Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Brutal Youth” as Want to Read:
Brutal Youth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Brutal Youth

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,568 ratings  ·  399 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 religiou/>
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Brutal Youth, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,568 ratings  ·  399 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Brutal Youth
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 school in pittsburgh in the early nineties. the sch
James Dashner
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 exp
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it

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 about this book said "READ ME NOOOOW"!!

[image error]
Shelby *trains 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 focus
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
 photo Vickler.jpg_zpsfyo25qy4.png

With school back in session, the artist Cassandra Siemon has created illustrations to accompany excerpts of the dark coming-of-age novel Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican, which is new in paperback.

The book is about dirty deeds, broken hearts, and double-crosses at a crumbling Catholic high school that has become a dumping ground for troublemakers, losers, misfits, and the unlucky. Don’t let the blazers, ties, and plaid skirts fool you. There’s nothing civilized happening within these walls.
As the book opens,
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“No one is your friend at that school. Not a single person. Everyone you think you care about will disappoint you. They’ll all hurt you in the end.”

Brutal Youth is the story of Noah Stein, Peter Davidek and Lorelei Paskal – three freshmen hoping to start St. Michael’s private school with a clean slate. What they find when they get there is a powder keg ready to blow. The three discover they will be subjected to a year-long hazing . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

With teachers who have zero desire to do an
"...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 ne
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
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jul-15
Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican is a powerfully dark and mesmerizing novel. It transports the reader to our freshmen year in high school, a very frightening and uncertain time for most of us.
St. Michael's Catholic High School is a mixture of delinquent students and misguided faculty. The novels main strength lies in its characters, in the way the author creates so many distinct voices and creates feelings of compassion and hate in each of them.
Freshmen Davidek, Stein and Lorelei ar
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

Well I'm just at a loss for words with this book and how do I write this review without a spoiler. Sigh

You already know this book is about bullying. I had no idea that it's not only the horrible kids in the Catholic school, but the nuns and priests are okay with it as long as it don't go TOO FAR! And if it does they will try to pay it off. REALLY

So you had several characters in the book, the main ones that I liked were Davidek and Stein. All of these kids parents think it's great to send their kids to this school,
Taylor Knight
Jun 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
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
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 th
Alissa Patrick
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing

What a powerful story.

I've read many novels about schools and bullying, but this one just killed me. I had to stop reading it several times because I was getting too emotional, but then I knew I had to pick it back up again to find out what happens. To find out if these kids would be okay, and if the school administrators would do anything to stop it.

A Must Read.

Jun 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
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
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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 who felt the most
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Things had changed. A boy learns a lot in his first year of high school. One was a simple lesson that a lot of people figure out around his age: Surprise, surprise—the good guys don’t always win. Sometimes, they’re lucky if they just get to keep on being good guys.” - Anthony Breznican

Let me just start off this review by stating that this is one of the best debut novels that I have ever read. Anthony draws you in with his writing and it won't let you go. I felt so absorbed with all the characte
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

I was hooked from the very first sentence. It was chilling and unreal what these kids had to go through and that was just their freshmen year! Even the characters that everyone was suppose to hate I felt sorry for them more then anything else. Stephen King's comment on this book definitely holds true and I was thrilled when I learned that I had won it. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in the genre.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it

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
Campbell Andrews
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 i
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 othe
Anna Janelle
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.” ~ Stephe
Caitlin Toliver
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you haven't, read this now.
Larry H
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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 t
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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.
Nick Ivey
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been an an avid reader for years and this book is one of those rare pieces, in this age of trilogies, that you actually want for a sequel when you get to the end of the story. Mr. Breznican does a wonderful job of building characters that you cheer for one second and against the next. This being his first outing he does a great job weaving a storyteller like feel to this novel, you almost feel as your reading it that your sitting with a friend or family member who is recalling a set of me ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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’
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-ya-contemp
From the moment I got a peek at the cover of Brutal Youth, I knew I had to read it. After reading the novel, I must commend the designers. The bold cover image is a perfect fit for the novel's contents -- a harrowing, no-holds-barred dissection of a train wreck of a Catholic school, of its profligately-swearing students, equally terrifying teachers, and the secrets it contains within its walls.

Some things in life are so gruesome, so disgusting, that you want to turn away, but you are held
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Vacation in Hell
  • The Recruit (MTG Agencies #1)
  • Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s: Mischief / The Blunderer / Beast in View / Fools' Gold
  • Down Outback Roads (Outback Dust #2)
  • The Hunger Journeys
  • The Waiting Tree
  • That's Good! That's Bad!
  • The Immune System (Dewey Decimal #3)
  • A Swollen Red Sun
  • Remembering Sarah
  • Daughters of Madness: Growing Up and Older with a Mentally Ill Mother
  • Twisted
  • The Candidate
  • Gracias Thanks
  • What It Was Like
  • The Deal
  • Eve and Adam: Chapters 1-5
  • Broken Dreams (Broken, #2)
See similar books…
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.

• Twitter
• Facebook
• Official website

For Reading Groups: Discussion questions for BRUTAL YOUTH
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“The things we surrender to when we're young, we keep surrendering to the rest of our lives.” 30 likes
“But sometimes we crave the love of those we’re afraid to hate.” 24 likes
More quotes…