On My Bookshelf: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

April 16, 2018

In Bruiser by Neal Shusterman, Tenneyson, the protective, older by a few minutes brother, doesn't approve of the guy his sister Bronte is dating. Bronte's love interest, Brewster, has a bad boy reputation, but Tenneyson soon discovers while that perception is a misconception, Brewster does have something to hide.  Read on for more of my review and classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 
Tennyson:
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.

BrontË:
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.
In Bruiser by Neal Shusterman, Tenneyson, the protective, older by a few minutes brother, doesn't approve of the guy his sister Bronte is dating. Bronte's love interest, Brewster, has a bad boy reputation, but Tenneyson soon discovers while that perception is a misconception, Brewster does have something to hide.  Read on for more of my review and classroom application.

Why I liked it: Bruiser is primarily narrated by a set of twins: Tenneyson, the protective, older by a few minutes brother, and Bronte, the just as headstrong younger sister, who is dating someone her brother doesn't approve of. Both of their parents are English professors, hence the literary names. Bronte's love interest, Brewster, has a bad boy reputation, but Tenneyson soon discovers while that perception is a misconception, Brewster does have something to hide.  

Brewster has the ability to take on the physical injuries and emotional hurt of the people he loves. This "gift" brings peace to the lives of those around him, but also threatens to destroy him. He struggles with wanting to live a normal life versus wanting to to just survive.

Classroom application: This novel is one you could add to your middle school or high school classroom library. While the main characters are in high school, there is no mature content in the book. The topics, plot twists and variety of narrators would appeal to both male and female students.

The variety of narrators would  make this a great mentor text to use when teaching voice. Students could examine the different chapters and discuss how the author creates the voice of a 16 year old boy versus his twin sister versus a 10 year old boy or a 50 year old man. Students could then try out creating their own different gender and/or age characters' voices.

The novel could also be used as part of a modern day mythology or superhero unit, paired with novels such as Black Panther: The Young Prince, Batman: Nightwalker, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman: Warbringer.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Bruiser for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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