Suzanne's Reviews > Brutal

Brutal by Michael Harmon
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Feb 19, 2010

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bookshelves: peach-consideration
Read from February 19 to 22, 2010

Hmm, with Brutal, I couldn't decide between two or three stars. The topic of bullying and a main character who tries to do something to reform the educational system that not only doesn't prevent it but may actually encourage it are worthwhile. But the execution is didactic in many spots, and Harmon seems to sacrifice narrative, character, and writing style to message.

Nonconformist Poe Holly's doctor-mother has shipped her off to a father she doesn't know so that she can go play humanitarian in South America. Poe finds herself in a wealthy wine country tourist town where the school prides itself on, well, lots of pride. She revels in being different, but not all who fall outside the lines of cliques and power structure are lucky enough to choose. She befriends one such square peg who goes by the name of Velveeta and has become the target of BMOC Colby Morris. Can taking the prized soloist spot away from one of the perfect girls and refusing to wear a gym uniform shirt when althletes can wear their jerseys make any difference when bullying violence turns serious?
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