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Brutal Youth

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  998 ratings  ·  295 reviews
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 reli
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Ashley I had my library order a copy for me. Most library systems will allow you to request books for the library's collection. You can probably do it…moreI had my library order a copy for me. Most library systems will allow you to request books for the library's collection. You can probably do it online. Definitely worth checking out!(less)
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Community Reviews

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karen
Everybody is somebody's bully

i liked so very many things about this book

1) that first chapter. jesus, what a stunner. probably the best opening chapter i have read since This is Not a Test

2) that cover.

3) hannah a truly memorable character

4) the secret behind the allure of the east staircase.

however, there were some missteps.

i'll save my complaints for the end, because overall, i thought this was fantastic, and a really strong debut.

it takes place at st. michael's - a private catholic high sc
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Delee

Now there's a tragic waste of brutal youth
Strip and polish this unvarnished truth
The tricky door that gapes beneath the ragged noose
The crippled verdict begs again for the lamest excuse...

Elvis Costello- Favourite Hour

I am really surprised there wasn't more buzz around BRUTAL YOUTH- maybe there was and I missed it somehow, but by the time I happened across this fabulous discovery- the release was just days away. Alluring cover, appealing title, and gripping plot description....everything abou
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Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
This review will contain some cusswords..probably a whole lot of cusswords.



St. Michael's is a private school that has a history of hazing. The frigging teachers, principals and parents turn a blind eye to it. It's all harmless fun. Fucking bullies.
In the prologue we get a glimpse of this innocent fun as a student has had enough and is tossing off statues and embalmed creatures at fellow students from the roof of the school.
Then school begins. The story mainly focuses on three freshman students
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James Dashner
I was very lucky to read this book early. It's just amazing! So powerful in so many ways. Here's an official "blurb" I wrote up for Anthony and his publisher, and I can't say it any better:

Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican is one of the best, most thought-provoking, troubling, captivating stories I've read in a long time. My heart still hurts when I think of what those characters went through. Breznican does a fantastic job of creating characters you fall in love with, making you experience thei
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Melki
"...this whole system has only one rule: You can't hurt anyone who can hurt you back."

There's a bell tower vengeance scenario, a punctured cheek, severed digits, student/teacher hanky panky and a daring rescue...and that's just the prologue! BAM! Welcome to high school, kiddies!

St. Michael's offers a well-rounded program of reading, writing and hazing. It's a vicious circle of torment as seniors who were made miserable when they were freshmen unleash a world of suffering on the newcomers to thei
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Becky
I met Anthony Breznican while at BookCon last month. My friend and I had just left the Friday afternoon "This Is Where I Leave You" opening panel, which he moderated, had our $8 undrinkably strong Happy Hour drinks, won nothing in the raffle, and were kind of aimlessly trying to decide what to do when Stephen King's name caught my eye. (This happens kind of a lot. It's like I have Kingdar or something. Really.) I wandered over, saw that it was a blurb praising this book, made a mental note to ch ...more
Ryan Dejonghe
The problem I have with BRUTAL YOUTH is its incongruous nature. At times, it reads like Young Adult, but its size and dark content pushes it into literary or adult fiction. Worse, those guest author blurbs. If you haven’t already, don’t read them! In the recent book THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY, they called these blurbs “the blood diamonds of the book industry.” Here, I can see why.


Stephen King said this book had teachers that terrify; Gillian Flynn said it would be as “sharp as a well-carved
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Taylor Knight
3.5 stars


I finished this book 7 days ago and I still have no idea what I think about this book.

On one hand, these characters are so confusing and unlikable but they're so complex, original, and interesting. I hated them but I also had so many feelings of sympathy.
The plot was so strange but I was weirdly hooked. A part of me wanted to quit reading but I also couldn't put it down.
The writing is so amazing. I can't compare it to anything because it's so original.
This book had blown my mind. I do
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Maciek
Brutal Youth delivers exactly what it promises with its title and in spades, but little beyond it. Set in a catholic high school which is literally crumbling to pieces, it covers the freshmen year of three different new students and all the hazing that the seniors can throw at them. And at a institution where the faculty not turns a blind eye to bullying but actively encourages it as "team-building", this means a lot of deviously creative cruelty.

