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Bitter End

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When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.

359 pages, Hardcover

First published May 10, 2011

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About the author

Jennifer Brown

158 books1,603 followers
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association's Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association's Taysha's high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association's Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer's second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha's high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

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5 stars
2,644 (34%)
4 stars
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3 stars
1,794 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
173 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 809 reviews
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 2 books19.3k followers
May 12, 2016
Uma história comovente sobre o ponto de impotência que uma vítima de relacionamento abusivo pode chegar. Recomendo muito, muito, muito.

O livro vai ser comentado no vídeo de Leituras do Mês de abril =)
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews748 followers
February 13, 2012
I’m usually one to stay well away from books that deal with sensitive subjective matters such as abuse, so what made me pick up this book? I don’t really know, I thought to myself a new year, so maybe I should try something different. Different it definitely was, but did I enjoy it as much? Not really.

Being in an abusive relationship is a difficult situation people can find themselves in, many for whatever reason feel they can’t ever end the relationship or leave their partner. Many are convinced that it’s a one off and will never happen again, many believe their partner when they say they will change if they take them back. But it rarely happens that way and the vicious cycle continues. This is the situation Alex finds herself in, new guy at school, great looking, confident, she gets paired to tutor him, he seems interested in her, gives her compliments and is a sweet talker. Soon they start spending more and more time together until they’re practically dating. Cole seemed decent enough at first, but slowly the cracks started to appear, he started getting jealous and over protective if Alex was spending too much time with her best friend Zach, he would just turn up out of the blue where Alex said she would be as if he was checking up on her and he would be continually watching her that it became kind of creepy. Anyone could say the signs were blatantly obvious; her best friends Bethany and Zach were always warning her to be careful and Cole’s behaviour started becoming more erratic. But being in Alex’s situation it must have been tough, as she was torn between her love for her real first boyfriend, who loved her back and the person she was before she met Cole. She’s a shadow of her former self now, she was carefree, easy going, had plans to travel to Colorado with her two best friends Bethany and Zack, but now she can’t make even make a single decision without over thinking everything. Will Cole approve? Will Cole get mad? And what would she do if he left her? She would have no one and she would be all alone again.

So why the two stars?

Let me just start off by saying I’ve heard great things about Jennifer Brown, Hate list has been one of her book that I can’t wait to read and it’s obvious she’s a talented author, as she has written Bitter end really well. But I just felt that it took ages for the story to get going and then finally when we got to the actual nitty gritty, my heart wasn’t really in the story anymore. I’d lost interest completely, I was reading just for the sake of reading and not because I was actually enjoying the book.

I find that I like a book much more when I connect with the characters or even like some of them. Sadly none of the characters really appealed to me. Cole was just a heartless thug, Celia; Alex’s sister was selfish and whiny, Bethany we didn’t really get the chance to get to know her character much, Zach the only character who I thought had potential wasn’t in the story much. And Alex I did really feel for her, she’s been through so much already; with her mum passing away when she was younger, her dad being closed off all the time and her drifting away from her best friends because of Cole. But I like characters who draw me into the story more, who I feel a connection with and make the story worthwhile reading it, and I didn’t get any of this from Alex.

Also some of the scenes were really hard to stomach. I’m glad in a way that I took a chance with this book because it made me realise that these sort of books; with an abusive storyline aren’t really for me.

Bitter end was a book with a solid storyline and great potential, but just didn’t do it for me. However I still will be checking out Jennifer Brown’s other books and hopefully I will appreciate and enjoy them a lot more than this one.
Profile Image for Lyra.
105 reviews18 followers
January 18, 2013
I'm still reeling from this one.

I don't like how Bethany and Zack were portrayed later on in the book. That ruined it all for me. If it were my friend being abused (and Alex admitted it to Bethany), I would help her. I don't care if she hates me for doing so, I don't care if she never talks to me again, I WILL help her. I would do anything that I can to reach out to her. I won't look at her with sadness and disappointment and slowly remove her from my life. I wouldn't treat her formally and stop treating her like she's not someone I know very well. I would fight for her. They didn't do that. She needed help, and they knew that. They were too immersed in the fact that Alex traded them in for Cole, and they allowed that to cloud their judgment. They could have helped. They really could have. They tried a little, sure, but they stopped almost immediately. They stopped trying. Even though they knew he hurt her, they stopped trying to reach out to her. They knew she was in over her head, heck, Alex admitted to Bethany that sometimes she felt that she deserved Cole's beatings. What did Bethany do? She CRIED. That's it. That would have been the perfect time to step in and bring in adults into the issue. But no, they just couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that Alex chose Cole over them, so they just let Alex be. They just let her GO. They knew she was getting hurt, they knew something was horribly wrong (I cannot emphasize enough that ALEX FLAT-OUT ADMITTED THE FACT THAT SHE WAS BEING ABUSED TO BETHANY) and yet they did nothing. NOTHING. That was just wrong.

