Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

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 loves and understands her. 

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, 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.

Bitter End is one of the first really good stories I've read where the plot centers around an abusive relationship. It was honest and meaningful, and honestly I bet it reached out to a lot of girls who might be in this situation. But because it was so focused on getting across this message, I did feel like a few small things were lost. Overall though, it was a quick, read and as enjoyable as any book on a topic like this can be.

The writing was good. it was simple, but it really fit the story well. I liked the way the writing sped up and almost blurred whenever Cole hit Alex, because it really mimicked what was going on in her head. I liked Alex's voice...but I just couldn't empathize with her all the time. I feel like that maybe because I've never had any personal experience with this topic, but I'm just sitting here, seeing all the red flags that are so obvious, and I'm like WHY ARE YOU STAYING WITH HIM. And then she starts sacrificing her friendships and all other relationships, just because a boy told her that he loved her. So I can't really support some of Alex's decisions, but I really applaud the point that Jennifer Brown makes with this novel. That abuse can hit anyone, turning them into a person they'd never thought they'd be.

I just wish that Cole was made more likable right off that bat. I mean, the reader knows right away that you're not SUPPOSED to like him...but I would've at least liked to buy into him a little more before he started showing his other side. Some of the things he said, some of his gestures were just...creepy. I wanted to see in Cole what Alex saw in Cole. But I did like the whole back story that developed Cole, with his parents and whatnot. People are the way they are for a reason.

Jennifer did a great job with such a serious topic. It definitely has that edge of your seat quality with it's mixture of entertaining and heartbreaking. Alex was too blinded by love to see that this boy was seriously hurting her. She started blaming herself, thinking it was her fault, something that so many women tend to do. For me, my absolute favorite moment in this book was when it finally clicked in Alex's head that it wasn't her fault. I was like finally!

Everything about Bitter End was done realistically in my opinion. I guess the disconnect for me was just struggling to comprehend some of the decisions Alex was making. How someone could be that blinded. But overall, this was a powerful book. I really enjoyed Jennifer Brown's writing style, and I've heard great things about her debut Hate List, so I'm definitely putting that on my to-read list.


Anonymous said...

I LOVED Hate List so much, and I've been dying to read Bitter End, but I haven't bought it yet.

I'm glad you liked it, and I would recommend Hate List very highly. It's very emotional and moving, very well written.

Meagan said...

Bitter End is one of the best books on the topic that I've read, for young adults. I think that it completely changed the whole idea for me, you know what I mean? There were so many released around the same time, and this one still sticks with me today. It's absolutely one of my favorites.