Diane Ferbrache's Reviews > Brutal

Brutal by Michael Harmon
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Mar 30, 12

bookshelves: bullies, fathers, friendship, high-school, young-adult
Read in March, 2012

Poe's mother is out of the country saving the world again, but this time Poe gets sent to live with the father she has never even met. He lives in a small town out in the middle of wine country, a far cry from her home in LA and her goth looks and LA attitude don't really fit in. When she enrolls in the local high school, she becomes fast friends with another outcast known as Velveeta. Poe tries to navigate the complicated social strata of Benders Hollow, but soon discovers that behind the rah-rah facade, the jocks and cheerleaders are a protected class who boldy and openly bully the "losers" in the school.

Poe is witty, gutsy, and relentless in her attempts to change how things work at the school. In both Poe and Velveeta (and even Poe's father) Harmon has created fully realized characters that are believable and touch the reader's heart. Yes, this is a message book. Maybe some will think the ending is a bit contrived, but for some reason I believed every moment. There's no happy every after, but the ending is certainly satisfying.

This is the third book I've read by Harmon. I really enjoy his books. His characters are real, believable, and his stories don't pull punches.
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