Maybe some of you are thinking that a person who refuses to be helped cannot be helped, but this is not one of those times. When a person you know is getting abused, HELP. It's as simple as that. HELP.

Full review to come soon.
Profile Image for Laura.
3,720 reviews95 followers
March 27, 2011
I wanted so much to love this book the way I loved The Hate List but, well... it's so much about the message that it just gets lost there. What I mean is, there are other books (like Cut or Wintergirls) where I felt that the author had a character who, as she developed, had a problem, but in this one I felt that the author had a problem she tried to fit characters around.

Alex's relationship with Zach and Bethany is so close that they're the Terrible Three, in and out of each other's homes all the time. Then, senior year, Cole transfers and things change. He doesn't like Alex hanging around with Zach, and he's not fond of Bethany either. As he and Alex get more involved, he starts isolating her from her friends... and then he starts being violent. Of course Alex believes him when he says that he's sorry, and that it will never happen again.

The problem isn't that this is an issue that teens should be aware of (just think about all those Team Edward fans) but that, as I said, the book doesn't feel organic to me. Cole never hits the obsessive calling every few minutes stage until the very end, and while we hear he's stalking, it seems very low key. Also, how did the news about him not spread from high school to high school? That seems very odd - particularly if he played sports, someone should have spilled the beans.

ARC provided by publisher.
Profile Image for Caroline.
144 reviews3 followers
September 15, 2018
Tinha tudo para ser interessante...

Que livro mal escrito , creeedooo
Profile Image for Lisa.
682 reviews5 followers
August 13, 2011

I think anyone who has been in any sort of abusive relationship will read this and see some form of themself in Alex. It's hard to read about what she goes through and see how many chances she has to get out.

I will say that my first boyfriend was a bit abusive. Not in a physical way, but emotionally. And the worse he made me feel about myself, the more power I gave to him and the deeper I fell into what felt like a neverending hole. I think most girls will go through an abusive relationship in their life and you can never say "I'd never let someone abuse me" or "I'd be gone so quick if..." because you don't know until you are living it.

I used to think that way before my first relationship and then I lived over 4 years of my life letting someone kick me emotionally. And reading this book made my eyes well up a few times because there were a few times where it just put me back in the past.

The thing I envied about Alex is that she had two amazing best friends. I've never had best friends like that. The most important people in my life have always been my parents and my sister. But I got why she didn't want to tell what was happening. I kept every bad thing inside me as well and only let it all out after I finally got up the nerve to call my ex and say "I can't do it anymore". After that call, I went to my mom and let it all out. She knew I wasn't being treated well but she didn't know the specifics. Then later I let it all out again to my sister and thats when I realized there was nothing to be ashamed about anymore. Sometimes, keeping things inside just hurts us more than anything.

So I understood why Alex didn't want anyone to know. No one wants to admit they are being treated badly and letting it continue happening. No one wants to admit that things are bad and they need help.

What Alex went through in this book was heartbreaking. No one deserves to be abused in any way. It's hard being in the situation and feeling trapped and confused. But most people have a group of people who love them and would do anything for them. And once I started talking about everything, I realized I had a lot of people who loved me and they all knew I was being treated wrong. (And they all hated my ex with a passion)

I found the beginning of Bitter End to be slow but after the first 100 pages, it picked up and I couldn't really put it down. It's not a happy story but it's one a lot of girls have been through.

I don't know what to say. The person you are with should make you feel proud and happy. You shouldn't feel ashamed of the way they treat you or others. And you should always feel safe with them.

