by Neal Shusterman

Overview -

The New York Times bestselling author of Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman, delivers a suspenseful, eloquent, and thrilling novel that you won't be able to stop thinking about after you've put it down.  Read more...

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More About Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

The New York Times bestselling author of Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman, delivers a suspenseful, eloquent, and thrilling novel that you won't be able to stop thinking about after you've put it down.

Tennyson is not surprised, really, when his family begins to fall apart, or when his twin sister, Bronte, starts dating the misunderstood bully, Brewster (or The Bruiser, as the entire high school calls him). Tennyson is determined to get to the bottom of The Bruiser's reputation, even if it means gearing up for a fight. Bronte, on the other hand, thinks there's something special underneath that tough exterior. And she's right...but neither she nor Tennyson is prepared for the truth of what lies below the surface.

Told through Tennyson, Bronte, and Bruiser's points of view, this dark, twisting novel explores friendship, family, and the sacrifices we make for the people we love.

A Texas Lone Star Reading List selection
A Book Page Top Ten Book of the Year
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
A Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice

  • ISBN-13: 9780061134081
  • ISBN-10: 0061134082
  • Publisher: Harper Teen
  • Publish Date: June 2010
  • Page Count: 328
  • Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.18 x 1.11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.86 pounds

Related Categories

Books > > Family - Siblings
Books > > Social Themes - Friendship
Books > > Novels in Verse

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2010-06-28
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this thought-provoking, low-key drama, Shusterman (Unwind) examines the bonds between family, friends, and community, and how the individual can affect the whole. Sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë Sternberger aren't the closest of siblings, but Tennyson is concerned when his sister starts dating Brewster "Bruiser" Rawlins, an antisocial delinquent from a dubious family. But as the Sternbergers grow closer to Bruiser, they discover his secret: he takes on the pain and injuries of those he cares about, healing them at his own expense, whether he wants to or not. He can even soothe emotional wounds--his mere presence is enough to save the twins' parents' fragmenting marriage--but the cost to Bruiser may be unbearable. Tennyson and Brontë must face the unintended consequences of their actions when disaster strikes and a lifetime of healing others takes its toll on their new friend. Even as the narrative wrestles with philosophical and moral issues, it delves deep into the viewpoints of Tennyson, Brontë, Bruiser, and his younger brother, each segment told in a different, distinctive style, making for a memorable story. Ages 14–up. (July)

BookPage Reviews

Love hurts and heals

Because of his hulking size and antisocial behavior, Brewster Rawlins, voted “Most Likely to Receive the Death Penalty,” has been nicknamed Bruiser by his high school peers in this unique story by Neal Shusterman. When lacrosse star Tennyson Sternberger hears that his twin sister Brontë is going on a date with Brewster, he follows the boy home. He softens, however, after observing Brewster covered in bruises and the possibly abusive uncle who has cared for him and his brother since their mother’s death.

As Tennyson and Brontë befriend Brewster, they begin to notice that their aches and pains disappear quickly, while Brewster develops new injuries at an alarming rate. Alternating points of view reflect each sibling’s discovery of Brewster’s strange healing powers and Brewster’s own constant struggle between wanting friends—and Brontë—and knowing the hurt it will eventually bring him. Sailing through rough lacrosse matches, relationship woes and their parents’ potential divorce with ease, Tennyson and Brontë wonder if their new, less painful lives are fair to Brewster.

In usual Shusterman style, Bruiser is a gripping novel full of exquisite language that explores the boundaries of love, happiness, pain, secrets and responsibility. The author balances these moral dilemmas with dark humor and chapter titles that incorporate “power words” from Tennyson and Brontë’s parents, who work as professors of literature. Only Brewster’s chapters are written in poetic forms, further emphasizing the duality between his inner beauty and the façade he presents to the outside world. The thought-provoking ending will haunt readers as they consider the characters’ futures and wonder what they would do as givers or receivers of enduring pain.

BAM Customer Reviews