Author: David E. Hinton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pub Date: January 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
A man reflects on his troubled childhood at a boys reformatory, where troubled youths care for wild horses as untamed as the boys themselves. -- GoodreadsMy Thoughts:
I've been trying to broaden my reading horizons and read things outside my usual favorite genres (i.e. dystopian), and a "boy" book set in the 60s on a horse ranch is pretty far from my usual.
I haven't read too many "boy" books that I actually liked and thought a teenage boy would actually like -- Kings of Colorado is one of the few that I think teenage boys would actually like and relate to. The book is pretty violent, so it's definitely not something I'd recommend for a young teen, but there's a lot for an older teen to like. The characters are realistic and the violent life of kids at a boys' reformatory is realistic. Hinton doesn't shy away from darker themes (abuse and rape) which really gives the novel more depth than I was expecting.
Every character draws you in, especially the ones you're supposed to hate. No one is quite what they seem, but Hinton manages to create terrible villains that completely terrible, but still seem real. I don't think this happens often in many books. The villains are either pure evil and don't feel like they could actually exist or they're only terrible on the surface and there's some underlying reason that they are the way they are. But the villains in Kings of Colorado are completely horrible evil people without redeeming qualities that still feel real.
The book is beautifully written and would definitely hold a teenage boy's attention (quite a huge feat if you ask me). The only thing I didn't like was the ending -- it was ok and fit the story alright, just was a little more tied-up-in-a-pretty-bow than I was expecting. But then again the main character William needed and deserved to have a nice ending.
Note: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review