Also, you should never be ashamed to ask people for help or to talk to someone if you feel unhappy about anything. Life is too short to be sad and scared. I learned a lot from my abusive relationship. But I wouldn't wish all that pain and misery on anyone.
Profile Image for Talita .
319 reviews29 followers
February 3, 2022
que ódio pqp me fez tremer igual um pinscher raivoso. muito se fala sobre agressor x vítima, mas pouco se fala sobre os amigos da vítima, aqueles que ouvem os desabafos, aconselham e são obrigados a ver a pessoa investir cada vez mais num relacionamento desastroso. a pessoa afunda e te leva junto, é desgastante
Profile Image for Missy.
421 reviews81 followers
May 19, 2011
Alex has found the guy of her dreams. He's everything - a star athlete, good looking and absolutely adores her. She can't imagine her life without him, and she has no intention of ever having to do so. There's something else taking hold of her relationship though, too. It's a kind of possessiveness that's foreign to Alex but very familiar to Cole. He doesn't want to have to share her, and he'll do anything to ensure he doesn't have to. Alex doesn't want to lose him, but it's more than that. She's afraid she's begun to lose herself, and she's not sure who she really is, or even was anymore.

I'm not going to dance around this review at all. I usually like to lead into a review and break it down into pieces, but some books make it easy for the reader to understand the book and feel fulfilled from the start. Bitter End was the epitome of a homerun YA contemporary read. Powerful, hard-hitting and extremely realistic, author Jennifer Brown clearly did her research when writing this book. Bitter End presents a story that's fairly common though often in an undercurrent in society, bringing it to a new light with a teenage girl who is vulnerable, yes, but learning to find herself through a maze of abuse.

Bitter End could very easily have been a so-so read. All that had to happen was have an emotionally disconnected main character with no spine and a self-deprecating attitude. Luckily, however, Alex was none of the above. She was a strong girl with the world at her feet, and the terror of her relationship with Cole was that it didn't start with blatant physical abuse. Cole slowly chipped away her armour until he had her in the palm of his hand. By that time, it was so believable that Alex was alone in her world that, as a reader, I could understand why Cole had such a power over her. Bitter End presented a harrowing tale with a main character that broke my heart and slowly helped me piece it back together again...a feat that is hard to find in a lot of the books I read.

I have a habit of looking for flaws in the books I read today, but I have to admit that I couldn't find any in Bitter End. Emotional and raw, I give it a 5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction. Fans of Raw Blue will probably find this to be an extraordinary read.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,226 reviews391 followers
February 12, 2021
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten!

Jennifer Brown’s novels have made me sob and left me cold. The quality of them is pretty unpredictable, really. When they’re good, they’re great, but when they’re bad, they’re paint-by-numbers Social Issue kind of books: not necessarily bad but trying too hard to be current. I’ve eyed Bitter End for years and hoped it would work for me, but it’s probably my least favorite of Brown’s YA novels so far.

The characters themselves play their roles in this morality tale well, but none of them are all that memorable. Alex has little in the way of a personality. Sure, you feel for her when Cole’s words of discouragement turn into him beating the stuffing out of her–who wouldn’t feel for her in that situation?–but you do it because of the situation, not because of her. She has as much life as an actual punching bag. Cole has a bit more personality and a background with an abusive dad of his own, but he’s not much to psychoanalyze either.

Alex and Cole’s relationship is followed for the length of roughly a school year and the book moves slowly in part because of that. Their story has value and is a serviceable examination of what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship as a teen, but there’s no heart. There’s nothing about Bitter End that evokes genuine emotion. It’s a cautionary tale of how It Could Happen To You, a two-page case study from a domestic violence course expanded into a novel. What more can you say about a novel where the characters play roles instead of existing? It’s all didactic, nothing real.

Much of the characterization’s faults lie in how the novel tells us more about these characters than it shows us. Alex tells us one of her best friends is a such-and-such kind of person, but it’s more of an informed trait. After so many instances of this, your eyes might start to glaze over and the novel suddenly becomes longer than it is.

Overall, Bitter End is too lifeless a novel to really talk about in depth. I’ve read all but one of Brown’s YA contemp novels now and this is absolutely her weakest thus far. I suggest reading Hate List or Torn Away instead so you can see Brown’s work at its best.
Profile Image for irene.
1,157 reviews32 followers
June 1, 2014
Los otros libros que he leído de esta autora me han gustado mucho, porque los siento reales y expresan situaciones y problemas tan comunes y al mismo tiempo, poco hablados en los libros… En fin, me estoy complicando, así que me centraré en lo que pienso de este libro:

Bitter End nos habla del abuso en las relaciones, o mejor dicho de qué se puede hacer cuando se está en una relación con una persona violenta; nos explica lo que pasa cuando (en este caso) Alex comienza a salir con Cole y piensa que es un chico perfecto; pero en realidad no nota todos esos detalles posesivos y celosos de él. Comienza a alejarse de sus amigos y a centrarse sólo en él… Obviamente eso no es bueno. Y cuando él comienza a abusar de ella, no tiene nadie a quién hablarle de esto; o mejor dicho, sí tiene personas a las que puede decirles, pero que no se atreve porque no quiere saber qué es lo que pensarían de ella.

