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Brutal Youth
by Anthony Breznican
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Drama, Literary Fiction, Coming of Age, Psychology, Mystery
My Rateing: ★★★★☆


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.

( I received this book free through Netgalley from the author in exchange for my honest review)

For me this was a hard book to read. Not that it wasn't good, the writing and story telling was top notch. I had a hard time with the bullying. It was constant throughout and for me a little over baring. I had to keep putting the book down just so I wouldn't get depressed, angry, or plan sad. 

The school was brutal, jails have more control then that school. And I was angry that the teachers did nothing to stop the hazing, the torment, and the flat out violence that was consuming the halls. They had no sense of pity, or any sense of the danger that they had placed on the new students, nor did they care about the after match. Punishment was pretty much non-existence, how do you keep control if when one breaks the rules nothing is done? You don't. 

The parents were no better. Why were there so many bad parents in this book?  

The other reason I kept butting this book down, was because there wasn't enough good moments to balance out the bad. Not enough smiles, just not enough. 

What actually drew me in and what kept me reading, was the background info on the side characters (the teacher and parents). We get to see inside their lives, and we got a look into their own personal demons. Not saying that their past pain is any excuse for them to fail, to do anything for the kids, but, it does give you a better understanding as to why they were that way. Some of the stories were heart breaking and depressing. Others were simply a lake of never getting over themselves and not moving on. 

For the min characters, they were okay, to me I didn't have favourite, but I do have those I don't like; on grounds that they simply brought things in themselves. I don't want to get too much into that, because it will give away and may spoil the story for future readers. 

The opening, now that's what you call exploding out of the gate. It set the tone, the stage for what was to come out of this book. Simply put, if you didn't like the beginning then you'll probably not like the rest of the book, because in all honestly, the beginning is simply the tip of the Iceberg. 

I highly recommend this book, it's a in-depth look into the world of hazing, bullying and the reality that this does happened and, as much as we want to deny it, people do look the other way and call it, harmless fun. This is a deep story about survival, human nature and the struggle to try to do the right thing, when the right thing isn't a simple, as black and white. 

I would like to thank Anthony Breznican for letting me experience this hard world that isn't far from reality. 

Happy Reading 


We all have them, and sometimes we forget or just can't seen to find it again. For your viewing pleasure, here are my fav. quotes from Brutal Youth. 

In No Order 

“But remember that big speech of his? The one about how people do bad stuff to get what they want, but people only do good stuff out of selfishness, too? Well, maybe he was wrong. Maybe sometimes, people just do … stuff. Because they don’t know what else to do. Or out of pure craziness. Or who-knows-why.”

“I’m not saying it’s right,” Stein replied. “But it’ll be a way to hurt him when they want to. That’s what I’m talking about, Davidek. Excuses. Maybe it’s the way you talk, or the color of your skin, or the color of your underwear, or whether you’ve got a clip-on around your neck. Assholes will find a reason to fuck with you. So I’m going to wear your clip-on proudly. Let them mess with me. The way I see it, this tie is a shithead detector.”

“Your problem,” Stein told him, “is you don’t know how to be happy with your unhappiness.” but there was something about the sacrifice that made him feel good, made him feel right. He guessed that was what Stein had meant by being happy about your unhappiness.

“The only thing I’ve ever wanted to hear someone say is: No matter what, I will never abandon you,”

“And bully your own kind?” Davidek spat back. Smitty’s smile broadened as he backed away, his arms raised in a what-are-you-going-to-do shrug. “Everybody is somebody’s bully,” he said.

"The world forgets easily, and then forgets that it forgot."

"Just like in the others, Hannah Kraut’s face was scratched away in every photo. Underneath her defaced portrait, she had written in bold, black marker: YOU COULDN’T REMEMBER ME IF YOU TRIED."

"Everybody’s pissed off and wants to fucking hit somebody, but this whole system has only one rule: You can’t hurt anyone who can hurt you back."

"Maybe you can’t blame people for the pain that makes them who they are. Maybe that was just one more bullet you had to step in front of for someone you were supposed to love—even if you didn’t want to. Even if it hurt. Maybe that was love."

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Anthony Breznican was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsurgh in 1998. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, Associated Press, and USA Today. He is currently a senior staff writer for Entertainment Weekly.

Brutal Youth is his debut novel.

US Only

1 comment:

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