Author: Anthony Breznican
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Publish Date: June 10, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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."
My Two Cents:
Luckily, I was able to kind of do my own thing in high school without anyone bothering me. I had a great group of friends and those that weren't exactly friends were still fairly nice. "Brutal Youth" made me happy that was my experience rather than what some of the nicer kids at crumbling St. Mike's had to go through in this book. This book almost feels like a movie in some regard and reminded me a lot of some of the darker high school flicks (which I am still totally into, by the way) like maybe "Heathers" or something along that line so if you are in the mood for something along that vein, this might be a really good pick for you!
Branded as YA, this book will definitely appeal to adults as well. It's right on that line and if being read by teens, would probably be most appropriate for older teen readers. I love the way that this book was written. Told in third person, we get a great overview of what each of the students and some of the teachers are struggling with. There is a lot of inner turmoil here.
This is very much a character driven story and I absolutely loved the main characters (Peter, Noah, and Lorelei) as you really get to know them. You will definitely be pulling for them throughout the book! On his first visit to St. Mike's, Peter gets a taste of what he's in for and he isn't sure he likes it but he knows that he has to go in order to fill in for his disappointing brother. When he returns for the fall, he and his new friend Noah are thrust in the middle of St. Mike's annual freshman hazing where none of the adults are really paying attention. The hazing is really at the center of the book.
Overall, I really liked this book. The storytelling is good and kept me well entertained!