La historia me estresó como no tienen idea, más de lo que jamás lo había hecho otro libro. Dejaba de leer cada ciertas páginas porque era demasiada mi frustración con Alex, quería sacudirla y hacerla entender el mal que le hacía Cole. Pero a pesar de mi estrés, el libro es bueno. Nos hace ver el abuso desde los ojos de una chica que pasa por esto, y eso se agradece.

El libro tiene ciertos detalles que no me parecieron tan realistas, pero por lo demás, se le debe dar una oportunidad al menos.
Profile Image for Myndi .
1,371 reviews50 followers
March 10, 2019
Another book from the Teen Dating Violence Awareness display at my library. While this book was really difficult to read because of the subject matter, (perhaps one of the most difficult on this display so far,) it was also really hard to put down.

Alex's story shows how easily the victim can go straight to believing they deserve what's happening to them. How they rationalize in their minds that if they would stop making their partner so angry, this wouldn't be happening. Alex was already of the mind that she was not good enough, so when Cole starts dating her, she thinks someone finally gets her, understands her, loves her. So when things turn south, she makes excuses after excuses and defends him.

What happened over the course of this book was downright scary. Alex was one of the lucky ones and I'm thankful that the author shows her taking steps in her future to make sure she uses her experience to help other people, rather than staying silent like the other girls did.

I'm so thankful that our library decided to put up this display, and even though it's down now because it's now March and not February, I hope these books have been able to touch more lives than just mine.
Profile Image for Raquel Costa.
183 reviews20 followers
July 31, 2018
***4.5 estrelas***

Acabei esse livro já tem quase 24 horas, e ainda assim não sei nem o que falar, ele trata de um tema tão intenso que não tem como ele não mexer com vc.
Cada dia mais vemos na mídia e até mesmo alguns livros falando sobre relacionamento abusivo, é isso livro trata disso e com personagens adolescentes.
Primeira paixão, primeiro namoro, primeiro amor... primeiro empurrão 😢.
A autora abordou de uma forma que durante a leitura eu só queria pegar Alex no colo e tentar ajudar, não teve como eu ler o livro e não pensar na minha filha futuramente, e todos os SE rodarem na minha mente.
E se acontece com minha filha, e se eu não perceber. Ou até mesmo e se acontecer cmg, pq por mais que a gnt saiba do assunto, infelizmente pode acontecer. E se... E se...
Sabe aquele livro que vai te apertando o coração aos pouquinhos e quando vc menos imagina já tá querendo colocar o personagem no colo e proteger de tudo? Foi exatamente assim que me senti.
A autora mostrou todas as fases de um relacionamento abusivo, mas também mostrou todos os medos e dúvida da vítima.
Eu recomendo esse livro pra todos, inclusive pra adolescentes pra de alguma forma alertar e quem sabe reconhecer pra evitar que algo assim aconteça, ou até mesmo poder procurar ajuda, pq a culpa não é da vítima.
Só não dei 5 estrelas pq eu queria um pouco mais do final, mesmo entendendo ele, eu queria saber mais da Alex.
Profile Image for Jo.
757 reviews35 followers
April 27, 2012
I almost gave this book three stars, but after finishing my review the first time, I decided my initial two-star rating was more accurate. Yes, this is Jo’s Review 2.0. Yes, the book addresses an important issue that needs discussion. Yes, the author wrote a book that I read in two days.

However… I have several issues, which I shall now discuss in a convenient list format, ‘cause that’s just how I roll.

1. The plot is predictable. If you’ve read any book about an abusive relationship, you can see what’s going to happen from the first belittling comment. (If you read the jacket blurb, you can see what’s going to happen before you start the book.)

2. The Main Character (MC) acts like a fool. I’m not talking about the dating-an-abuser thing. That’s not a situation I’m prepared to judge. I’m talking about the part where she refuses to listen to Best Friend’s concerns. They’ve been friends since shortly after infancy, but she won’t even ask why Best Friend dislikes Boyfriend. A summary of their interactions:

"I don't like that guy," says Best Friend.
"Too bad, 'cause he's totally my boyfriend," replies MC.

