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Bitter End Hardcover – May 10, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


* "Brown demonstrates an expert ability to handle difficult subject matter....entirely authentic. The book's power--and its value--comes from the honest portrayal of characters who simply can't figure out how to bring an ugly, evident truth to light."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Brown's writing flows smoothly and naturally...will linger on readers' minds long after the story is completed."
VOYA, starred review

"Brown tackles another taboo but much-discussed topic with authority and authenticity....readers will be enthralled."―Kirkus

"Brown creates multifaceted characters as well as realistic, insightful descriptions of Alex's emotions....A tough but important addition to the YA romance shelves."―Booklist

About the Author

When not writing about serious subjects, Jennifer Brown, a two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award, is a columnist for the Kansas City Star. She lives in Missouri with her husband and three children. She is the author of Hate List.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316086959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316086950
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Bitter End with no clue about it's theme or story, I just knew that I loved Jennifer Brown's previous novel Hate List so much that this one had to be good. It did not disappoint. Bitter End is the tale of a young girl named Alex who falls in love with Cole, the new boy at school. The story of their relationship is filled with violence, guilt, despair and even love. It's a powerful novel that I wish I could make every young girl read before they start dating. There are valuable lessons to be learned here as the author takes an almost textbook look at the characteristics of an abusive relationship.

Alex is a well rounded character, and even though she comes from a troubled family, the author has taken great pains to establish her as a fairly typical teen. Her two best friends play an important role in the story, and serve to point out that even though Alex has a support system in her life, she still falls into some pretty common traps. Any teen reader will easily be able to see a bit of themselves in these characters. It will perhaps make them uncomfortable as it will cause many to re-think their attitudes of "this could never happen to me".

If I have any complaint about this novel, it's that it gets off to a rather slow start as the author works to establish her characters. It took me a while to get to know Alex, and I really didn't understand some of her feelings concerning her mom and dad until pretty much the end of the book.

In sum, this is an important story that succeeds in dealing with the issue of domestic violence in a way that places it firmly in a realistic teen universe. Alex is a great character, and her struggles are heartbreaking and honest. The story is never heavy handed simply because of Alex's strong, authentic narrative voice.
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Format: Hardcover
My younger sister actually checked this book out of the library because she likes darker YA. Although she didn't like this, I decided to give it a try because I knew how acclaimed Jennifer Brown's Hate List was. Well, I should have listened to my sister.

The relationship between main character Alex and her abusive boyfriend Cole was well-done. Alex is vulnerable and craving love after the death of her mother and the splintering of her family. Cole seems charming and also a product of a broken home, meaning that they seem to understand each other. Cole loves her poetry, she loves his music, and everything seems great. Except of course for my feelings of dread as I knew the book was about an abusive relationship.

Besides the inherent brutality of a physically abusive relationship, which was very hard to read (I may have done some skimming), these kinds of books are hard for me to read because I want to believe that people can change, that mistakes are made but also learned from. But Cole has been an abuser in at least three relationships and seems unlikely to change, which is just so sad to see in a human being. As you may be able to see, I wanted to like Cole because he did have the ability to be very charming even as his true colors were revealed. And he did have make some good points.

Because I agreed with Cole about Alex's friends-they suck. They are immature and annoying. It seemed like they were friends because they had all lived next to each other and had known each other for ages; are proximity and history really good reasons to be friends? Bethany was shockingly nondescript for someone who is supposed to be a best friend. I could not form a picture of her and I would forget about her whenever she wasn't around.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book for youth and for adults. Paints the real picture of what abuse looks like. Cole can be charming but it's all for show. I think all young adults should be required to read this or something similar. You can really feel for Alex throughout the journey. This author writes about real issues in young people's lives. The first book I read by her was "Hate List." That novel dealt with the aftermath of a girl who was involved with a school shooter. Bitter End starts out a bit slower, however but it has a purpose to this. It shows how slow abuse and actions can effect people. If Cole was an awful person from the beginning, Alex wouldn't have loved him. Each tale by Jennifer Brown is dynamic and beautiful. They suck you in for the first paragraph. I do not recommend for younger then about ninth grade. They are books about deeper issues. As a mental health graduate, I think these should be on required summer reading lists nation wide.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been looking forward to Jennifer Brown's next novel since I read Hate List. Brown's best writing quality is her uncanny ability to get into the head of a character in an unthinkable situation. Hate List proved this.

This time, Brown took on the character of a girl who is physically abused by her boyfriend. Knee-jerk reaction is that a person who continues to return to an abusive man must be weak or have a lot of issues with self-esteem which would be easy to judge if one didn't understand the abuse cycle which includes gaining trust, alienation of others, abuse, sorrow, honeymoon and so on. Brown does an exceptional job with Alex's character as she is attracted to Cole, sports superstar and beautiful specimen who tells her how beautiful and perfect she is no matter what she does. But, like a good abuser, Cole has jealousies. He can't stand to see Alex with anybody else but himself. Alex feels caught yet strangely adored and starts to make sacrifices. She's in love with Cole. She loves Cole. Cole loves her. The changes in her social scene are subtle and slow but definite.

The abuse doesn't start as definite, though. It's a grip that's a little too tight that leaves welts, a small act of cruelty accompanied with complete apathy then builds from there. When someone sacrifices so much for a relationship, admitting the abuse would be a bitter pill to take. Brown also includes the familial connection.

Very well written and researched. Excellent book for teenage girls.
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