Courtney's Reviews > Bitter End

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
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Oct 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: abuse, realistic-fiction, teen-fiction, potential-gateway-noms-2013-14

Jennifer Brown nails it again. This woman has crazy-good insight into the teen mind. Her years studying psychology have definitely paid off, but she's written yet another amazing book that takes the idea of a "problem" novel and turns it into a multi-faceted exploration of some very difficult topics. This, her newest novel, is an anti-love story of sorts. Our protagonist, Alex, is a teen who has lost her mother and has been dealing with that for most of her young life. She's convinced that her mother was seeking something when she left the family and wound up in a fatal car accident. Her father is distant, but not unkind. Her sisters have moved on from the tragedy. Alex's friends, Bethany and Zach, are her primary support network. They've even been planning a trip to the mountains where Alex's mother was headed before she died to see what kind of closure they can find. And then a new kid, Cole, arrives at school. He's good looking and interested in Alex, which is new and exciting for her. They begin a relationship, which starts out well, but quickly distorts into something terrible.
Brown effectively gets into the mind of the victim of abuse. Alex knows there's something wrong with their relationship, but she's so caught up on not wanting to be seen as a victim that she finds herself rationalizing the patterns of abuse that occur and draw her deeper into Cole's demented world. Alienated from just about everyone, Alex is running out of people to turn to. And the reader can only pray that she is able to find a way out before it's too late.
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