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The Cruelty (The Cruelty #1)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends (first published 2014)
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  • The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom
    The Cruelty
    Release date: Feb 07, 2017
    *Win an ARC*

    When Gwendolyn Bloom's father vanishes, she sets off on a journey she never bargained for. Traveling under a new identity in a world of as

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    Availability: 5 copies available, 306 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Dec 09 - Dec 16, 2016

    Countries available: US

    Format: Print Book

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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
    filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
    Reader X
    Apr 07, 2014 Reader X rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    This would be a good, solid book with a nice plot and character development, if it weren't about a teenaged girl.

    There are no real plot spoilers below, though I do point at some specifics in this review.

    It smacks of "first novel", overwritten in some parts (slow in the beginning around things and people that don't end up meaning much in my view, and weirdly descriptive about New York in negative ways that are curious) and jumping from one setting to another in a confusing way--how does the main
    Bee {Quite the Novel Idea}

    I'm pretty sure there are plenty morally complicated YA books for me to read, so I won't need this one. So thanks, but no thanks, sir. I suggest you actually try reading a few YA books before you make a statement such as this. I'd be happy to give you a list of morally complicated YA books.
    Ash Wednesday
    Mar 16, 2014 Ash Wednesday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: fans of Taken and spy thrillers... or anything Jan De Bont made
    4 STARS
    The hardest part about not believing in God isn’t knowing there’s no heaven.
    It’s knowing there’s no hell.

    The thing with human trafficking is, it has been glamorized beyond recognition in contemporary romance it has started to sound like an appealing way to meet your one true pair. Such a horrible reality has been fluffed out by exceptionally attractive, kinky and ruthless alpha heroes with a heart of gold in fiction that it has started to become a selling point in books.

    This is not that
    I would rather claw my own eyeballs out.
    DNF at page 100

    I was really excited to read this book. I thought the premise sounded interesting and author drama aside, I went into the book with an open mind. Sadly, this wasn't for me.

    I couldn't connect with Gwendolyn. She's obviously way smarter than I am, but I am 100% on board with that. Annnnnd at the same time, I think that's where I started to lose interest. The story doesn't read like YA.

    I constantly put it down and would take days between picking it back up. At one point, I went to l
    Lady Entropy
    Mar 07, 2016 Lady Entropy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    It lost me at the sexist bullshit. Also a female protagonist who's "chubby" and does not accept the "patriarchy-imposed standards of beauty" but her quest imposes her to become standard-beautifully lean and with dyed red hair in the process.

    Also, getting cat-called and harassed in the street is romantic, it seems.

    Can you tell this was written by a man? Of course you can.
    Note to self, do not read. Author is a jerk
    Thibaut Nicodème
    Ah yes, you are the chosen one who will elevate the YA genre. I mean it's not like your financial success could have anything with your background as an ad executive or anything.
    Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
    Marked as DNF 9/19/16: I agreed to read THE CRUELTY before I even knew about the author controversy when the publisher asked me if I would be interested! I truly had no idea what had happened with the author and agreed to read the book since an international mystery sounded right up my alley! Still not knowing the drama, I managed to read a few chapters before I got that rude awakening.

    I have to say... Finding out that an author who wrote a YA book totally puts down YA books in general did not
    Maren (The Worn Bookmark)
    Sep 11, 2016 Maren (The Worn Bookmark) rated it did not like it
    Shelves: arcs
    Hmm what to say about this book... I received it from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and I agreed to read it before I found out about all of the controversy surrounding this author and his comments about YA. When an author writes a YA novel and proceeds to throw the entire genre under the bus, it's hard to not take that personal as a reader who loves YA. Despite this, I tried to go in with an open mind. The premise sounded intriguing and reminded me of a reverse Taken. That being ...more
    Nov 30, 2015 Kaethe marked it as stricken  ·  review of another edition
    YA author opines on YA category without seemingly having ever read any YA.
    Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
    Full review with links to source articles on The Bent Bookworm!

    This book has already had a lot of buzz, mainly because of the author’s condescending and inflammatory comments about YA in general. I have a LOT of thoughts on his comments and general attitude, but I tried – I really, really tried – to not let my view of the author color the book. I agreed to the review before knowing anything about all the drama, so I felt like that was only fair. Usually when I try a new author, debut or not, I d
    2.5 stars

    There are two types of 3 star ratings for me. One is "this was nearly brilliant, but had a few elements that dragged it down". The other is "this is ho-hum, might work for someone else, didn't really appeal to me." The Cruelty is definitely the second type.

    It's…fine. There's no real mystery, so don't let the Dragon Tattoo comp fool you; this is Taken essentially, complete with ridiculous action sequences, villainous sex traffickers, and a Mary-Sue protagonist. Gwendolyn speaks five lang
    Maya Packard
    Apr 28, 2014 Maya Packard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I read for a living, and I was hooked from the first paragraph. This is a remarkably well written book with a strong, unique, kickass heroine. Thrillers that successfully incorporate artful word choice and keen human observation are few and far between; this one masterfully incorporates both into a well-paced, compelling plot. You're never quite sure where Gwendolyn will go next, but you know you want to be there.
    Jun 13, 2016 Katie marked it as dnf
    I downloaded this from Edelweiss and read chapter 1 and nope. The writing is trying too hard and I found the main character utterly annoying. This may be for someone but that person is definitely not me.
    Oct 15, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2016
    This book was an amazing mix of Taken and the movie The Wanted.
    Gwendolyn Bloom is a well-cultured feisty teenager who is just trying to make it in a preppy and snobby school in NYC when her father who is a U.S Diplomat gets kidnapped.

