Reading level: 14 and up
Library Binding: 328 pages
Authors website: www.storyman.com
Tennyson, 16, is a hulking loner who seems to possess the power to heal both physical and psychic hurts. When his twin sister, Brontë, befriends their shy and withdrawn classmate Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlins, he is concerned that her relationship with this boy from the wrong side of the tracks will prove somehow dangerous. After he spies Bruiser changing in the locker room and notices that his back is covered in scars and welts, he becomes even more certain that the teen and his family are bad news. In spite of her brother's warnings, Brontë continues her relationship with Bruiser, drawing him closer to her family–and Tennyson–in the process. The twins begin to notice Bruiser's unusual talent: not only can he assume the physical pain and wounds of those he cares about, but he can also absorb their anger, hurt, and grief. Told from the three characters' alternating perspectives, with Brewster's rendered in poetic form, Shusterman's novel reveals its secrets and their implications slowly, allowing readers to connect the dots before the characters do and encouraging them to weigh the price of Bruiser's “gift” against the freedom from pain that Tennyson and Brontë enjoy.
Let's just start off by saying that I cried. Yes, cried. I've never cried in a book before, I've teared up yes, but have never had tears rolling down my face, my nose running, my vision so blurry I had to stop reading and get a stack of paper towels because I couldn't see the words behind my teary eyes, and me blubbering like a baby while I explain to my mom why I was crying. And this didn't just happen once. I cried three times! Bruiser was an amazing book! Now one of my favorites. The whole book isn't a tearjerker, despite all the emotions that run through out the book, Neal Shusterman put some humor into it. What I really loved in it, was no matter how mad Tennyson and Bronte got at each other, they still had an amazing bond, and helped each other cope with everything that was happening in their lives. The way Neal Shusterman laid out the story, and the way he wrote it was just genius. The way he made the chapters switch off from all four of the main characters, and he did it SO smoothly! Usually I don't really like when authors do that, because I usually end up dreading one of the characters chapters, and I pick favorites. Not with this book. I loved every single character, and I really can't choose who's my favorite. Brewster's relationship with Bronte and Tennyson, was just amazing. I cant really explain it or I might give away spoilers, but that's just another good reason why you should stop reading whatever you are now, and pick up Bruiser. (: I literally could not put this book down. I skipped lunch, just so I could finish it. And believe me, that's big. I like my food. I hope you love this book as much as I did! (:
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