“It was nothing.” he said. “Just kids stuff.” ~Davidek, Brutal Youth.
Brutal youth is filled with the harsh realities of “just kid stuff”. It is also filled with the even harsher reality that this “just kid stuff” molds and forms into “Just adult stuff.” What we learn as children becomes who we are as adults.
I received Anthony Breznican’s new novel Brutal Youth, Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, after winning an Advance Reading Copy from a Giveaway on Goodreads in May 2014. The back cover caught my eye and I have been hooked ever since. The focus of the story surrounds a Catholic School, three freshman and the hazing they endure at the hands of their upperclassmen and teachers.
The reader is drawn into the novel with a violent opening story that could have happened in any school, in any hometown, in any state. The reader follows the three freshman as they try to navigate through the twisted and hate filled halls of St. Michael the Archangel High School.
The novel is an easy read. The language is simple and inviting. The novel is not filled with fluff. Anthony Breznican will tear your heart out one minute and have you eating it for breakfast the next. During which time, you will be laughing, crying and thanking him.
At first glance, the reader may think this book is geared toward the Young Adult crowd. It is more than that. Adults will find themselves thrown into their own memories of High school after reading this book.
This book should be read by every teenager, teacher, medical professional and parent. It should also be on the required reading list in High School. The novel puts the reader in the ring with the bullies and those that suffer at the hands of them. It also shows, in order to survive in this culture, you risk becoming what you hate.
After you read this novel, please pass it on to a teenager, or parent or teacher. There are lessons to be learned.