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BITTER END by Jennifer Brown

BITTER END

By Jennifer Brown

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-08695-0
Publisher: Little, Brown

The anatomy an abusive relationship. At 17, Alex still mourns the mysterious accidental death of her mother years ago and yearns for affection or even just more than a trailed-off half-sentence from her emotionally absent father. She feels invisible and unimportant, except to her best friends since early childhood, high-achieving Bethany and earnest goofball Zack. When Cole, a dreamy transfer student, lands in Alex’s tutoring classroom and starts flirting with her, asking to read her poetry, then asking her on a date, Alex is swept away on a cloud of romance. But when Cole starts isolating her, pinching her and then punching her, Alex begins living the nightmare of an abusive relationship. Brown (Hate List, 2009) tackles another taboo but much-discussed topic with authority and authenticity, and she doesn’t let her victim completely off the hook. Every time Cole crosses a line—physically or verbally—readers will root for Alex to break up with him. They will read on with disappointment and sympathy as she forgives him again and again before finally breaking up with him after an especially violent confrontation. It’s a little cheap to write a motherless girl, desperate to be lavished with affection, as the victim here, as if only a girl with deep-seated emotional problems would get sucked into an abusive relationship. Still, readers will be enthralled, horrified and ultimately relieved when Alex gets the mostly happy ending she deserves. (Fiction. YA)