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.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

I don’t even remember when I first stumbled upon Cracked. I just remember being really interested, but not being able to find it in any bookstore. I finally found it last weekend – all I can say is that it was definitely worth the wait and I was not disappointed in any way.

Cracked was a great look into the mind of teenagers and how they see life happening around them. The book focuses specifically on two teenagers, Victor and Bull. These two have a special relationship – that of a bully (Bull) and the one being bullied (Victor).  Their daily lives seem to be more intertwined then either of them would like, especially considering the fact that they are both trying to escape from their home life as much as they can.  Each of the boys decides that they cannot find a functional way to deal with their lives anymore and take matters into their own hands.  Unfortunately, life has other plans.  They end up in the psych ward and not just in the same psych ward but also as roommates there.  The story is told in alternating voices – each chapter brings either Victor’s point of view or Bull’s point of view.  Sometimes, we are given each view of the same event and, at other times, we take a look at each boy individually as he goes through the healing process.

It was amazing to see how much we don’t know about others. And not just how much we don’t know, but also to see how much we put on other people — how much we decide for them in order to be able to rationalize what we are going through. Each boy was going through some tough times at home and brought that to every interaction they had, making every interaction even more personal, emotional and difficult.

What was even more interesting than the journey each boy takes while in the psych ward was the irony of why they were there to begin with. Even though different actions brought them there, both Victor and Bull were struggling with the same situation. Rather than be there for them, their parents were abusive either emotional, physically or both.

To be honest, as a story, this book was wonderful. So much so, that I read it in one day. But even more so, this book was touching because I know that it is real — there are children out there suffering at the hands of the adults in their lives.  It has made me want to take a hard look at how I talk to my children (and my students) and make sure that, even when be reprimanded, they understand that I always love them and support them.  No child should ever feel like there is no way for them to live or that there is no future for them that could possibly include happiness.  Even more so, no child should have to live with those feelings due to the actions and words of the people who are supposed to be protecting them.

Cracked is a book I would recommend to everyone, especially people who have children or work with children on a daily basis. It gave a voice to many of the important emotions that children might not share but that need to be understood.

Would I add it to the library?

Yes! I can’t wait to buy Empty and see what K. M. Walton has done there.


Genre: Fiction – emotional problems, families at risk, gangs, bullies
ISBN: 9781442429178
Rating:  good

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