Author: Neal Shusterman
Publishing Company: Harper Teen
Release Year: 2010
Brontë and Tennyson are average teenagers. Tennyson is athletic, popular, and maybe a tad over-confident. Brontë, his twin, is kind-hearted, self-assured, and happy with being herself. Bruiser, a boy who attends their high school, is… different. He doesn’t have friends, doesn’t have parents, and doesn’t talk much. Rumors about him are abundant around the high school he attends. Brontë and Tennyson, like the rest of their classmates, don’t pay much attention to Bruiser. That is, until one day, when Brontë announces that she’s decided to give Bruiser, whose real name is Brewster, a chance and go on a date with him. From the start, Tennyson despises Brewster and is overprotective of his sister. As the two get to know each other, however, they befriend each other. But then, strange things start happening. Cuts on Tennyson’s knuckles from playing lacrosse disappear. Brontë sprains her foot, and it immediately heals. They notice that Bruiser suddenly has scrapes on his knuckles, that he begins walking with a limp on the same foot Brontë hurt. Before long, the twins put two and two together and realize that Brewster has a gift— a gift, yet also a curse. Brewster must guard his heart, for whoever he feels compassion towards, he can take away all their pain: his little brother Cody, Brontë and Tennyson, and even his abusive uncle Hoyt. Brewster can’t afford to befriend everyone, because healing comes with a price. As Brontë and Tennyson unwittingly draw Brewster into their family and social circles, life becomes more dangerous for Brewster. Will Brewster be able to withstand all that emotional and physical pain?
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was all very well-thought out— the characters, the plot, the idea behind the words.
Bruiser is actually narrated by four characters with four distinct voices: Tennyson, Brontë, Brewster (who narrates in free-verse poetry), and Brewster’s brother Cody. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of multiple points-of-view in some books, but not so in Bruiser. All four narrators read as different people. Each of them have their own opinions, their own troubles, and their own flaws. Though the book is a mix of everything— a little bit of romance here, a pinchful of action there, and just a smidgen of supernatural as well— none of it comes off as unrealistic or overdramatic. It’s an intense book, and you won’t be able to put it down until the last page.
I’m not really sure what else to say. Bruiser is a book that to fully understand, you must read it. What I do know, however, is that this is a book that addresses love, death, health, familial troubles, bullying, abuse, friendship, pain, and the power of an average person all in one in a sincere, straightforward way without being too overwhelming. I definitely recommend to everyone. 🙂