Um… Can I get a “Why not?” ? If they've been friends for so long, she should have some respect for his opinions; instead, she assumes he's some kind of jealous and refuses to acknowledge that he’s capable of intelligent thought and reasoned opinions. For this reason, I feel like MC was at least a fool, if not truly an idiot.

3. The parental distance felt like the author’s contrived plan to eliminate adult supervision without eliminating parents. 13 years ago, your mother died, and your father was so grief-stricken that he hasn’t completed a sentence since. In 13 years, he hasn’t shared any thoughts, had a conversation, or set out the ground rules. So what do you do? I think I’d get eventually pissed and start a yelling match. But our MC just bites her tongue and deals with it.

At first, I accepted it. My ability to suspend my disbelief is prodigious. But when Little Sister tells Dad the MC’s new boyfriend (who is also her first boyfriend) is a jerk, he doesn’t ask about Boyfriend. Nor does the MC express her frustration with his lack of interest. While I understand not airing your parental problems with someone who is essentially a stranger, I don’t understand not saying something to the offender. That’s like expecting your brother to stop using the work "puke," which makes you queasy, without actually asking him to stop. You want your dad to be more aware/involved/parental? You have to tell him you’re unhappy with the current situation.

Thus, I began to doubt the accuracy of the MC’s perception of her father. Especially when I remembered how he picks Little Sister up from school and goes grocery shopping… If you can’t finish a sentence, how do you go grocery shopping? Or know Little Sister needs picking up? Or tell Little Sister you can’t pick her up Tuesday? And while an Unreliable Narrator (UN) is an interesting literary technique (The narrator in Nabokov’s Lolita is a classic example), I don’t think that’s what the author was going for here. And the more I think about this strange relationship, the more I feel like it was stupid. I at least need the author to clarify why the narrator/MC does this. Does she worry that pissing Dad off will cause him to leave, thus putting her in foster care and leaving her with no one? Has she gotten angry and yelled at him before, to no avail? Does he just stare blankly, then go to bed when she’s done? Does he say “Okay” when she finally storms off, and then change nothing? Why is our MC so resigned to just living with her Dad’s behavior?

I’m going to stop there, before I spend another three (or more) paragraphs ranting about it. My conclusion: An important topic that needs addressing and discussion and whatever else. But Brown has fallen into the trap trope of Teenagers Without Adults, and it bugs me. A lot. I don’t think this is a book I’d recommend. Not that it was a bad book. Just that I really dislike Teenagers Without Adults books. Especially as I encounter more of them.
10 reviews3 followers
June 14, 2011
"Bitter End" is such an honest, raw, and heartwrenching novel that once I started, I could not put it down. From the very first chapter, I was pulled into Alex's story. Judging by the cover, I had initially thought there was no way I would like the book. I'm not into romance stories or books about relationships, but this book far exceeded by expectations. It's not a sappy romance novel or typical teen book about first boyfriends. It is a very real account of a young girl who becomes wrapped up in the cycle of abuse and cannot seem to find her way out.

I think what struck me the most about reading this book was that I saw aspects of myself in Alex. She is a very different character than me, and I have not had the same life experiences she has had, but I could definitely see why it was so hard for her to break up with Cole or tell anyone what was going on. She wanted so much to make him happy. I think that is something that many young girls struggle with, especially when they are first starting to find boyfriends.

Jennifer Brown does an absolutely fantastic job of weaving such a believable narrator and such real characters. Zack and Bethany, for example, are more complex than one first believes. They are not just minor stock characters. They have a long and complex history with Alex, and their relationship changes dramatically throughout the course of the book. It is all very realistic. Another example is with Cole, as well. Brown does not justify his actions, but she does give the readers clues as to why he is the way he is. He has learned a lot of nasty habits from his parents. At times, just like Alex, I felt myself feeling sorry for Cole, but other times I was just as chilled and afraid as Alex would have been when I could tell he was about to lose his temper. Books don't always make my heart pump faster or make me cry, but this one did.

