Saturday, November 1, 2014

Review: Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

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.

Received for review.

Just when you think the horrors of high school have finally receded and the details have become fuzzy with age along comes a book like this that tears open old wounds.  

Granted the characters in the book have experiences nowhere near like what most kids experience but their pain, fear, and fury are all familiar to anyone who experienced the four years of evil commonly called high school.

This is a beautifully written, engaging story filled with characters you can really connect with.  You tear up when they are sad, your heart beats a little faster when they are in danger, and you're relieved beyond belief when their trials are finally over.

If you've ever idly wondered if your memories of high school were accurate this book is the ideal one to confirm that yes, it really was that bad and some people had it even worse.  

I definitely highly recommend this.  Yes, it's brutal in its honesty but it's an excellent read.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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