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Almost Kings [Kindle Edition]

Max Doty
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

The original novel that inspired the award-winning film, Almost Kings is a gritty, powerful story of the choices that bring two brothers together and tear them apart.

With their father lost in anger and self-loathing, James "Truck" Wheeler has raised his younger brother Ted as best as he could, considering he's just a teenager himself. In return, Ted idolizes his brother.

Now, during their one year of high school together, Ted will realize there are troubling aspects to Truck and his friends, The Kings. When the boys assign numbers to each girl at school and begin a dark contest, Ted will be caught playing a game that targets his best friends, including the girl he loves: Kallea Whitney.

Product Details

  • File Size: 269 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088JOJ7A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I first became aware of Almost Kings because ... December 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first became aware of Almost Kings because it was featured on the blog "Pixel of Ink" as a free book for Amazon Kindle. I picked it up and immediately realized that there was zero in the book that I could relate to. That said I, "liked it" (the text that accompanies a three star review) for what it was: A memoir of coming of age for a young man living in small-town Texas. This young man comes from very working class stock, including a father who is an abusive alcoholic and on disability, so it comes as no surprise that "Bug" (aka Ted) and his older brother "Truck" (aka James) are in their own way drawn to alcohol abuse and tend to objectify women to a level that I found distasteful.

In this town, it appears that you marry your high school sweetheart and playing high school football is the highlight of your social experience. After high school, zero of the possible career options mentioned included college. Instead, the military and blue-collar jobs were mentioned. The town's main social scene seems to be watching their local high school compete in football.

This story includes a lot of heartbreak for young Bug who has always looked up to his older brother, Truck. Truck, in turn, protected young Bug both from their father's abuses as well as from Truck's own undesirable activities and attitudes, trying to keep young Bug on the straight and narrow. Truck's friends, however, were not aware of this plan and they tantalized Bug with ideas of alcohol consumption, skipping school, objectifying women, and engaging in sexual activity with unconscious young ladies. Truck, trying to remain a role model, is the worst offender at perpetuating these ideas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad February 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really didn't know until reading this book that things like this really happen. I found the challenge presented morally degrading, especially for the females, and was saddened at the behavior of all involved. Depressing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By steph
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Almost Kings is a dark, engaging novella about the death of a boy's admiration for his dangerous older brother. The story is narrated by Ted Wheeler, who is believable as a smart but emotionally stupid 14-year-old boy. Throughout the book, you see him make plenty of terrible decisions, all for the approval and love of his brother Truck. Truck is a well-drawn character, whose hard back story forces you to understand and feel for him even as he grows despicable. Doty does a good job of showing the conflict between Truck's love for Ted and his deep-seated wish that his gifted little brother would outgrow his need of Truck.

The drama of the novel revolves around a sinister end-of-high-school sex bet, complete with point values for attractiveness and virginity. Rape of unconscious women is explicitly encouraged, and though the word is never used, the wickedness is clear. Though this plot-line is only a few steps removed from that of a coming-of-age sex comedy, there's little fun in its execution - it ends up looking and feeling utterly hideous. This, I imagine, is part of the point.

Doty's writing is strong, and while I know this novel was released with the movie, I think it stands on its own. I do wish the novel were a little longer, as some elements (particularly the family background and the epilogue) deserved more space. Still, it was a good read, and I will be buying the movie.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible May 30, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book lacked several key elements that a good book usually has plot character development, etc. This book was atrocious in every way shape and form.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this... December 8, 2013
By N
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
...But I just couldn't. I'd start to get into the story and I felt jerked away from that train of thought, I understand this may just be the author's style or the style of thought for teen characters. I wish there had been more of an ending to the book, I wish there were more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarily Realistic July 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd classify this YA novella as a coming-of-age story. It has been made into a movie, which I've not seen.

Almost Kings is the story of Bug's (aka Ted Wheeler's) fall semester as a high school freshman. Bug is the younger brother of Truck (aka James Wheeler). Truck and a few of his football buddies make up a loose clique called "The Kings."

As seen through Bug's naive eyes, The Kings are hulking, tough demi-gods of their rural high school. Being heroes of the football field affords them golden ticket passage through high school. The girls desire them. The other boys fear them. They are untouchable. They are Bug's heroes.

But Bug's perception of the world around him is limited. Reading between the lines in this short novel, the truth emerges. High school administration sees The Kings as bad kids, troublemakers, brawlers. The Kings are sexual predators. They drink too much. Even Truck, the leader of The Kings, comments none of The Kings have much of a future ahead of them.

Over the course of a few months, Bug discovers the truth about his brother and the other Kings. The explosive lesson he learns will mark him for life.

The author's presentation of these kids could be interpreted as stereotyping of an entire high school or town, but I don't think it is. Kids like the ones in this novella are part of every high school social structure. Reading this reminded me of people I knew and things I saw growing up. This peek into that almost forgotten world-through Bug's eyes-is intimate, poignant...and harrowing. I'll remember the way this story made me feel for a long time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars elementary
This book was written on somewhat of an elementary level. It kept my interest because I wanted to know what happened to the characters as I would if one of my children was telling... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Rosemary1947
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
As soon as he asked for the yearbook you knew what the game was. And the fact that his brother never forgave him was rediculous. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost Kings was almost good.
This book was pretty disturbing. It was well written, but I felt uneasy, and not in a good way, reading it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sheri L. Reeves
4.0 out of 5 stars Very compelling read.
From beginning to end, this book practically forced you to read another page, another chapter. I read it in two days as I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Avery
4.0 out of 5 stars Impactful
For a short story, this has a powerful impact, and could make a big difference in lives, if they would read and understand it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cici
1.0 out of 5 stars sucks
This book was good until the end it was a very dissapointing and depressing ending wouldn't recommend this book to anyone
Published 2 months ago by jake
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Ending.
I liked where the story was going, until it ended abruptly leaving me going "HUH?" I dislike short reads, and abrupt endings!! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jordana Russell
3.0 out of 5 stars Abrupt ending
This story held my attention. But just when i thought it was going to climax, it ended. I was expecting a gut-wrenching, tumultuous, horrifying scene involving Kaleeah and the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Diana Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly good
I knew it was a movie, but decided to read the book first, since I had no idea what the movie was about I was surprised to read it, and was even more surprised at how good it was. Read more
Published 9 months ago by DesireeBoils
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic and Compelling
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a fast read, and plainly written without overly long descriptions that would have been out of place in this book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Frisco56
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More About the Author

Max Doty is an award-winning screenwriter, game-writer, and novelist.

He holds a BA and an MA from Stanford University in English literature as well as an MFA in fiction writing from Arizona State University.

For the last eight years, he has worked as a writer for Electronic Arts' Surviving High School, which he has also adapted into a series of young adult novels.

In 2009, he and co-writer Phillip G. Flores won Netflix's inaugural Find Your Voice competition for his screenplay Almost Kings (fomerly The Wheeler Boys). The movie went on to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is now available on DVD.

He is currently working on several screenplays as well as a novel.

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