Perhaps I read this book too soon after the excel
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Nemo
For a full and edited review go to Blame it on the Books

5 Brutally Emotional Stars


Brutal Youth was full of extraordinary characters with stories I’ll never forget. We had 6 main characters, 3 were adults (Sister Maria, Father Mercedes, and Mr.Zimmer) and 3 students (Stein, Davidek, and Loreli)

St.Mike’s was once a normal catholic school that upheld all the moral values stated in the bible, but all that changed as life got difficult for the seniors, they took it out on the freshmens.

“Those wh
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Randee
Are we all thinly disguised monsters, especially and most brutally when we are young and in school? I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy this. I did. But, the relentless bullying and dark, dark, dark cruelty of these children did wear me down. To anyone who has ever been victimized at any age, I want to shriek, "Stand up for yourself. Flatten your oppressor with a cutting tongue if not a fist when necessary. Don't allow anyone to attack you without defending yourself with defensive aggression." P ...more
Elizabeth
dannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng.

so glad that it is over.
but i liked it.
every single sentence.

more later.
Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}
Brutal Youth tells the inspiring story of three teenagers, each with their own troubles. While, technically, Brutal Youth was written as an anti-bullying book, it doesn't feel like the average one. Most of the books I've read have extremely heavy messages that bog down the actual story and taint the overall experience. Often the characters are weak and flimsy as well. At the end of the day, the message fails to make a lasting impact with the reader.

However, Brutal Youth doesn't seem to want to g
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Anna Janelle
Yinz like Pittsburgh, n'at?

Oh my gosh! Geez louise. I do. I live here, and I LOVE it. How's abaht this book is in SET IN PITTSBURGH - and I didn't even know it until I started reading?! Tons of local references - complete with shout outs to Eat 'n Park and Edgar Snyder commercials. Plus, it was good. Actually, GREAT. I loved this book almost as much as I love Pittsburgh, and, that, my friends, is saying something.

At the root of this book is an ugly story about the cruelties of high-school hazi
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Ashley
After reading the prologue of this book, I was 100% sure I was going to love it. That is not exactly what ended up happening.

Let me tell you what happens in the prologue, as a sort of illustration: The book opens with this kid on the roof. He’s pretty much an outcast, and he’s been chased up there by his schoolmates. He’s wearing a uniform, so this is a private school, and there are statues of Saints decorating the roof, so it’s Catholic. This kid is a junior, but he’s desperate. The other kids
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Andrew Campbell
Ugh. There are too many good books to waste time with tripe like this.

Lather, rinse, repeat. A lot of hand-wringing over garden-variety hazing. Yep, I'll say it: none of the treatment the freshmen suffer is particularly imaginative or offensive. There's just a lot of it.

And that's the only note Mr. Breznican plays: abuse at the hands of betters. I didn't encounter a moment of levity or a glimpse of respite, didn't find present any indication of the ebbing innocence that is the indulgence- if onl
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Debra
Stephen King Recommended.

“If you thought high school was hell, has Anthony Breznican got a story for you. Every bully who stalked you, every sadistic teacher who ever terrified you, every stupid prank, every hopeless crush and false friend: they’re all here, along with a few kids who hang together and try to do the right thing in a brutal environment. By turns funny and terrifying, BRUTAL YOUTH is an unputdownable tour-de-force, a REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE for the 21st century.” ~ Stephen King

9/16/1
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Larry Hoffer
Some say that the high school years are the best years of your life. Those who say that never attended St. Michael's school. Anthony Breznican's novel, Brutal Youth, essentially chronicles one year—1991—at this Catholic high school, which would make the principal from Lean On Me, the teacher from Dangerous Minds, and the students from Heathers or Mean Girls transfer as quickly as possible.

Peter Davidek has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Charlie, which isn't a good thing, since
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Denise
"Catholic school - as vicious as Roman Rule." (Death Cab for Cutie)

I really liked this book though it was very disturbing and dark. As a teacher, librarian and nurse at a Catholic high school, I have heard that phrase a million times since the song with those lyrics came out ~2005. There seems to be no end to the inventive ways that students find to torment each other. Though this book was set in the 1990s, many of the behaviors and problems described exist in school settings today. Students in
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Sandie
This powerful, mesmerizing novel transports the reader to that time in all our lives that most of us remember as our most unsettling and frightening experience - our freshmen year in high school. With BRUTAL YOUTH Anthony Breznican sweeps us back to those turbulent days of uncertainty and insecurity when we treaded the halls with trepidation and didn't know who to count as friends and who as foes. At St. Michael the Archangel high school the pastor, principle, guidance counselor and teachers, li ...more
Delilah
I knew going into this read there would be parts hard to bear. But wow, it is crazy how everyone treated each other in this book (students, teachers and parents alike). Stephen King was right with his review of this book.... "If you thought your school was hell, just wait until you read this book".... crazy!!
Jessica *The Lovely Books*
"You don't know how to be happy with unhappiness..."

