May 16, 2011

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Alex is a level-headed girl for the most part. As level-headed as she can be for a girl raised with the ghost of her long-dead mother & a scarcely present father. The most stable thing in her life has always been her two best friends Zack & Bethany. This terrible trio has been bonded together by their love for one another & their constant graduation-trip-to-Colorado planning.

They spend almost all of their waking time together, until new boy Cole shows up and sweeps Alex off her feet. In just a matter of weeks this budding romance turns into a full-blown relaitonship that consumes all of Alex's free time. But as their relationship moves forward, Cole becomes more & more possessive of Alex & even becomes extremely jealous of her relationship with Zack & Bethany. Things worsened quickly as Cole lashed out at Alex for the simplest things: missing his basketball practice, staying late at work to talk to her boss. Any little thing could upset him.

Alex starts to sees these changes, but thinks that things will get better if she can be better. A slippery slope begins to form & Alex doesn't know where it will end. She wants to best of both worlds with her best friends & Cole, but she doesn't know how to make it a reality; or if she'll make it through Cole's next temper-tantrum.

I must say that, despite having read the summary, this was not quite what I was expecting. There was a lot more depth to the story than an abusive boyfriend. The elements of Alex's mother's "mysterious" death, her devoted best friends, & her manager at her job all add something more to the story than I expected. All these things added more complexity to Alex & the storyline in general. Zack & Bethany were exactly what I would want & expect in best friends, especially ones together for so long.

While the story was compelling, the writing style was not at all like Brown's remarkable work in Hate List. This one was just told straight up with no intermittent articles. While there was some poetry written by the main character, it was not enough to break the flow. I think I would have enjoyed it more had there been some variance.

Overall this was an incredible book about a difficult subject that seems to be coming up more & more often in YA lit. Hopefully it is not in response to a growing trend among teenagers in general. Have you read Bitter End? What did you think? What do you think about the premise in general?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I will be reading it for our collection--and, have not read HATE LIST yet...yeah, I know, eh.

Nice to have found your blog--and you will _love_ being a librarian! imo :)