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Publisher's Summary

Brian Boozer is a good kid in a bad situation. At 13, he's already endured the pain of losing his father and the agony of living with a step-father who hates and abuses him. At school, Brian suffers even more torment, delivered by bullies who seem to enjoy making his life miserable. The only bright spot in Brian's life is Carly, the girl on whom he's had a crush for years.

As his relationship with her evolves, so do the problems at home and the confrontations at school. A distressed Brian retreats further into himself, hiding behind the wall he's built as protection from the cruel chaos around him. Eager to be free of his troubles, Brian fights to be heard in a world that won't listen.

©2011 Kimberly A. Bettes (P)2017 Kimberly A. Bettes

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Heartbreaking.

This book just about put me through the ringer!! My heart broke for Brian and I was raging with his mother. So many emotions ran through me when I was reading this!!

This is about Brian, he is abused by his step father, his mother turns a blind eye to whats happening and he is being bullied at school. His life is one let down after another, but what happens when all the rage builds up? What happens when enough is enough and a person explodes?

This book was so hard to finish, not because it's not good, it is, but because it wrecked me emotionally. What happens to Brian was that hardest thing I've ever had to read. He is raped, beaten and abused by his step father and then has to face been beaten again by bullies at school. It was heartbreaking to read and deeply disturbing.

I knew going into it it was going to be tough, but I have to say, there were quite a few things that made the story horrible. Apart from the rape etc, it was the fact that Brian's mother seemed to not care!! It felt unrealistic, but then again, I've never experienced anything like this so don't know if the way she acted could be true or not!! Despite her son constantly having bruises etc, she believed everything her husband said about Brian. And then there was a part where she witnessed something but just turned around and did nothing!! I hated her!!!

Anyway, this book is not for the faint of heart, it's not for people with any kind of triggers because it's brutal, it doesn't hold back and it is disturbing. I still find myself thinking about this weeks after reading it, and yes, it took me weeks to be able to sit down and write this!!

Rick Gregory did a great job with this. He showed emotion and was able to capture the mood of the book perfectly. He is a fairly new narrator and while it shows in certain parts, you just know that with experience, he will get better. He is easy to listen to and has a clear voice. I will have to check out more from him!!

I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Oh. My. God.

This book, and specifically the protagonist Brian Boozer, slunk their way into my heart and have remained there, stuck in the place of heartbroken injustice. Some parts of this story were incredibly difficult to listen to. The opening scene to this book has haunted my nightmares AND the corners of my wakeful mind. It's the most disturbing instance of child abuse I've ever heard described; I don't think I've ever felt more terror or pity for a fictional character before. Though this book is topical on the subject of bullying, I think it has a broader scope that deeply examines human suffering and what flows from it. Do not start this book if you are sensitive to child abuse. If you are interested in testing the limits of what you can stomach, this is the book for you. Rick Gregory gives a great narration performance!

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartbreakingly Raw

Brian's life is every kid's worst nightmare, all rolled into one horrific life of never-ending torture and abuse. I wanted to reach right in and snatch the poor kid right out of this book and show him some love and kindness. As I said in the title, this story is heartbreaking and raw. Bettes deals with some very heavy topics in shocking detail. Gregory narrates with his usual Midwestern steadfast-ness, unflinching in the true horror of this child's life. Beautifully describing an ugly topic, Bettes made me FEEL each of the indignities poor Brian was subjected to, intimately, and I wanted to rescue him. Well done to all involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just brutal. But great.

Second book I've listened to by this author. Enough to know that she'll drag you into the dark and lay just the heaviest s***t on you imaginable. Stunning. This is an undeniable book. You will not come out of it quite the same.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Harsh subject but handled well

This is a very intense book. Bettes doesn’t pull any punches in describing the various abuses Brian has to endure. This book is not for the feint of heart nor for those looking for a simple gorefest. While this is not an easy book to get through, it does a great job of showing how a good kid can be pushed to that breaking point where they lash out at the world around them.

I recently listened to Bettes’s Exodus and the few issues I had with that novel don’t exist here. There’s no gore and violence simply for shock value. She also doesn’t gloss over the serious issues in Brian’s life. His step-dad is abusive in more ways than one; he’s mostly unemployed, a slob, verbally abusive, and also sexually abuses him. Then there are the bullies at school. Bettes gives a full detailed description of what it means to have your head shoved in a used toilet. Then there are all those that could have or should have helped Brian but didn’t.