Brutal Youth is a complex story about what it means to survive. What are the characters in the book surviving, exactly? Well, high school really. And life. Surviving these two things may not seem like a big deal but it is. We follow the povs of three kids who are all outsiders the high school social scene. We also get some insight on some of the teachers, the pastor, and the principal of the school. We see what being a bully can do to a person.
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Shannon
On the day students and staff at St. Michael’s High School should be impressing the visiting prospective students, Colin “Clink” Vickler sets off a chain of events as he begins hauling glasses of preserved animals off the building’s roof. Over the course of the next year, a circle of freshman who witnessed Clink’s violent outcry attempt to navigate the brutal waters of St. Michael’s and work together to break down its perpetually ignored hazing system.

Breznican populates St. Michael’s with wonde
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Maryellen
"Davidek found three other copies of the yearbook on the shelf. Each one had her face scraped away, and they found other listings of her name throughout the books. Not one image remained intact... Underneath her defaced portrait, she had written in bold, black marker: YOU COULDN'T REMEMBER ME IF YOU TRIED."

I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. BRUTAL YOUTH came out of nowhere and absolutely demanded my attention. I couldn't (and wouldn't) put it down. In a matter of days I h
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Tessa
This was brutal all right. Recommended to all the people who are in a really bad place right now: so you can see that it can be worse and that life isn't fair. Or maybe not.... If you are suicidal this book could convince you to make that final step.

I've boosted the rating for this book to 2 stars. 1 star for being entertaining (it did not bore me) and 1 extra star for the awesome character development.

After I finished this book I originally didn't wanted to write a review for it. I really liked
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April (Bookishly Speaking)
This book begins much like a the beginnings of a horse race. Bang! And they’re off! Welcome to high school hell. We’re greeted by Colin on the roof of St. Michael the Archangel High School in a situation that is boiling over like a pressure cooker left simmering far too long. The prologue of Brutal Youth gripped me so thoroughly that by page seven I knew I wouldn’t be able to put this book down and walk away from it. I had to know how it ended.

I don’t want to give away too much but the situation
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Merril Anil
Pretty Intense and a very well put together book

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


Brutal Youth is a glaring example of the fact that none of us are born evil but its the circumstances that makes us evil. Sometimes we do things that seems right and justified at the moment but only to be felt as wrong and evil when looked back.

Brutal Youth is a story that tells the story of youth, friendships, debauchery,heartbreak, survival instincts
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LAPL Reads
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. This quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities has been used to describe many and various situations and circumstances. One place for which this quote can be particularly apt is high school. For some people, the time they spent in grades 9-12 will come to be the happiest in their lives, their “glory days,” and will represent the lifelong pinnacle of their personal achievements. Others will experience the opposite: four years of seemin ...more
Sasha
Oh man. This book is, for the lack of a better word, brutal. It battered me and wrung me out and fluffed me out and then wrung me out again and then tossed me to flap in the wind... I don't know why a laundry metaphor is necessary, but that's exactly how I felt.

I really hate books about bullying, because I'm just not strong enough to read them. Here comes an irrelevant story about me in 3rd grade, so it's marked with a spoiler if you want to skip over it.

(view spoiler)
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Ashlea
The books I enjoy the most never leave me feeling empty. I experience a maelstrom of emotions while I'm reading (anguish and hurt over the pain of the characters, laughter at a good bit of dialogue and anger at the crap the characters have to deal with) and then after I'm done, I just want to sit and absorb what I've read. Brutal Youth was one of those books for me. Not only was it my favorite book I've ever reviewed for NetGalley, it's one of the best I've read this year.

In the prologue, we are
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Anthony Breznican is a reporter who has worked for The Arizona Republic, the Associated Press, USA Today, and is currently on staff at Entertainment Weekly.

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“The things we surrender to when we're young, we keep surrendering to the rest of our lives.” 17 likes
“But sometimes we crave the love of those we’re afraid to hate.” 11 likes
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