Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

"There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends – why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they're happening to me."

When Brontë starts dating Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlins – the guy voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” her twin brother, Tennyson, isn’t surprised. But then strange things begin to occur. Tennyson and Brontë’s scrapes heal unnaturally fast, and cuts disappear before their eyes. What at first seems like their good fortune turns out to be more than they bargained for…much more.
My Thougths:

There’s a small fraction of authors that have left a lasting impression on me with their literary talent that catapults my imagination into unchartered territories. Shusterman is undeniably one of those authors in the top echelon of highly regarded and slightly feared… where I’m concerned at least.

I read his novel Unwind years ago, about the time it first came out, and I can still remember to this day how my imaginary safe place was rocked to its core by a simple and short chapter in that book which left me speechless and shocked. Mind you, it wasn’t even his use of words, descriptors, narrative or dialog that drove me to one of my most profound cases of cognitive resistance. He simply gave me a few sparse statements that led my imagination into overdrive.

So even to this day, I approach Shusterman’s books with caution. Yes, he’s capable of truly scaring the holy hale out of me, so when I saw Bruiser on the shelf the illogical side of my brain led me to pick up this novel and approach it with extreme caution. I think it’s the Roland Chapter that to this day has branded my brain, so my skittishness is definitely warranted.

Well I have to thank Bruiser for making me a little bit braver and a helluva lot more convinced that Shusterman is capable of unbounded twisted. I mean, who in their right mind is capable of creating a character like Bruiser to be a receiver of pain, physical damage and emotional turmoil from those he has the unfortunate opportunity of coming to care about? An evil genius, that’s who!

This book is filled with a ton of “Are you kidding me!” and “Oh! Come on! Cut him a break!” material, and I’m not even including the mental screaming going on in my head. Fine. Fine. Call me mental.

There were parts where I was shouting at the improbability of an eight year old not knowing the consequences of his ignorant decisions, but at the same time, I did like the kid despite is disregard for Bruiser’s broken bones.

I guess this all leaves me wondering… what does Shusterman have against kids? I started wondering that in Unwind, but Bruiser definitely had me considering the fact that he might just like to torture them… in a fictional sense mind you. Well, I met the man and he appears to be grounded, maybe even a bit funny, witty, but underneath all of that, yes I’m creeped to the core to know there’s an element too twisted for words. Holy crap the guy signed my book with “Stay whole.” Who does that?

Overall, that same illogical side of my brain coupled with my morbid curiosity to find out what else Shusterman has up his sleeve, will lead me to read UnWholly next. I’ll take his twisted and face the consequences thank you very much. That man sure knows how to entertain his audience.

4 Snowflakes


  1. i still haven't read his books . gr8 review

  2. Wow, I haven't heard of this before, but I've heard enough about Neil's Unwind series to know the guy's a talented writer. Bruiser sounds awesome! And a little creepy, no, a lot creepy. But I love creepy and twisted books so I'm definitely gonna be eager to read this one! x]

  3. I read this book and I had the same thoughts.

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