Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Series: None
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 328
Published by HarperTeen on June 29, 2010
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"There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they're happening to me."

When Brontë starts dating Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlins – the guy voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” her twin brother, Tennyson, isn’t surprised. But then strange things begin to occur. Tennyson and Brontë’s scrapes heal unnaturally fast, and cuts disappear before their eyes. What at first seems like their good fortune turns out to be more than they bargained for…much more.
The Bruiser is a strange boy--ahem, more like man, but still. He's secluded as well as excluded. He doesn't have friends. He doesn't like anybody. He's always the butt of the joke. Until Bronte. While working as a library assistant, Bronte assists the Bruiser in finding a poetry book. Not for a school assignment, but to read for fun. This is what intrigues Bronte the most. It isn't long before they're going on their first date that Tennyson, Bronte's older brother, dutifully ambushes with his girlfriend Katrina.

It seems as though Bronte is the only one who can see past the Bruiser's cold, rock-hard outer-self and to the soft-hearted boy on the inside. Tennyson, at first, believes the rumors and thinks that the Bruiser is just bad news. But once he really starts to get to know the Bruiser, he comes to realize that there's a real person beyond the rugged front that the Bruiser puts up to protect himself from the world.
"He's quiet," says Bronte. "He's inscrutable, but that doesn't mean he's a bad person. You know what they say: still waters run deep--"
"--and are full of missing persons."
At first I thought this book was really weird, but then it got real interesting real fast and it appealed to me more. Tennyson was my favorite character. Despite the fact that he is a hot-headed meathead ("meathead" being Brew's word), he's extremely loyal, and I love that about him. He started getting freaky in the end, but side effects are side effects.

Bronte, Tennyson's sister as well as Brew's sister, was alright. She'd be that one girl in my class that was nice to everybody, and I'd swear that it was fake. For Bronte, it's real. I just wouldn't really like her. I'd most likely make snide remarks about her and what she does. I would criticize her every move, thinking that there were underlying intentions in each one. I think that makes me somewhat insufferable, but I just wouldn't like her all that much judging on how she acts in Bruiser. We wouldn't be friends if she was real and I knew her in real life.

The reason I gave this book three stars and nothing higher is because it really didn't do much for me. It didn't teach me any important life lesson (although I think it should) nor did it teach me about character or anything of that sort. I liked it, but it didn't "move mountains" for me so to speak.

The first thing that really perturbed me about this book was that Brew's power. The extent of his healing wasn't all that shocking toward the end of the book, and I feel like this idea could've been explored a bit more in terms of the paranormal aspect of Bruiser. Also, it bugged me how Brew just submitted to his uncle's words and actions. He had to know that what his uncle was doing was wrong, and yet he never went anywhere. I know that he faced the foster care system, but...still.

Also, I didn't really like Brew's young brother Cody. He always expected Brew to heal all his injuries and he didn't seem to care that his older brother was in a lot of pain at his expense. I don't care if he was a kid; he was majorly insensitive toward his older brother and had no right to blame Tennyson for his attachment to Brew and his power, because that just made him [Cody] a hypocrite. Cody had no regard for his own well being because he believed that Brew would always heal him, which was partly true. I sort of wished that Brew just let Cody deal with his injuries from time to time, but that clearly wasn't an option for him at the time.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. It definitely had its flaws and things that could be improved. It's very different from Shusterman's other novel that I've read Unwind. It's hard to read another one of his books, because I want all of them to live up to Unwind, which was just amazing. I wouldn't recommend this book, but I wouldn't not recommend it either. It would be worth the money in my opinion if you want to buy it. Just don't get your hopes up for something amazing after reading Unwind. The two books are nothing alike in terms of being mind-blowingly awesome.
"Life," my father once said, "is all about settling." Unfortunately, he'd said that right in front of Mom, who proceeded to serve him a peanut butter and onion sandwich for dinner that night.

"Life is all about settling," she reminded him as she slipped the plate in front of him.
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