I don't have a single negative criticism of this book because I felt it was so well written. It is definitely worthy of a YA award. It is a powerful book, and I highly encourage teen girls to read it. It's possible it could save their life one day. The book also contains resources and hotlines to call for anyone who is struggling with an abusive relationship. Parts of this book are really tough to read and get through, but Alex's story is a story that needs to be told and read and passed on to others.
Profile Image for TinaB.
534 reviews134 followers
July 25, 2015
This was a scary read.

The hardest and scariest part about Bitter End was Cole and not because he was the bad guy, it was because in the beginning and half way through the violence I liked him. I kept thinking ok hes a good guy, he wont really hit her….and then later angry because the Cole I liked disappeared.

I began to despise him slowly, but at the same time I felt really bad for him and how he became who he was, Cole needed help desperately, but no one could help because he was already too far gone. I understood the tangled mix of emotions Alex was going through and I can only imagine in real life how hard it would be to deal with this train wreck.

Cole should never have been able to continue hitting Alex, nobody stepped in and nobody stopped anything. Even after Alex’s best friends found out he was hitting her, they never told an adult, they never reported it or even got involved...sometimes its hard to be the person who says something, who takes a stand, regardless though had anyone, be it the father, sister or the best friends had actually taken a risk and spoke out, Alex may have avoided the escalating violence against her.

I think teens will benefit (especially girls) reading about the stages Alex went through, from the first signs of trouble- the stalking made to be romantic, the controlling and obsession the name calling, the manipulation- all these things that young girls sometimes think is love. I can give you a list of potential abusers in YA novels, its not glamorous to be stalked, controlled or to become a mans obsession, young women need to know these are flaws in a man.

A thought provoking look into teenage domestic violence and the cycle of abuse.
Profile Image for Claudia.
2,442 reviews85 followers
December 20, 2012
Alex has great friends, but feels lonely in her own home. Her mother's sudden death and her father's inability to cope with three active daughters has made her easy prey for Cole...Cole, new kid - handsome, mysterious, athletic. Cole seems to appreciate her like no one else does, not Bethany or Zach, her best friends.

So what if Cole is sometimes controlling, or grabs her wrist too hard, or says hateful things. He loves her. He always says sorry and gives her roses. He loves her. He understands her. He's always remorseful -- every time he hurts her.

Brown explains that she's studied domestic violence with the hopes of understanding what goes through the victim's mind. How does she continue to forgive, to make excuses? To stay? We always proclaim that would NEVER happen to us. But it does, to any number of us. She shows us how to be compassionate, patient, as the victim realizes for herself that she must escape.

There were times I wanted to reach into the book, grab Alex (not violently! She has enough violence in her life!), and tell her to wake up! That's how convincing and spot-on her voice is. We see her change from a good friend who keeps too much of her heartbreak to herself, but still an open kid, to a true battered woman who doesn't know what will set off her abuser, who takes responsibility for his outbursts. We see people who love her trying to reach out, make her break the horrible silence she's locked in.

This book had been recommended by every girl who read it. Every girl who DOES read it will be wiser. She will be able to recognize potential abusers, and she'll have a reason to get away.

What an intense book.
Profile Image for Tana.
619 reviews195 followers
November 1, 2011
Bitter End is a book about a girl falling in love with a handsome young man, who held her, who loved her who made her feel special. Feelings she had never felt before. She was in love! Then he gets a bit jealous, and then he says he is sorry, he loves her. Then he hits her, calls her names, and says he sorry ...holds her loves her. Nothing she can do because she loves him so much. She loves him...... he loves her, he holds her touches her loves her. Then he hits her calls her names. She loves him.

Jennifer Brown is a great author and hits the emotions the reality of loving an abusive man.

Every young woman should read this story.

She loves him, he hits her, he says he sorry and loves her.
This is a sad, heart wrenching story; it’s the story of many women.

