Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cracked by K.M. Walton

Cracked by K.M. Walton
January 3, 2012; Simon Pulse


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…. (courtesy of Goodreads)


Like many readers, my enjoyment of a book is strongly influenced by my mood. I happen to prefer books that match my current state of emotions. If I’m happy, I want something light and fluffy. If I’m depressed, I want a dark novel. I picked up Cracked three days after some jerk stole my purse right in front of me. I had taken the day off work to go to the DMV, the Social Security Office, two banks, etc. Needless to say, I was angry. It could not have been a better time to read Cracked.

Victor and Bull’s lives are both full of injustice. Their home lives are nightmarish. Bull’s mother seemingly loves her addictions more than her son. His grandfather is a mean violent drunk, and he’s drunk most of the time. Victor’s parents are prominent and wealthy. They want Victor to be seen and not heard (preferably not seen either) so he won’t disturb their fun. Understandably, both boys are miserable. They act out their sorrows in different ways. Victor wallows and Bull hits the defenseless.

Much of this book is not happy, not at all. Walton does a fabulous job of writing in such a way that the reader feels the characters’ anger and despair. It’s a simple yet hard-hitting prose. The book flows very quickly. In fact, it only took me a few hours to read.

It would be easy to hate Bull given how he played a large role in Victor’s desire to commit suicide. And Bull’s actions don’t help his case. But I didn’t hate him. I liked and pitied him, despite disliking many of the things he did. It’s amazing what a difference living in a person’s head can make of your view of him. Victor also could have turned into a completely sympathetic character. I certainly felt bad for his low self esteem and loveless family, but the author also showcased his actions in the hospital as being less than perfect. Both Bull and Victor were layered characters who had the potential to be good characters. Sometimes they made good choices and sometimes they made bad ones.

The plot was slightly predicable, but not as predicable as I thought it would be. I don’t want to say too much about it. I liked the development of Bull and Victor’s relationship as roommates in the hospital. It felt realistic given their past together. The resolution of Bull’s family problems was a little unrealistic, but not out of the realm of possibility. Victor’s parents were so terrible that I had trouble believing that anyone could actually act that way, but unfortunately, I imagine these people do exist.

Cracked is the perfect punchingbag. After three hundred pages of intense anger, despair, and eventually hope, I felt like my own emotions had the opportunity to be let out. It’s not the type of book that will stick with me for years after I read it or that I’ll want to re-read, but it fit the moment perfectly. It is a solid, well-written issues novel.

Rating: 3.5 /5


  1. Great review. I have been looking forward to this book but haven't heard that many things about it. Thanks!
    Creative Reads

  2. I'm SO sorry that you had your purse stolen. That blows! There would be no way for me to see clearly yet alone read a book. I'm surprised that you sympathized with Bull who, just from the description, immediately comes off as a villain. I'm glad that the author balanced both the character's strengths and weaknesses. This one doesn't seem like a book I would pick up but I do know people who enjoy a gritty novel so thanks for the recommendation.

  3. I actually hadn't heard of this one before, but this is a good review. Love the male protags, and sounds like there is a lot more to Bull than meets the eye.

    And your purse!!!! Seriously?? That's awful - hope you got everything sorted out and that the jerk didn't make off with too, too much!

  4. I definitely like to read books that fit my current mood as well, it helps me get sucked into the story a whole lot faster rather than fighting with myself to get into the mindset I need to be in to read teh book. Glad this one helped you let out some of your anger and frustration over having your purse stolen! I'm so sorry that happened:(

  5. This one sounds intense. I'll definitely check it out when I'm in the right mood.

  6. Happy to hear that this novel helped you out! It's amazing that books can do that. If I see this book anywhere I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

  7. Great review! I have my eye on this book, still not sure if I want to read it though.

  8. You're right, being involved in a character's POV change change your perspective on them completely.

  9. So sorry about your purse. Mine was stolen in a near-carjacking in Barcelona last spring; I know how awful your experience must have been.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your purse incident. I've had a few similar experiences, and I know how po'd it makes you feel.

    Call me odd, but I sort of really like reading "darker" books sometimes. I don't need a happy ending with fireflies and stars to make me feel that the read was a good one. This one sounds right up my alley; I will be keeping an eye out for it.

  11. I'm really looking forward to this book. I like this cover cause it's so different from all the other YA books out there!


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