Monday, October 19, 2015

Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

3 Stars
“No one is your friend at that school. Not a single person. Everyone you think you care about will disappoint you. They’ll all hurt you in the end.”

Brutal Youth is the story of Noah Stein, Peter Davidek and Lorelei Paskal – three freshmen hoping to start St. Michael’s private school with a clean slate. What they find when they get there is a powder keg ready to blow. The three discover they will be subjected to a year-long hazing . . .

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With teachers who have zero desire to do anything except collect a paycheck making sure things don’t go too far . . .

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They also will come to learn they are part of a nearly bankrupt parish ran by the most corrupt of religious leaders . . .

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(Phrasing, Joel. Seriously.)

And they definitely shouldn’t expect any help from their parents. They don’t exactly lead by example at home, so they’ve placed their kids in the hands of St. Michael’s in order to teach them all about the way of the Lord . . .

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The three will have to ride out the entire year before the mistreated will finally get their revenge – in the form of a reading from an upper classman’s journal of secrets at the year-end . . .

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But before then Noah, Peter, and Lorelei’s secrets will be learned.

Brutal Youth has an average rating of 4.00 from my Goodreads peeps. I am very willing to say I read this one wrong. In fact, I read it soooooo wrong that I’ve been debating on whether or not to rate this as low as 2 Stars. I’m going to go ahead and make it 3, though, because YA that pushes the envelope is most definitely something that falls in my wheelhouse even when I don’t really love the end result, and because I dug the message as a whole . . .

“The things we surrender to when we’re young, we keep surrendering to the rest of our lives.”

Unfortunately I had a bit of a hard time connecting to the story or the characters. The story seemed to really drag on and on for me. There were a lot of characters in this one and nearly all of them were fully fleshed out which got old. It also seemed extremely farfetched that an entire school’s population would consist of 100% assholes. On the other hand, it could have been as simple as wrong place/wrong time. Whatever the reason I kept putting this one down and then picking it back up, which resulted in the reading of three other books while attempting to finish this one.

As I said, a lot of my friends have read Brutal Youth and nearly all of them gave it a high rating. Hayden is a friend who doesn’t always write a review, so when I see him taking time to say something I pay attention.

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