Author: KM Walton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: January 3rd 2012
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
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My rating: 2 out of 5 starsVictor 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…
I love the idea for Cracked. Portraying both sides of a bullying incident, and pushing bully and bullied together in such an unlikely situation sounds fascinating. But the actual book didn't work for me; Cracked turned out to be too melodramatic and unrealistic for me to enjoy the novel.
Cracked starts out describing both Victor's and Bull's lives and how horrible everything is, which already didn't work for me. I don't want to sound insensitive, but it seemed like their stories were made up simply to make their lives as miserable as possible, instead of describing their issues in an honest kind of way. Their situations at home seemed too extreme to work with the later development of the story.
What happens later on, in the psych ward, didn't work for me either. The description makes it sound like the main focus will be the confrontations between Bull and Victor and the development of their relationship, but that turned out to be only a small part of the story. It makes sense this way, and it's realistic that Bull and Victor would avoid each other and interact only on a very minimal basis. But it bugs me that the description focuses on their relationship so much, using that as a hook when it doesn't end up taking the main focus.
Even without the relationship between Bull and Victor, their individual therapy and development could have been interesting. But that isn't the main focus, either. Instead, we focus on Bull's and Victor's relationships with other people, and that's where the novel got unrealistic. Of course they both find a girl at the ward to befriend, and of course it's a great idea not to care about therapy or working on yourself when you can fall in love with someone you met 24 hours ago instead. The whole mentality of instalove fixing your life just pisses me off.
The ending is too happy and unrealistic. Of course they both end up having people in their lives who care for them whom they didn't have before, meaning they never had to actually work on their problems because they just solved themselves. Especially Patty coming into Victor's life is just ridiculously unrealistic and cliched.
This novel had a lot of potential, but it went in a very different direction than I'd hoped. Instead of getting to see the main characters confront each other and their individual problems, we saw their lives being fixed by romance and the sudden appearance of supportive people, which, to me, made Cracked cliched, melodramatic, and unrealistic.