Friday, May 20, 2011
Title: Bitter End
Author: Jennifer Brown
Published: May 10th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Copy sent by publisher for review
Summary: "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 understands her and loves her for who she really is.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, 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."
Thoughts:It seems as though a lot of books being released this year involve abuse. Lets face it, the world isn't exactly a picture perfect place. Abuse exists, and it's victims are usually too afraid to ask for help or even speak up. In Bitter End, the talented Jennifer Brown takes you on one girl's journey of how she found love, and how it went terribly, terribly wrong.
First off, I have to tell you how PERFECT the cover is for this book. Everything about it, from the clearly distressed girl, to the words written in black (they actually play a role in the story!), and everything inbetween, I just plain freaking love it. If I was wandering through the shelves at a bookstore and saw this cover, I would pick it up.
One thing I loved about Bitter End is how the story starts from the very beginning. You get to meet Alex and get to know her and her friends, Bethany and Zack, before Cole enters the picture. The "Fearsome Threesome" are a riot. I love how they prank each other, play jokes, and just how close they are in general. They're like a close knit family and though they don't verbalize it, you can tell they all love and would do anything for each other.
When Cole first enters the picture, it's clear that Zack has a problem with him. Considering Zack is portrayed as a laid back guy, it's obvious the problem isn't really Zack, but actually Cole. While this is obvious for the readers, Alex just thinks it's because any guy would be jealous of a girl who spends all her time with her guy best friend.
From the very first incident Alex has with Cole, all I wanted to do was shake Alex and tell her to run. Even after those moments, Alex constantly forgives Cole. He's the type of guy that buys your love or does "grand gestures", that way, he's never held accountable for his actions. Does it become frustrating when Alex still sticks around, even after Cole says he'll stop but doesn't? Absolutely, but it's also understandable, especially once you see how lonely Alex is. While I hated Cole (HATED HIM!), I still see what initially attracted Alex to him.
The character I loved most in this book, though, has to be Zack. Funny, witty, protective AND brave? Swoon much? I think so. This guy would do anything for his friends, even if his friends don't know he's doing it. I loved his c'est la vie nature. The only time you ever see him riled, even for a second, is when he's around Cole, and it's for a good reason. He's a genuinely good guy, and who doesn't love a good guy?
Bitter End is an emotionally driven and sometimes cringe worthy book that will have you up hours wondering what will happen next. While the main character's actions do become (at times) frustrating, you'll still be hoping against all odds that things will work out for her. This book is about friendship, relationships, pain, heart break and the different kinds of love you never knew you had all along. For fans for Dreamland by Sarah Dessen and Stay by Deb Caletti, this is the book for you. It's not an easy ready, but it's definitely a good one.