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 religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.
To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.
I finished this book almost two weeks 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’t compare it to anything because it’s so original.
This book had blown my mind. I don’t know what to think or feel and I love how Brutal Youth has completely stumped me. Even though I finished this book a week ago, it’s still stuck in my head.
If you’re looking for a book that’s completely original and refreshing, Brutal Youth is a perfect fit. I’m still over whelmed by this book and how crazy it is.
Anthony Breznican was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsurgh in 1998. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, Associated Press, and USA Today. He is currently a senior staff writer for Entertainment Weekly.
Brutal Youth is his debut novel.