Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Title: Bitter End
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 10th 2011
Pages: 359
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source: Bought
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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.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I love books about dark topics, so Bitter End sounded perfect for me. I was expecting an emotional account of an abusive relationship, and that's what I got - but I also got much more than that. I love how many layers there are to Alex's story. I loved every part of it!

The account of Alex's relationship with Cole is great. It's very realistic, in each stage - I liked reading about the innocent way they got to know each other up until the, ahem, bitter end of their relationship. I was torn between understanding Alex and wanting to shake her to make her stop forgiving Cole - and when you know you're reading a good book when you're torn just the way the main character is. The depiction of the abuse Alex suffers is honest and real, and heartbreaking to read about.

The rest of the layers to Alex's story add a lot to the novel. There's the family storyline - I really liked reading about Alex's family's past and and her ongoing struggle with her mother's death, and I wish we would have gotten to know even more about her dad and his development throughout the novel. Then there's Alex's friendship with Zack and Bethany, another aspect I really enjoyed - I just wish we could have gotten more details on their relationship towards the end.

But even though I really liked almost every aspect of the novel, Bitter End doesn't quite make it to favorite-status because it didn't stand out enough to me. I've read a couple of books about abusive relationships, and while Bitter End does a good job of portraying such an issue, I didn't really see what it added to the array of novels about the topic already out there. Jennifer Brown says that she wanted to write about this topic because she wanted to address the 'heart' and emotions of such relationships, and she definitely did, but I feel that other novels have done so as well. That's why, even though I really liked it, Bitter End didn't stand out to me too much, and I don't think it'll stay with me long after finishing it.

Still, Bitter End is a great book. If you like contemporary YA stories about darker topics, and especially if you haven't read as many abuse books as me, you should definitely give Bitter End a try!


  1. I like contemporary YA stories about darker topics and I would love to read this book. I'm so excited.

    Ann@Blogging Profits


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