Author: Jennifer Brown
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780316086950
Source: I received an ARC for review from the publisher. This is my honest review!
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As her senior year of high school passes, Alex and her two best friends (Zack and Bethany) plan the trip to Colorado they have been waiting for since they were little. Nothing will stop this dynamic trio from going to Colorado, until Alex meets the hot new guy at school. Cole is charming and attractive. Best of all he shows an interest in Alex. Unfortunately, he doesn't approve of her friends, and really dislikes her relationship with Zack in particular. As their relationship progress and Cole pulls her farther and farther away from her friendships with Bethany and Zack, Alex begins to notice a dark side to Cole. Soon love turns to worry and fear, as she attempts to deal with the secrets of her relationship with Cole.
Jennifer Brown is a talented author. When I read her Hate List (Little Brown, 2009) last year, I couldn't believe how realistically she delves into the minds of her characters. In some ways she reminds me of reading Jodi Picoult who has a talent for making the reader see all sides of an issue. In Bitter End Brown's talent for capturing real feeling and real issues shines through.
Like Hate List Brown shines a light on an issue that affects today's teens. While perhaps not as dramatic as the school shooting in Hate List, abusive relationships among teens are a prominent problem.
The beauty of this book is it addresses the question so many people ask about victims in an abusive relationship; "why didn't she just get out?" Alex must deal with both the cycle of abuse including Cole's remorse and his promises to never hurt her again, as well as dealing with her heart. She loves Cole and wants to believe that he loves her too.
Overall this book is a stunning read. Brown's characters are so realistic they could be people you know. This is a heart wrenching read that focuses on a topic that needs to be discussed.
Cautions for sensitive readers: This novel centers around dating violence, so you will find some disturbingly violent scenes. I would hope that this violence would not keep potential readers from picking up this novel, however, because this it is topic that should discussed with all teens. There is also some foul language in the book.
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