4.4 156
by Neal Shusterman

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Don't get me started on the Bruiser. He was voted "Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty" by the entire school. He's the kid no one knows, no one talks to, and everyone hears disturbing rumors about. So why is my sister, Brontë, dating him? One of these days she's going to take in the wrong stray dog, and it's not going to end well.


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Don't get me started on the Bruiser. He was voted "Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty" by the entire school. He's the kid no one knows, no one talks to, and everyone hears disturbing rumors about. So why is my sister, Brontë, dating him? One of these days she's going to take in the wrong stray dog, and it's not going to end well.

My brother has no right to talk about Brewster that way—no right to threaten him. There's a reason why Brewster can't have friends—why he can't care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can't be explained. I know, because they're happening to me.

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman has crafted a chilling and unforgettable novel about the power of unconditional friendship, the complex gear workings of a family, and the sacrifices we endure for the people we love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This eloquent and thoughtful story will most certainly leave its mark.”
ALA Booklist
“The compelling issues and engaging premise make this a rewarding read.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Shusterman’s writing is wonderful and a joy to read. The subject matter makes this a great book discussion choice.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This eloquent and thoughtful story will most certainly leave its mark."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“This eloquent and thoughtful story will most certainly leave its mark.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This eloquent and thoughtful story will most certainly leave its mark.”
Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Brewster “Bruiser” Rawlings is an outsider at school. He lives with his uncle and little brother. His mother passed away and he has not seen his father in years. But his life is about to change when he encounters twins, Tennyson and Bronte. Tennyson takes it upon himself to learn more about Bruiser by following him home. He saw Bruiser’s bruises and scars in the locker room, and suspects that the guy went from being Brewster, named after his grandfather, to Bruiser. When Tennyson got a peek inside Bruiser’s life, he started to see him in a different light. He also noticed that, the next day, the cuts on his own knuckles were gone but Bruiser now had some. Unbeknownst to Tennyson at the time, Bruiser can take on someone else’s pain and easily heal. Bronte, on the other hand, is attracted to guys she referred to as strays. She is interested in Bruiser though they keep it a secret. She was drawn to Bruiser and felt he needed someone to take care of him. On one of their secret dates in the woods, Bronte slipped and hurt her ankle. Bruiser helped her by rubbing her ankle and foot. Soon, there was no more pain, but Bronte noticed that Bruiser began to limp. His excuse was that his shoes were too small and not made for hiking. Bronte realized how much she was drawn to Bruiser and, as a result, she invited him to dinner to meet her parents. But troubles at home divided her family and her relationship. How could Bronte calm the storm that is Brewster Rawlings? Author Neal Shusterman has created a great read for anyone who loves a story with lots of points of view and an interesting storyline. The characters are not exaggerated, making them relatable and very human. At times the story is intense, but sometimes life is, too. Parents and teachers will approve of this read. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—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.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

