About The Book:
Brutal YouthBy: Anthony BreznicanPublication Date: June 2, 2015Genres: FictionPaperback: 432 pagesPublisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Three freshmen must join forces to survive at a troubled, working-class Catholic high school with a student body full of bullies and zealots, and a faculty that's even worse in Anthony Breznican's Brutal Youth.
With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael’s has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.
To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.
“If you thought high school was hell, has Anthony Breznican got a story for you…Every bully who stalked you, every sadistic teacher who ever terrified you, every stupid prank, every hopeless crush and false friend: they’re all here, along with a few kids who hang together and try to do the right thing in a brutal environment? By turns funny and terrifying, Brutal Youth is an unputdownable tour-de-force, a Rebel Without a Cause for the 21st century.”— Stephen King
About The Author:
Anthony Breznican was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, Associated Press, and USA Today. Anthony is currently a senior staff writer for Entertainment Weekly, covering Star Wars, Marvel, the Oscars, and whatnot. Brutal Youth is his first novel.
Ø To get the ball rolling, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure, my name is Anthony Breznican, and I wrote a book called Brutal Youth, which is a dark coming-of-age story about four kids trying to survive at a crumbling Catholic school that has become a dumping ground for troublemakers.
I’m also a dad with two little kids, who are kind of a comedy team. My wife is a librarian. We have three cats. And I write about movies for Entertainment Weekly (these days, mostly Star Wars.)
Ø When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 12, I wanted to see the movie Pet Sematary, but no one would take me. My grandmother bought me the book in the hopes of encouraging me to read. It was the first grown-up book I ever read, and I couldn’t believe Stephen King created these emotions just out of words on a page. I liked that power, so I started writing ghost stories in spiral-bound notebooks.
Ø What first attracted you to write in the Contemporary genre?
I never really thought about the genre. Brutal Youth was just a story I wanted to tell about growing up, a war story about the friends who help you fight through the battlefield of adolescence.
Ø What was the most challenging thing you had to face when publishing your book?
Not having an agent. First-time writers need guidance. It’s easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and the roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad, can be daunting. It helps if you have someone you trust, who cares about you and your work, guiding you through.
Ø Can you tell us what your novel is about and where the idea comes from?
I went to a school that was pretty much out-of-control. Hazing was sanctioned and when I arrived as a freshman it was basically a zoo where troubled kids were stashed – and they were fed unsuspecting, unlucky losers like me. The place got better over the years, but we also had a priest overseeing the parish who turned out to be embezzling, and it was full of assorted scandals. A lot of Brutal Youth really happened, and it’s the craziest things that are also the true ones.
Ø If you could be any supernatural creature what would it be and why?
A vampire. I like the idea of immortality, living a long time and seeing the world change. But even in my late 30s, I’m a bit daunted by new technology. I think of my 90-something grandmother and how she couldn’t wrap her mind around basic computer innovations like the Internet or email. How does a vampire who lives for hundreds of years adjust? I just imagine a vampire being like, “Pinterest? What the … THIS IS SO HARD!”
Ø If you can write any book outside your genre, what would it be and why?
I love a good ghost story. So I’m writing one of those now. I love the mystery of a supernatural story that takes its logic seriously.
Ø What is one of your favorite hobbies?
Birdwatching. I’ve loved that ever since I was a little kid and would collect feathers on the hillside in my grandparents’ yard. I had a whole photo book full of feathers I found – blue jays, cardinals, goldfinches. I wanted to be an ornithologist. To this day, if I see a bird, I can tell you exactly what it is.
Ø Is there anything you must have or do when you start writing?
I like a cup of coffee. Also, the desk has to be neat. I don’t like it too hot. It has to be cool or cold. Then I go into a trance and start typing.
Ø Last but not least, are there any other projects you are working on? Any sequels or new novels to be looking forward to?
Like I said, I’m writing a ghost story now. But I also have an essay in the new book Last Night a Superhero Saved My Life, which includes contributions from Brad Meltzer, Neil Gaiman, Jodi Piccoult and others. Mine is about Iron Man and my wife and her big brother, who helped her through heart problems as a little kid by introducing her to the superheroes in his comics. I hope to write a sequel to Brutal Youth and find out what kind of trouble these kids will get into next.
Well I'm just at a loss for words with this book and how do I write this review without a spoiler. Sigh
You already know this book is about bullying. I had no idea that it's not only the horrible kids in the Catholic school, but the nuns and priests are okay with it as long as it don't go TOO FAR! And if it does they will try to pay it off. REALLY
So you had several characters in the book, the main ones that I liked were Davidek and Stein. All of these kids parents think it's great to send their kids to this school, they think they will get better learning. Lord have mercy!
The beginning of the book starts off when one of the kids just snaps from all of the years of bullying and he attacks the school and people so to speak. I'm not going to give away any more on that note.
There is one teacher there that was okay, he tried to help as much as he could, but even he got shafted by the school in the end.
Some of the freshmen can suck up to the seniors and get out of any bad hazing or being picked on all year. It's a cluster, I'm telling you.
I really liked the book though because even though...once again.. it's a fiction novel I'm reading about bullying or mental issues, these things really go on out there in the world.
There is one kid in the book that just breaks my heart more than the others. Now listen, these kids that are getting picked on, most of them get picked on at home too. They don't get a break. Anyway, the one kid, I was just so sorry for him when I heard his real story. All through the book he is the good guy that tries to help others and doesn't take anything from the jerks.... then you find stuff out. It's always stuff.. right?
So, I just recommend this book to anyone that likes to read these kinds of novels. FYI: As I always say when I read books about bullies, I wish I could knock them into another galaxy.. I know.. I know.. that doesn't solve the problem, but it sure would feel good when they are beating down on a little kid... right? right? And some of those bully teachers, see ya, your going to the clink, once again, in my opinion :)
Follow The Tour:
October 5th– Christine Abee – ReviewOctober 5th– Ramblings of a Perpetual New Girl – Review / InterviewOctober 5th– Reads All the Books – ReviewOctober 6th– Marla Miller – Author InterviewOctober 6th – Heather Ann's Book Reviews – ReviewOctober 6th – Baps Book Blog – Guest PostOctober 7th – Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – ReviewOctober 7th – A Universe in Words – ReviewOctober 8th – Bookish Babes – ReviewOctober 8th – Karin Baker – ReviewOctober 8th – The Pirate Tree – ReviewOctober 8th – Bookish Lifestyle – ReviewOctober 9th – Melissa Martin's Reading List – Review / InterviewOctober 9th – A Diary Of A Book Addict – ReviewOctober 9th – Triple T Tots Tweens and Teens – ReviewOctober 9th – Dizneeee's World of Books – ReviewOctober 9th – Fangirlish – Review
“Surprise, surprise—the good guys don’t always win. Sometimes, they’re lucky if they just get to keep on being the good guys.”