Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown


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.
This is an important book for all teens getting into dating, starting relationships, getting boyfriends and girlfriends. This one is geared more toward girls because the problem of abusive relationships tend to statistically affect girls more than guys. 

The story revolves around Alex who has a broken home where she has been ignored by her father. The hole that creates and the uncertainty of her mother's death paves the way for a relationship that becomes all consuming. Psychologically accurate, the story shows how the abuser is not a cad right away, but seems very charming. It also shows the "honeymoon" phase that often happens shortly after a escalated incident. Even after she was hit, it shows how easily confused Alex becomes. How she blames herself fo the incident. I also found her emotions of not wanting to be the focus of attention of being "that girl that was hit" also accurate especially with teens. Yes, this resonated very accurate to me.

My main criticisms of the book is that I would have liked perhaps a bit more involvement with the family. While it is true that a non-involved father creates a space for someone to easily swoop in and manipulate, it has also happened to girls who have involved parents. I also would have liked to have had more of the "little" abuses thrown into the relationship. We get to see some of that, but only toward the end of the book. These are little criticisms but not essential to the story we have. It still reads true.

I give this book 4 stars. It is a great coming of age book and shows a girl caught up in a situation she doesn't know how to handle. It also shows the strength of character it takes to stand up to someone you "love" and leave. 

Oh and PS... you will love her best friend Zack. He just rocks. :D
I received this book from Hatchette and no compensation for my review was given.

Oh and come back tomorrow for a chance to win one of 2 books to be given away. That one will be US only, but there will also be an ebook (different book) for international peeps.

22 comments:

  1. Fantastic that there are such books about. As a teenager many moons ago there was nothing for people that age and I would have loved a book on teenage relationships, something I could identify with. Great review, thanks for recommending it.

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    1. I agree. This wasn't even talked about on any level.

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  2. This was such a good book!!! Have you read Hate List? That was really good too.

    I hated that Alex's father didnt see what was happening.....it made me really mad that no family members knew what was going on..Great review Melissa

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    1. I haven't read The Hate List, but it is on my wishlist now. :)

      I know! I wanted to kick that father in the arse. ;)

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  3. I know some people aren't into "issues" book, but I think they are important. Dating abuse is real though we don't like to talk about it. Having books like "Bitter End", I hope, address the issue and get teens talking-in terms of what to expect and how to deal with these issues. I really like the author's first book, Hate List, and plan on to read this one soon. Great review, Melissa.

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    1. Exactly! This one was well done, IMO. Wasn't preachy, but just went into what she experienced and then gave info at the end of the book for those that might be going through it or know someone who is.

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  4. I remember reading reviews for this one a while back and because it reminded me of STAY, I skipped it for the time being, but yes, it sounds like a very powerful story. The confusing feelings she felt is probably a good illustration of the non involved parents, though the wish that there had been a stronger parental unit is still there.

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    1. I agree... Even if it was a mother and not a father, it still would have worked in the way the author intended. I think it is a good book for fathers so they know to be involved in their daughter's lives. So, they know what a good guy looks like. I think that is what the author was also trying to say.

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  5. I've heard great things about this book! And I think "issue" stories are really important, not only to educate those who might not be aware such things are happening, but to make those who are going through it or have gone through it feel as though they're not quite so alone. Despite the lack of family involvement, this still sounds like a fabulous read. Brilliant review!

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    1. I agree. Plus at the end of the book, it helps give tips on what to do if you suspect someone is going through this. I liked that.

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  6. Books about abuse like this always interests me because it's obviously packed with emotions but it's also a thought provoker. I hadn't heard about this one before I def. have it on my radar now!

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    1. I do hope you read it. I think you'll enjoy it and I'd be curious as to what you think about how she wrote it.

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  7. I like the sound of this book, even if it's YA ;) But I like the deeper issue it has

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  8. Nice review! This is another book I must get off my tbr pile.

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  9. I have to confess this isn't a book I would usually pick up - I 'm not a fan of issue books not becuase they aren't good but I like to escape real life when I read. Still occasionally when I want an issue book I might try this one! :)

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  10. I agree about the importance of a book like this, as teen girls are especially vulnerable to abusive relationships because of youth and inexperience. Abusers very often initially portray themselves as charismatic nice guys only to show their true colors when the girls are too emotionally invested to make the strong choices.

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  11. Fantastic review, Melissa!

    It sounds wonderful, I've not heard of this one before!

    Thanks for sharing the Fab review and the Fab new book rec. :o]

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  12. Oh wow. Sounds like a great book to help teens in this crazy world. Wonderful review.

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  13. Thanks for the review! I am contemplating bying this book for my little stepdaughter.

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  14. I read Jennifer's first book and I can't wait to see what she's done with this.

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  15. I've had Bitter End on my Wishlist FOREVER!!! I really need to grab it!! Since when is parent "non-involvement" a big surprise?? Lol

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