September 19, 2011

Review of "Bruiser"

Neal Shusterman



Pub. Date: June 29, 2010
Pages: 328
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis:  Tennyson: Don’t get me started on the Bruiser. He was voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” by the entire school. He’s the kid no one knows, no one talks to, and everyone hears disturbing rumors about. So why is my sister, Brontë, dating him? One of these days she’s going to take in the wrong stray dog, and it’s not going to end well.

Bronte: My brother has no right to talk about Brewster that way — no right to threaten him. There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends — why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they’re happening to me.
Award-winning author Neal Shusterman has crafted a chilling and unforgettable novel about the power of unconditional friendship, the complex gear workings of a family, and the sacrifices we endure for the people we love.

"Bruiser" is a book I picked up having absolutely no idea what it was about.  The only thing that I knew was it had to do with abuse and bullying.  I cannot express how glad I am that I came across this on a YALSA list because I doubt I would have picked it up on my own.  I have been waiting to write this review because I am worried anything I say will give away Brewster's secret.  I was right thinking that this book was about abuse and dealt with bullying, but the book is really about so much more.

I think "Bruiser" is a book that honestly depicts human nature.  The characters have flaws, but we are able to look past them because Shusterman balances the good with the bad.  Bronte means well when she takes Brewster under her wing, but even she is blind to the truth that is right in front of  her.  This book is also about friendship and family.  Both types of relationships are complicated and can only be successful if people are willing to be honest with themselves and the people they love. 

I highly recommend "Bruiser", but warn that it may be difficult for some people to read.  The book does deal with some generic issues that teens can relate to, but the method in which Shusterman addresses the issues is unique.  I feel like readers who liked "Wintergirls", "Thirteen Reasons Why", and maybe even "Before I Fall" would enjoy this book.  Although they might not because "Bruiser" isn't exactly realistic fiction... I'm not really sure how I would classify it. I know this review is short, but I would rather be brief than ruin the plot for everyone.

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