to live for so he tried to overdose on sleeping pills when his parents fled to Europe for vacation without him.
Bull, real name William, really made me upset when I read about him from Victor’s point of view. (Each chapter alternated between their two points of view.) However, when I got into his world, I felt so disgusted by his living conditions and the almost daily beatings his grandfather put him through. I didn’t excuse his actions and mistreatment of Victor, but I did understand how he was displacing his anger on someone else. When he comes across a gun he tries to devise a plan to make things “better” but things backfire (no pun intended) and he ends up in the psych ward with Victor.
What an unlikely situation that two enemies would be roommates. Their inner dialogues had me laughing out loud when they realized there was no way they could change their circumstances. They both have secrets no one else knows, but they’re forced to sit in group therapy sessions and reveal all their emotions. These were the times I was so glad Cracked was written in first person – I got to know every single humorous or sad thought that crossed through their minds. In the short time they were in the psych ward, both were forced to come to terms with their feelings regarding two pretty ladies. (Well, three if you include the nurse Bull was crushing on.)
I really, really enjoyed Cracked. It felt extremely realistic. I love how it focused on the boys being worth something. They realized they had something to live for, and they became fighters (not in the physical sense, of course). Cracked came out in January, so you should definitely check it out!
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