Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom - HIGH

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom, 369 pages. Feiwel and Friends Book (Macmillan Publishing Group), 2017. $19.

Language: R (181 swears, 66 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13



Gwendolyn has lived around the world, but she’s never experienced anything like this before. When her dad doesn’t come home from work, Gwendolyn learns that he’s been lying to her about his government job. Now with him missing and no one doing anything about it, Gwendolyn takes it upon herself to get him back. No matter what.

Reading about Gwendolyn’s story was fun but not in a light-hearted way. I enjoyed reading this book because I was fascinated and intrigued; I couldn’t get enough of it. The premise and how Bergstrom shaped the story felt real -- real enough to be plausible and get lost in. I loved Gwendolyn’s inner conflict, how she resisted the changes to her life but also felt that she had to keep going for her dad. I felt that her slow descent and gradual concessions to become the hardened person she needed to be was more accurate than most YA books tend to portray this intense character arc. Plans to get the sequel into my hands have already been put in motion. The only reason this book is optional instead of advisable is because of the language rating. The mature content rating is for drug use and mentions of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, rape, and oral sex. The violence rating is for mob violence and murder.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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