    The writing immediately pulled me into the book. I wanted to be best friends with Gwendolyn and was cheering for all of her sass. The Cruelty was chock full of intrigue right from the beginning. Everything was happening so fast and you were as lost as Gwendolyn wit
    Oct 06, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
    Shelves: on-bookshelf
    3.5 stars. Maybe 3.75, so I'm rounding up.

    Full review in progress...
    Sep 12, 2016 Octavia marked it as kill-it-with-fire
    There is an episode of Family Guy where Brian is annoyed that his first book hilariously and obviously flopped. In a fit of anger, after looking at The NY Times bestseller list, Brian starts to mock self help books. He calls out the entire genre, authors, and the "idiots" who read them. He does all of this and then, as a JOKE, decides to write a self help book. As a J-O-K-E he writes a book to prove that any idiot can write that kind of book, and any idiot will buy it. And do you know what ...more
    Amy Eisener Dorman
    I refuse to read this book for a couple reasons that others have explained. It takes serious balls to publish in a genre and simultaneously insult the existing work in that genre, as well as the genre itself. In doing so, you insult both the writers (your would-have-been colleagues) and the readers (you know--the ones you want to buy your book). Why bother writing YA if you think so little of YA writers and readers? Unfortunately for this author, he vastly underestimated the YA audience.
    Jinx King
    Mar 15, 2016 Jinx King marked it as priority-tbr  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: cover-love
    To be honest it really makes me laugh seeing some of the same people who happily bought Ender's Game despite Card's blatant homophobia or have devoured resident racist Rosoff's How I live now saying they refuse to buy or read this book just because the author dissed YA.

    I would rather read a book by an egotistical author than a homophobic or racist one, thanks.
    Aug 04, 2016 Brittany rated it did not like it
    Shelves: giveaways
    I tried so hard to finish this book, but there was just so much wrong with it that I couldn't do it.
    Oct 25, 2016 Austin rated it it was amazing
    A true modern coming-of-age story that is both realistic and inspirational with a main character whose motivations and resolve echo that of a slightly younger Emily Thorne (Amanda Clarke), as seen on Revenge.

    The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom is a wonderful example of young-adult literature taking a more mature stance on real-world issues such as drug, human, and weapons trafficking, large organized crime operations, and most important of all, satisfactory revenge. Gwendolyn Bloom is a seventeen-ye
    Kari Anderson
    Mar 22, 2014 Kari Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    From Goodreads:
    When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to su
    Jamie Kline
    Wow, what an amazing book. I see people all of the time say, “I love a strong female protagonist,” and I’ve personally read books where I thought the female lead was extremely brave, strong, and intelligent. Gwendolyn, the 17 year old heroine of The Cruelty, makes other characters pale in comparison. She undeniably had a rough life, with her mother being murdered and her father’s job causing them to relocate often. She was tough from the very beginning, but her transformation from high schooler ...more
    Read other reviews at

    Sometimes you read the synopsis of a book and you know you want to read it. I found The Cruelty on NetGalley and requested it right away. A plot like this reminds me of the Fearless series back in my teens.

    Gwendolyn is your social outcast going to a snobby rich kid private school in New York City. She manages to get in because her father is a politic diplomat. Also that's why she is an outcast since she doesn't come from money. And the fact that she's odd beca
    HNGC Library
    Jun 27, 2016 HNGC Library rated it really liked it
    First, read the book before you read the Goodread comments/reviews --- more on that in a moment.

    Gwen and her father are currently stateside. Gwen's going to an elite private school while her father works for the diplomatic core. Gwen hates her school mates and moving around so much. But she loves her father and he's all she's got. When her father disappears, Gwen's world is altered. She finds some cryptic clues that lead her to believe her father wasn't just a diplomat. Then people at her fathe
    Sep 10, 2016 Jen added it
    Author controversy aside, this has the components for a decent thriller, but something is missing in the execution. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I do know my suspension of belief only stretches so far.

    DNF at page 43 and skimmed the ending.
    Rebecca Taylor
    Jul 21, 2016 Rebecca Taylor rated it it was amazing
    When her father is abducted, 17-year-old Gwendolyn Bloom must methodically search the underbelly of the European crime world and face off against the ruthless men who rule there. Over the course of the novel, this once middle-class teen’s metamorphosis into the hard edge of cruelty she will need to become in order to save her father and herself is both fascinating and magnificent to observe. Gwendolyn becomes powerful, strong, a chiseled weapon of muscle and determination—watching her become a ...more
    Tegan Mae (The Rowdy Librarian)
    This author has the nerve to make fun of YA, after writing a YA book including all the things that he insults in other YA novels. How dare you come in and think you can attack a genre that you consider yourself part of? Way to alienate a whole group of readers by coming off as a jerk. I will not be reading your book, nor will I recommend it to others. Think of your intended audience and your peers before you speak.

    To hear the whole story, check it out here:
    Devon Durand
    Read for work. Decent thriller. The execution leaves a bit to be desired. Requires healthy dollops of suspension of disbelief.
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