Dive Into the Dark Side of High School in “Brutal Youth”
Anthony Breznican’s debut novel Brutal Youth is a horrifying glimpse into the dark side of high school and shows the brutality of bullying, both by peers and the teaching faculty. The novel follows Peter Davidek, Lorelai Paskal, and Noah Stein, who freshmen at Saint Michael’s, a Catholic high school that is a haven for delinquent and religious students alike. Not only do they suffer bullying at the hands of their peers, but they are also tormented by faculty members such as the bitter guidance counselor Ms. Bromine and the fraudulent Father Mercedes. From hazing to both verbal and emotional abuse, cruel seniors make life a living hell for the freshmen, while incompetent parents and teachers turn a blind eye.
In order to survive, the trio must “turn bad.” Anyone who has ever suffered at the hands of bullies will gasp and cheer as the freshmen start fighting back little by little. While Brutal Youth is technically a YA novel, both adults and teenagers will be able to empathize with the three main characters, especially if they were outcasts in high school who got picked on by bullies.
Breznican also weaves in a ton of dark humor as well as a strong anti-bully message. The novel shows how strong the bond between the victims of bullies can be, which can make a life-or-death difference to those who are drowning in the tides of verbal and emotional abuse.