Book Description:
When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.
Profile Image for Krisanne Stewart.
179 reviews3 followers
June 13, 2011
This book scared the be-Jesus out of me. My good friend Kasey Kamenicky introduced me to Hate List by Jennifer Brown, which is a fabulous piece of work. I couldn't wait to read this book, as I am a fan of the way Brown deals with tough subjects. Having said that, I found myself arguing in my head that Alex really wouldn't put up with that kind of crap from Cole. After having convinced myself that Brown got it all wrong, she would remind us that no one in the book loves Alex like she truly wishes to be loved. Except for Cole. Cole did a very good job of preying on a girl with low self estee, and then showered her with attention. Some parts of the book I had to read with one eye closed, especially when he beats her. Those scenes are tough to survive for both the reader and Alex. Brown does a terrific job of making Cole human and even makes us sympathetic towards him because of his terrible home life, and that kinda made me sick to my stomach. I found myself actually feeling like Alex was..."oh, he's not that bad...he always says he's sorry...his dad is so terrible...he probably grew up watching his mom being abused he can't help it.." One thing this book will make me do is talk to my daughter about abusive relatinships just to make perfectly sure that she knows that pinching and put-downs are never acceptable, no matter how much you think someone loves you.
Profile Image for grieshaber.reads .
1,583 reviews38 followers
September 8, 2012
Bitter End is a book that should be thrust into the hands of every teenage girl. Like it should be handed out at 9th grade registration. Bitter End is a book that every teenage boy should be forced to read. As a lesson. Like, "don't do this to your girlfriend. ever." kind of lesson. Bitter End is a book that should be required reading for every parent of a teenage girl. Side note, Daddies, hug your daughters and tell them you love them. Bitter End is a book that explores dating violence without turning into one of those preachy YA books from the 80s (thanks to Brian Katcher for the reference). All of this and it's a good read, too.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
366 reviews285 followers
October 10, 2011
This is a 2.5-stars read for me. I may not review this book, since I feel like I'm becoming redundant in reviews - how many times can I talk about the same thing? Go over the same character flaws and lack of emotion? Discuss the common DPS and TSTL best friends? Talk about choppy writing and dry poems? - but just know that this book isn't necessarily bad. It just isn't anything special.
Profile Image for Janet.
Author 33 books655 followers
March 7, 2012
Such a moving and eye opening portrayal of abuse. Yes. There were tears.
Profile Image for Nicole aka FromReading2Dreaming.
259 reviews67 followers
October 13, 2018

If you or anyone you know is being abused please talk to someone. Here are some hotlines, if you need to talk:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474; Live Chat: www.loveisrespect.org

This book is unlike any other YA book I have ever read. It's raw, and tells a story you will never forget. I must candid though, this book is very emotional and I had to set it down a couple of times because I was ready to burst into tears.

The novel follows Alex, and her new relationship with Cole, the perfect guy. Like seriously I was amazed on how much I liked his character in the beginning, but that quickly changed. As the trigger warning states, this book is how Cole abuses Alex in their relationship. This book perfectly describes the cycle of abuse, and how it tears down a person. It shows how Alex is torn down, and how she believes the abuse is her fault.

Throughout the novel, the story falters in some places. I honestly would have liked more background information on certain things because it felt as if large chunks of the story were missing. The author tends to jump around on that info. But, besides that it was amazing.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about abusive relationships. It is a raw and emotional book, that will leave you feeling sick. Because you know that this happens to people everyday. It gives a whole new perspective in ya genre, and it is a pivotal book in this genre. And I hope more people read it.
Profile Image for Denise Macário.
431 reviews
September 11, 2018
Vou deixar claro que não é uma resenha, sim um desabafo...

Esse livro foi uma indicação/intimação de uma amiga, já sabia o que me aguardava. Não conhecia a autora, me vi envolvida na narrativa dela.

Desde que comecei ler thrillers e darks, procuro não me colocar no lugar dos personagens pra manter segura minha sanidade, mas aqui foi impossível, não só de me colocar no lugar da Alex, mas o tempo todo pensava e se fosse com meus filhos? Será que eu perceberia? Conseguiria ajudar? Isso me deixava tão aflita, parei de ler e fui falar com minha filha "sabe que vc sempre pode confiar em mim, não importa a situação", é uma coisa que sempre falo, mas que "uau" esse livro faz isso com a gente rsrs.

Uma coisa muito importante, A VÍTIMA NÃO TEM CULPA, muitas vezes escutamos sobre relacionamentos abusivos, percebo tanta falta de empatia....

A autora mostra todos os ciclos do relacionamento, o que passa na cabeça da personagem, é impactante, emocionante.

Acho que esse livro deveria ser lido por todos adolescentes.

Pensei muito sobre o final, a princípio achei bem corrido, mas a mensagem foi bem pensada, então não posso dar menos que 5⭐ pelo tanto que senti.

No mais, vamos conversar com nossos filhos, nada de deixar frases pela metade...

Ah, amei os amigos da Alex ❤.

📚"Amedrontada demais para correr.
Pasma demais para continuar em pé.
Machucada demais para ser corajosa, revoltada ou qualquer outra coisa além de arrasada."