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Product Details

Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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Bruiser 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 155 reviews.
Marlene46 More than 1 year ago
This book was a web of astonishment. A true! ...but not so true story. Throughout the book, you have the voice of four unique characters that tie things up with a great message. In my opinion, this story told a message in the most unique way I've ever read so far. In a nutshell, the story is about a girl, Bronte, who has been dating the Bruiser and soon finds out with her brother Tennyson that there's more to him them just the name "Bruiser".He has a special ability that I dare not mention because it's far more deserving than to just blab about. Neal Shusterman has written a well thought-out book so I recommend you read it. If that's not enough...the humor, action, science, and sheer wonder of the story will hopefully get you to read this book.
HeatheR-FlyleafReview More than 1 year ago
My first Neal Shusterman book was Unwind, which completely blew my mind, so much so that I still haven't been quite able to put my thoughts to paper and write a review. After experiencing Unwind (and after a little decompression period, because wow, that was an intense read) I wanted to check out more from the author. Lucky for me I found a copy of his latest, Bruiser, at my local library. The jacket description of the book seemed to indicate some kind of supernatural element in it, but I was unsure what that might be starting the book. But you know, I found that to be kind of refreshing. Most of the paranormal books I read these days let you know right from the start: "Hey,You! This book is about werewolves (or vampires, or zombie's, etc.)" There was no jarring reveal in Bruiser, the special talent that he possesses is gradually revealed to the reader. But what I love about Bruiser, is Shusterman's writing. The book is told from multiple view points: brother and sister Tennyson and Brontë, Brewster (aka Bruiser) and his younger brother Cody. Sometimes this works in a book, and sometimes it doesn't. I, however, liked these alternating POV's, they gave real insight into the characters. Brewster's narration is written in verse, which I LOVED because it is a total play on irony. Brewster, the kid, who according to his classmates is most likely to die by lethal injection, thinks in poetic verse. Reading his passages you realize this misunderstood boy has the heart of a poet with the tragic life story to match. Bruiser is a classic fairy tale in many ways, seemingly light and magical but really dark and tragic. Like Unwind, there is an underlying tension early on in the story that never really releases its grip. And like Unwind, many parts of Bruiser moved me to tears, especially the parts where Brew tells the story of his growing up, the loss of his mother, and his reasons for shutting himself off from the world. It's truly heartbreaking to read. The passages with Brew's Uncle Hoyt are intense, terrifying, and engrossing. Yet there is also a love story between Brew and Brontë , and Bruiser, at it's core, is a book about love and friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. In Bruiser, Shusterman writes a story that is at one moment terrifying, the next touching and tender, and I love that. To say I am anxious to read more of his work is probably an understatement. Some reviews I have read had issues with the ending, but I walked away from the book feeling pretty satisfied, if not a little emotionally spent. While this book has a supernatural/ paranormal aspect to it, it's written so realistically that it was not hard at all for me to suspend my disbelief and feel these events could really take place. To me, that is the mark of a great read. And it would appear that Bruiser is a stand alone book. In this YA world of sequels and prequels, Bruiser wraps up nicely with no big cliffhanger’s. Bruiser is a quiet book that packs a powerful punch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book! It is awesome!!
Pamela Clasby More than 1 year ago
Soo good i loved and still love.this book is great for everyone im 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has a lot of meaning to it, both in the story and the affects of it afterwards. Such a good book! Id recommend it!!
August_hurRicane More than 1 year ago
The authers writing here is very unique in style ...... and so is the topic! Its told from 4 different perspectives so its hard to really hate tenny, brew,cody,or bronte cause you understand them. The book is neutral gender written for anyone to injoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it i read it in sixth grade amazing book!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a year above my grade level but i still love to read it. Its perfectly plotted and i love the turning points. The author did a great job writing this and how he connected the four characters together. I recomend this book!
JasonLeeTailor More than 1 year ago
In my lifetime, I've given very few books five stars. The Harry Potters, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Markus Zusak, the occasional one hit wonder.... But I certainly haven't give a book five stars in quite a while. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman however, deserves that rating completely and utterly. A while ago, I read Everlost and Unwind by Neal Shusterman. They are both considered children fantasy (and pretty much earning that title) so I was happy when I heard about Neal Shusterman's Young Adult debut. I like it when I can actually grow up with an author. You see, if I read a book made for children by one of my favorite authors as a child, than have them write young adult books while am a young adult, then finally write adult books as I become grown up, the cycle would be perfect. Ah, if only J.K Rowling would follow this cycle. Anyway, I picked up Bruiser from the library not knowing quite what to expect. Neal Shusterman's fantasy is usually of...epic proportions, so how it be? Let's find out, shall we? Bruiser is a novel about three teens, and narrated by then. Brewster, Bronte, and Tennyson. One day, while in the library, Bronte bumps into Brewster. He is generally a social outcast, with the rumor mill revolving around him. He tells Bronte he's looking for a book of poetry (Sorry I can't remember the name) and she thinks he's just trying to impress a girl. Bronte learns that he's a lot deeper than that, and soon, begins to date him. Tennyson, however, is looking to protect his sister. He believes that Tennyson is just a no-good thug, so one day, he confronts him and tells him to stay away from his sister. Deciding he needs to learn a little bit more about Tennyson, he follows him home. He sees a younger brother, and a potentially psychotic uncle. Bruiser spots him and invites him in, to shows him he doesn't live in a trash can. The house is normal. Tennyson apologizes, and they become friends. Bronte continues to date Brewster, and soon, she and Tennyson learn a secret about him. Anytime he starts to care about someone, and if that person gets hurt, the pain (and the scar) is transferred to his body. This is why he can't get close to anyone. And why he can't leave his uncle. In a string of events (and a 1/3 narration from Brewster in the form of poetry) we face humor, hurt, sadness, and suspense. It's a nagging, annoying (but ultimately satisfying) feeling that Brewster, as hard as he may try, can't take away from the reader. This book was AWESOME. I finished it in give or take three hours, which now angers me because I should've been smart and paced myself. This book is very deep, touching, and (unintentionally) dramatic. It's very suspenseful at times, especially at the part when Uncle Hoyt gets drunk and Brewster is not there to save little Cody.... The book also has a few moments of hilarity, and I'm only noting that because it takes a while to stop laughing after each bittersweet joke. Brewster's narration was probably the best [1/3 mind you] part of the book. He wrote in the form of free verse poetry, which made parts slightly incoherent, but appropriate. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone. It has a message lying between the words, and you'll be a better person for seeing what it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a couple of weeks ago. In the beginning its slow but it picks up and is a MUST READ!! I 100% recommand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gets very intense at times. There were times when i wanted to throw the nook through a wall, thats a great sign of a good book. I recomend this to anybody in middle school and up. READ THIS BOOK!!!
Madison Collins More than 1 year ago
Omg yew have got to ead this if your a 7th grade or 8th grade teacher you need to reccomend this book also read Full Tilt...
Andrea Springer More than 1 year ago
I loved this book but it made me cry!! The end ia so sad! But then on the last page it gets happy but i was still crying
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book absolutly touched my heart and made me want to cry and cheer for ther characters at the same time:) its totally worth your time to read, and this book, Bruiser definetly taught me to think twice before making fun of social outcasts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot of kids and teachers at my school recommned this book. At first i was busy reading other books then when i read all the books i wanted to, i thought of this book. Brew is such a true man who would do anything for anyone that he cared about. This was a great read and i read with hours of without getting up. This is apporiate for school and parents would approve. Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so great i loved it and i usually dont pick up these types of books!!! Very great book!!! Sad and well written!!! Recommend to anyone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING! I recomend it to anybody looking for a really good read. It was so great there are not enough stars to put on here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it soo much. You will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a 2013 teen nutmet nominee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sounds like the point of view shusterman used is the same as marianne curly's the named ( readers u might wanna check that one out!). Full tilt was an awesome book, cant wait to read this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written like a poem Bruiser is an amazing book. I love Neal Shusterman(author) and if you liked this, i would suggest Unwind, or the Graveyard Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is an amazing read for teaches many life lessons such as always getting to sides to every story before making assumptions about someone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book in 1st period for only 5 minutes each day. I have to admit, the suspence was killing me! This book was so good!(:
Charles E Settoon More than 1 year ago
Best book ive ever read serouisly!!!!!
Abbers More than 1 year ago
One the best books i have ever read. Like seriously. Highly recomend!!