29 July 2011

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

If this story starts to hit too close to home, then you should definitely make sure you read it through.  You can't understand the power of another's control over you unless you've been there, but Alex, Cole, and Zack pave a pathway to understanding.

Alex has always felt a little bit lost.  Her mother died in a car crash when she was very young and all she really knows is that her parents didn't have the happiest marriage and her mom was supposedly trying to escape for a more inspirational life in Colorado.  All Alex has left of her mom is a dream-catcher charm that she wears around her neck, a broken father, and a handful of pictures.  But Alex also has her friends, and she lives a pretty happy "typical" high school life.  Until Cole shows up as the new boy at school.  The new hot boy.  The new hot boy that actually seems to be interested in her!  But as Alex begins to spend more time with Cole and less time with her friends, more time lying and less time smiling, more time covering up and less time being herself, there is clearly something wrong.

This is a story of physical and emotional abuse, a story that affects many relationships - even at the very barest of levels.  Adults and teens should find this story uncomfortable and challenging, but will find even greater strength in the end.  (For more from author Jennifer Brown, check out Hate List.)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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