Bettes walks that tightrope of capturing harsh circumstances without sounding angsty and she does it with grace. This book stirred up quite a number of emotions in me and brings up some serious points about bullying. If adults stuck anyone’s head in a toilet, police would be involved and yet if it’s only kids involved, we stick the Bullying Label on it and often nothing serious is done.

In the end, while I don’t agree with all the actions Brian took I certainly understand how he ended up where he did. That makes this a quality book. Tough subject, worthy book. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Rick Gregory really poured himself into this book. He was great as Brian, a 13 year old going through tough stuff. I also liked his teen voice for Carly, the love interest of the tale and Brian’s friend. He didn’t blink at the harsher scenes but rather imbued the characters in those scenes with emotion. And there’s plenty of nuanced emotions in this story, which Gregory did a great job at capturing. There were no technical issues.

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Heartbreaking

It was hard to hear some of the things that he endured. I do think that the story could have still been impactful without all of the gruesome details but I couldn't stop listening. It's hard to imagine that someone would put up with everything that he did for so long. The narrator did a great job telling the story and assuming the voices of the characters.
I was provided the title for free for an unbiased review.

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This book left me with a bitter-sweet after taste

Everything seems to have turned its back on Brian. His step father abuses him, he suffers bullying at school, and he doesn’t seem to be doing very well on his studies. And his mother just doesn’t care. Just two things bring light o Brian’s life: his art classes and Carly, one of his classmates. But something terrible will happen to Brian, and he will realize how alone he really is.

This crude story is inspired by the tragic events happened at Columbine High School. Its so easy to ignore that even young people suffer more than what they can cope with. This book is not about guns yes or no, but about what can make somebody to act in an unexpected way.

The book is quite depressing, and we inexorably see how Brian is losing hope about everything that surrounds him. I was most of the time waiting for something to happen, anything that would trigger a change. But the whole story are chained events in which Brian is abused in dozens of different ways.

Brian’s passivity is alarming, and his situation at home seems unrealistic: her mother working sixteen hour days while her boyfriend stays home drinking and making up stories about why Brian is bruised. Is this really possible? Maybe I was lucky enough to never have lived a similar situation, but I hardly believe a mother could behave in this way unless she has a psychological problem or she is a drug addict.

This is just to explain that this book left me with a bitter-sweet after taste. There is no redemption for Brian, no hope, no changes in his environment, and we just witness his utterly despair in a situation where no one seems to have the will to change anything.

I really enjoyed Rick Gregory’s narration of this story. He delivered voices with subtle differences for all the characters, and his interpretation skills are really good. Gregory brought the characters to life in this story. The audio production had no issues.

I received a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

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Emotional

This was a really well written story but not for the faint of heart. The abuse in this story had me crying my eyes out. I think this author did an amazing job with descriptions and bringing out emotions even though some were hard to get through. Narration was really well done.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Dee
  • LA
  • 10-08-17

I loved but hated this book

From the opening sequence, you know right away that this book is gonna be dark... and icky. The kind of dark and icky that people prefer to ignore. And that's the problem. Everyone in Brian's little 13 year old life ignored what was happening to him, until it was too late.

The author and the narrator did a thorough job detailing Brian's story. Too thorough. I found myself getting angry at the events in this book. The bullying and the molestations and all the icky was told from Brian's POV. It was unnerving.

There was a lot of good to love about this book - the writing and the narration were impeccable. I just felt like running in the sunshine when it was over to wash off all the icky.

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So sad... but good

This book is soooooo incredibly sad. A kid is being abused by everyone in his life and no one is there to protect him. It made me want to hug my son, make sure he learns to protect himself, and encourage him to stick up for those who are being bullied.

The story does a very good job of getting in the head of a kid in such a sad position. I kept wanting him to get revenge on all those that were tormenting him. I kept wanting the book to become a fantasy story where he suddenly gets all these super powers and is able to get revenge on his tormentors. Sadly, this book is more reality that fantasy.

I hope this book serves as a warning to teachers, adults, students, and others to watch and help kids like this. I should note that this is not a Young Adult book. It deals with a lot of serious issues that I think might be too much for a child under the age of 13.

Please note that I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review