📚"...às vezes, amá-lo era como andar de montanha-russa sem conseguir recuperar o fôlego entre curvas e quedas. E, nessas o ocasiões, tudo que queria era cair fora."
Profile Image for Maria Cecilia.
263 reviews5 followers
April 2, 2022
É um bom livro, com uma ótima mensagem sobre relacionamento abusivo que muitas pessoas passam durante a adolescência, principalmente garotas.

Mas é mal escrito.
Profile Image for Colin.
704 reviews78 followers
February 13, 2017
A BITTER END to a bitter year. Haha, get it?

But seriously though, I'm glad 2016 is over—not that I feel all that optimistic for 2017, but still, I'm glad. I do apologise for this review being eight days late, since I finished Bitter End on Dec. 28 and we're already five days into 2017. Lately I haven't been feeling up to writing book reviews—either I'm too lazy or just don't have anything to say. But still, I don't want to let myself be too lazy in coming up with book reviews or there's really no point in me having a Goodreads account.

Jennifer Brown's books are always a hit and miss for me.

Sometimes I love them (Hate List), sometimes I simply like them (Thousand Words), sometimes I just don't get them (Perfect Escape). This time, however, I just didn't care for them.

Bitter End was written like a pamphlet you get from the guidance counselor's office. Seriously. Reading it was like watching one of those cheesy, poorly acted videos showed at a high school assembly discussing issues like rape, street violence, or drunk-driving, but in this case, abusive relationships.

Brown got the main issue of the story down pat. It seemed to me like she did her research, there was nothing problematic about the way she wrote the abuse Alex experienced (and anyway, I've never been in an abusive relationship so I wouldn't know). However, all the characters felt like cardboard, and it seemed like in this book, Brown forgot how to write about teenagers. Her writing in this particular book felt like she's never personally met a teenager, so she just assumed how teenagers act and talk and wrote them like that. Zack was this weird mix of class clown and pervert douchebag, and for some reason Alex and Bethany don't feel seriously repulsed at him for being this way, just enough for them to express their playful disdain but they never seriously call him out on it. There were these lame "breast" jokes and other jokes on female body parts that Alex mentions whenever she talks about Zack and I'm just?? How does this kind of behaviour fly when you're a guy who has two female best friends?? (He was also described as always having a toothpick in his mouth... like, really? What is this, the 1950's with Zack as a greaser?) I've just never met any girls who were okay with that kind of behaviour from a guy they considered their best friend—they either stayed away from those guys or called them out on it.

I also couldn't find Zack and Alex's friendship realistic. How is it that a guy can tickle a girl or wrestle with her or whatever and not have something romantic going on? Maybe it's just me, but even if I was best friends with a guy, I wouldn't let him physically interact with me like that, unless we were romantically interested in each other. It would've just made more sense if Zack and Alex were romantically involved if they did stuff like that. It's not me being old-fashioned, guys and girls can TOTALLY be best friends with no strings attached...I'm just saying I can't relate to the lack of boundaries regarding personal space that Alex and Zack set up, even if they've been best friends for a long time.

I also didn't understand Celia, Alex's younger sister. She seemed to hate her for literally NO REASON at all. There wasn't even any bickering in the nature of "STOP TAKING MY THINGS WITHOUT ASKING!" etc, she just was really bitchy to Alex for no apparent reason whatsoever. I also found it creepy how Zack "hangs out" with Celia, who is only a high school freshman, even without Alex around. What the hell?

That's probably my main problem with this book: the characters felt two-dimensional to me. And they were also written weirdly. But to be honest, even with this, I probably still would've given this book at least 3 stars. The reason I rated it 2 stars was:

I wasn't satisfied with the story.

I spent my time reading this book building up anger towards Cole, the abuser. I mean, he's got to be held accountable in some way, right? I was confident he would get what he deserved in the end, justice would be served, the ending would be a relief.

It didn't turn out like that at all.

I was expecting some sort of big takedown scene. Maybe an intervention where Alex's dad would finally talk to her. Maybe some big revelation where Alex's family and relatives find out she's being abused. A huge confrontation with Cole. Something.

I'm not gonna spoil it, but needless to say, I was let down. There could've been a dozen different variations to a climactic, shit-goes-down scene, but nope.

As a reader that sympathised with the main character, that put myself in the character's shoes, I felt powerless.
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