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June 9, 2015 • Cee • Lists

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.

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I have a special Essential Reading post, courtesy of the Brutal Youth blog tour, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Anthony Breznican to my blog! I love reading about the books that Anthony picked for five of his characters and reading how those books inspire those characters like Noah writing a paper on Mr. T or Hannah tattooing a certain quote on her arm.

For those who do not know what Essential Reading is, it is a feature on my blog where I ask authors to share five to seven books (children’s, YA, general fiction, romances, nonfiction, and all) that they or their characters love, or has impacted their lives or their characters’s lives.

Let’s see what Anthony picked, shall we?

BOOKS THE CHARACTERS IN BRUTAL YOUTH WOULD LOVE (AND WHY!) 

by Anthony Breznican

I love this question! It’s one I would never have thought of on my own, but it gave me a chance to revisit the kids from Brutal Youth and imagine which books might strike a nerve with them.

Since the story is set in 1991 and 1992, I restricted myself to books that would actually have been available to them at the time, although there are many more recent ones these characters would  love.

I should start by setting up the story: Brutal Youth is about a group of newcomers at a corrupt, crumbling private school outside Pittsburgh, where hazing is sanctioned as an hallowed tradition, and people will do anything to avoid the grim fate that awaits anyone at the bottom of the food chain.

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June 8, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

brutal youth

Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
June 2, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
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* Book courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

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.

myreview

I received this book for free from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “The kid had taken a lot of punishment over the years, so he had much to give back.”

Brutal Youth promises you exactly what the title says—a brutal youth. From the aggressive bullying of the freshmen by the upperclassmen to the lack of concern from the teachers, it’s everything you don’t want to experience in a high school. For these kids, it’s become a norm—surviving this bullying culture that can make any kid and adult a monster.

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