Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Published by HarperTeen
Published on: June 29 2010
Genres: Young Adult
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The New York Times bestselling author of Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman, delivers a suspenseful, eloquent, and thrilling novel that you won't be able to stop thinking about after you've put it down.
Tennyson is not surprised, really, when his family begins to fall apart, or when his twin sister, Brontë, starts dating the misunderstood bully, Brewster (or The Bruiser, as the entire high school calls him). Tennyson is determined to get to the bottom of The Bruiser's reputation, even if it means gearing up for a fight. Brontë, on the other hand, thinks there's something special underneath that tough exterior. And she's right…but neither she nor Tennyson is prepared for the truth of what lies below the surface.
Told through Tennyson, Brontë, and Bruiser's points of view, this dark, twisting novel explores friendship, family, and the sacrifices we make for the people we love.
First of all, this book might just have the best first chapter I’ve ever read in my life.
Secondly . . . this book is weird. I’m talking The Talented Mr. Ripley weird.
And like THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, it’s better that you go into reading BRUISER knowing as little as possible.
That being said, one of the main characters is the victim of child abuse, so if that’s one of your triggers, you have been warned. The abuse isn’t pointless, it’s a catalyst, so while, yes, it was painful—such subjects should always be painful—it was tolerable.
I’ve read several other Shusterman books, and I’ve never more than just gotten through them. I find his writing to be too . . . disheartening, maybe? They’ve all had an overwhelming sense of melancholy that dragged me down into the doldrums.
And I avoid books like that, b/c for me, the doldrums don’t end just b/c the book does—don’t misunderstand, I don’t only like light and fluffy books. But there’s a difference between telling a story with painful elements, and telling a story in which the entire tone is pain and suffering.
Shusterman’s other books have been the latter. Too depressing.
BRUISER . . . not as much.
While Brewster is a wretchedly unfortunate individual, Tennyson is snarkily hilarious enough to counter it, and Cody’s child-like exuberance also tips the balance.
So while the story plays out, spiraling further and further toward the inevitable conclusion—life cannot continue in the previous manner; there has to be change—the characters are fantastic enough to stave off the gloom, and wonder-of-wonders, the books ends with hope.
I love books that end with hope. Recommended. Ish.
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