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Monday, April 20, 2009


Brutal by Michael Harmon (April 10th 2009--Knopf)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: "With her martyr-doctor mother gone to save lives in some South American country, Poe Holly suddenly finds herself on the suburban doorstep of the father she never knew, who also happens to be a counselor at her new high school. She misses Los Angeles. She misses the guys in her punk band. Weirdly, she even misses the shouting matches she used to have with her mom.

But Poe manages to find a few friends: Theo, the cute guy in the anarchy T-shirt, and Velveeta, her oddly likeable neighbor—and a born victim who’s the butt of every prank at Benders High. But when the pranks turn deadly at the hands of invincible football star Colby Morris, Poe knows she’s got to fix the system and take down the hero."

Review:I found this book funny, chuckle worthy, but in the ha-ha ironic type of way. Why? Because Poe really does represent everything she hates and fights against. Normally I would not dwell on this but the book goes into great lengths to talk and re-talk about this topic. We are talking cliques.

Poe mentions about the injustice in cliques and how certain groups receives special favors. She tries all she can to go against it and speak up to the “Man” about it. But what I found truly ironic was that, she herself separates into a clique. When she first attended the school, who does she sit by with in class? The outsider of course. The boy in the back row looking outcaste from the group looking, how should we say, punkish. Dun dun dun…just like her! With her Salvation Army shirts, ripped fishnet stocking, and a Mohawk of course Poe would not dream of following her group of people! That will completely go against everything she stands her! And let’s not forget the music. Only hard rockers are allowed to listen to Motley Crue, the Sex Pistol and Metallica (but God forbid you listen to the newer version). Anything mainstream? Pshhh you’re a poser!

But Poe can do no wrong. If fact she joins the choir! Well with a slight biased attitude. She berates the music teacher for judging her before her tryouts and when she does well she quits right there and then. Here’s the irony. She expected it; she probably wanted it just to prove her point. She later rejoins the team to piss someone off and going against the “Man”. Anyone seeing a pattern.

So yes, Poe aggravates me. Even so I could help but like the book. The humor was crude, and the actual plotline was done fair—though the ending could use a bit more of a touch up. I just wanted to mess with this idea because Michael Harmon emphasized on this topic.

Overall: Weird, righteous, but still downright entertaining. Especially when writing this review.

They actually did the whole plastic aspect of the world quite well! Nothing looks more fake than a plastic house and grass!


  1. I think you and I agree on this! BTW, I nominated you for an award on my blog.

  2. Great review! You have an award on my blog.


  3. This book called my attention and I really wanted to read your review about it.
    It is not exactly what I expected but it seems a nice read (I love irony).