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Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
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Brutal Youth

by Anthony Breznican

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We should be afraid...over how easy it is to go wrong, trying to make others do right.
- Chapter 5

Sometimes, when you are feeling your worst, an extra stab of pain doesn't hurt at all. Hopelessness is a great anesthetic.
- Chapter 41

The best revenge you can get is making people see the worst parts of themselves.
- Chapter 47

Okay, so a book called Brutal Youth doesn't really sound like a feel good kind of book. And knowing it was about bullying, I didn't expect it to be all roses. But, this book was kind of difficult to read. There was a sense of hopelessness and a lack of control over circumstances throughout the book that bothered me. It seemed like no matter what some of the characters tried to do, they couldn't stop the worst from happening.

The book is well-written and interesting. I always wanted to see what would happen next, but I still found the book a bit depressing. I always look for the best in people, but even some characters I thought were good ended up disappointing me.

So, the book is an interesting look at a culture that not only allows bullying, but seems to encourage it. And how people that have the best intentions sometimes end up causing the most harm.

Recommended to:
This book is for adults. There is a lot of violence and sexual references. If you are interested in books that examine youth and how wrong things can go, then this book is for you. But, I suggest you keep in mind that it isn't a feel-good book.
( )
  Jadedog13 | Feb 3, 2016 |
One thing I can say about this book: the title doesn't lie.

I thought the cover was intriguing, and the synopsis very interesting. I had no idea just how brutal and graphic this book is. I shuddered my way through the first 2 chapters and then called it quits.

It's just too brutal and too graphic for me. The cruel acts are described in detail and just too out there and vile for me to read.

I get that the book is intent on shocking to drive the message home, but it was just too much for me, and too twisted. ( )
  katsmiao | Oct 23, 2015 |
One thing I can say about this book: the title doesn't lie.

I thought the cover was intriguing, and the synopsis very interesting. I had no idea just how brutal and graphic this book is. I shuddered my way through the first 2 chapters and then called it quits.

It's just too brutal and too graphic for me. The cruel acts are described in detail and just too out there and vile for me to read.

I get that the book is intent on shocking to drive the message home, but it was just too much for me, and too twisted. ( )
  katsmiao | Oct 23, 2015 |
One thing I can say about this book: the title doesn't lie.

I thought the cover was intriguing, and the synopsis very interesting. I had no idea just how brutal and graphic this book is. I shuddered my way through the first 2 chapters and then called it quits.

It's just too brutal and too graphic for me. The cruel acts are described in detail and just too out there and vile for me to read.

I get that the book is intent on shocking to drive the message home, but it was just too much for me, and too twisted. ( )
  katsmiao | Oct 23, 2015 |
On the day students and staff at St. Michael’s High School should be impressing the visiting prospective students, Colin “Clink” Vickler sets off a chain of events as he begins hauling glasses of preserved animals off the building’s roof. Over the course of the next year, a circle of freshman who witnessed Clink’s violent outcry attempt to navigate the brutal waters of St. Michael’s and work together to break down its perpetually ignored hazing system.

Breznican populates St. Michael’s with wonderfully flawed characters full of layers that take the course of the story to be revealed. But as the novel expands from the brilliance of its opening sequence, the sheer number of personalities makes it difficult to stay invested in one before abruptly shifting to another. Despite my interest in Brutal Youth‘s plot, I regularly found myself wishing I could combine the close lens of its first pages with the great character development demonstrated throughout.

Still, Breznican is extremely successful in crafting a story that will spark discussion and open dialogue, which would make it a great pick for book clubs. There’s much to turn over regarding the prevalence of bullying, it’s impact, and how school culture itself has changed since the novel’s early 90’s setting. In Brutal Youth, Anthony Breznican dives deep into the darkest corners of high school life and reappears with an intriguing tale well worth checking out.

Originally posted at rivercityreading.com ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
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To Jillo for my wildflower, these cruel shadows
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The kid had taken a lot of punishment over the years, so he had much to give back.
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Three freshmen must join forces to survive at a troubled, working-class Catholic high school with a student body full of bullies and zealots, and a faculty that's even worse in Anthony Breznican's Brutal Youth. With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael's has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal --so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies. To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.… (more)

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