Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shusterman has a real talent for asking hard questions and examining touchy issues through his characters. He does this in Unwind too--one of my favorites. In Bruiser, this focus on the characters, which can be both hilarious and a little heart-wrenching, could have been accomplished with or without the multiple perspectives, I think. Although the prose from Brewster is insightful and helps deepen his character even more, Tennyson's voice was my favorite. Shusterman knows what he's doing when he creates these character relationships--very dynamic.
And although this is different from Unwind, I still appreciated the quality of the writing and how it is so probing and thoughtful. This book takes a look at pain (obviously), abuse, the difference between the lack of love and the presence of love. Would your life be easier or better without pain? Do you need the hurt, anger, pain, so you can appreciate when things are good? How far would you go to protect someone you care for? And of course his writing is full of absolutely hilarious, well-placed humor. That is Shusterman's style--getting deep into characters and issues while still managing to have moments of humor to keep things from getting stifling.
I would recommend this to boy readers in general (this book isn't romance-y), readers who like Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and for some reason I keep thinking of Paolo Bacigalupi- although his books are a little more exotic I definitely see some similarities, and of course if you liked Unwind or Everlost.