Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Bitter EndWhen Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole — a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her — she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her. At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose — between her “true love” and herself. (From

This is one of the few contemporary YA books I’ve read and really enjoyed. (Usually I go into Paranormal or Fantasy). But the subject matter of this book got me curious as to how they address them for Teen readers. It really tackles the subject well. Alex is a great character, and thought she found everything she wanted in Cole, and I nearly fell for it too, he was very well done and his charming manipulative manner was something any girl could possibly fall for. It wasn’t until later when the reader does see his darker more violent side, that all of sudden he becomes so ugly and horrible that the reader wonders what was so great about him in the first place.

I felt for Alex, although I didn’t take too kindly how she just managed to drop her friends just like that for Cole – then again Cole sometimes did not give her much of a choice and at certain times, are we not guilty of doing that at least once in our lifetime once a boy/girlfriend moves into our lives? so in that sense, Alex is made into a very realistic character.

There were moments where you were just frustrated with Alex for still being with Cole – especially after such horrible treatment but you also sympathize with her, the isolation and helplessness can certainly be felt throughout the novel. I was very surprised at Alex’s sister. I didn’t like her at first but when she gave Alex a significant present it made do a complete turn around and I thought differently about her.

The plot was very well written. It had a nice pace and timing. All the characters were also well done which made this book a great reading experience. There was only one thing that did not sit well with me and that was the lack of history behind Alex’s mom. Something bad happened, and she just left…ok…but there has to be more than that right? there really was not much to this part of the story and I wonder if it really was all necessary to begin with?

It’s a hard subject to write about, but this book was well done and it’s worth reading. You do eventually support Alex with her decision and hope for the best for her on her road to healing and recovery. The ending is somewhat open ended but it was good enough to leave it the way it was. I recommend this for all YA readers, not just for a good read, but also to become aware of this sensitive subject and possibly help others they might know who might be going through what Alex did.

I give it a 10/10


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