I write young adult fiction, and one way I research the genre is read YA books – lots of them. I learn the style as well as current adolescent trends. I also read novels from a variety of authors and one which I’ve recently finished reading stood out: Bitter End, by Jennifer Brown. I won’t go into the details of the synopsis, but the theme is abusive relationships.
I thought the author did a great job portraying the character’s emotions throughout the novel. Additionally, the dialogue between all the characters not only moved the story, but was powerful. What can really hook the reader is how the main character continued to stay with the abuser after each incident. Of course, when you read about the main character’s history you understand. I’ve always been told to create characters your readers will feel for, and I think this character fits the bill.
As I read the story, I recalled my previous marriage; my ex-wife isolated me a lot from my family and friends and even questioned where I had been. I reminded myself of how wise I was to stand up to her and end things before they got really bad (as if they hadn’t been bad enough). Having been in a similar situation, I could feel for the character and everything she went through. It shocks me at the number of people who stay in abusive relationships; I had several college classmates who often said their boyfriends got jealous of male friends. I knew one girl whose boyfriend wouldn’t let have any friends – he wanted her all to himself. When I asked why she didn’t stand up to him, she said, “I just want to make him happy.” I think she also lacked self-confidence and esteem. Anyways, even if the partner is just ‘jealous’ that can even lead to big problems down the road.
The book was published back in 2011, but it’s still worth reading. I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship. Teens in general can learn what it’s like and how to prevent it. The author certainly knows her subject! So add this book to your reading list and click on her name, Jennifer Brown for more info on the book.