Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review of Brutal by Michael Harmon

Rating = 4
Young Adult

When her surgeon-mother leaves LA and goes to South America on a charity project, 16 yr. old Poe Holly goes to live with her father in the small town of Bender. Poe has never met her father who also happens to be the school counselor at her new high school. Poe doesn't know why her parents divorced. She is a rebellious teen who doesnt' get along with her mother and blames her father for never being there for her. Poe meets two new friends...Theo, the son of the mayor and "Velveeta", a troubled teen who is the perpetual target of school bullies.  Poe soon realizes that a major bully at the high school is Colby Morris, star football player.  Colby is brutal and untouchable...his father is well-connected. Poe sets out to prove that Colby and his friends are responsible for a near-fatal attack on Velveeta, thereby putting her own life in danger.
Harmon does a good job of keeping the action moving. Brutal was hard to out down once started. The characters aren't fully drawn; it's very hard to understand the motivations and actions of Poe's parents. Poe's constant rants about the hypocrisy of the school and adults is a little over-the-top and not always believable...she gets pretty obnoxious sometimes. However, the issues are timely, the characters are likable and there is lots for teens to relate to.

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