The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom Book Review



Goodreads Summary:When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting.

My Rating:2.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.


I requested this book from the publisher without realizing what this book was. If any of you are on twitter, you may remember the hashtag that was going around like a year and a half ago #morallycomplicatedYA after the author of a certain book said that his book was much more morally complicated than any other Young Adult book.This is that book. It is so arrogant to say that you’re YA novel is so much better than any other ones. You can’t just belittle your target audience.So while I tried to be objective while reading this, it’s really hard to when the author claims that his book is so much better than everybody else’s

So the Cruelty is about  Gwendolyn Bloom who is the daughter of a diplomat, one day on a visit to Paris, he goes missing. Gwendolyn then takes upon herself to find him, and goes from Paris,to Berlin, to Prague, in search for some answers. The Cruelty is a very fast paced, interesting novel filled with an intriguing plot that kept me turning the pages. While I did like the premise, a lot of things were lacking.  Their was this weird random romance that was super insta-lovey that made like no sense whatsoever. While I’ve never read a book with this exact plot, The Cruelty is anything special. It utilizes a lot of clichés and a lot of the time it’s really weak. You can really tell that the author was trying very hard to get that  “morally complicated” vibe down, but it failed very hard. There was also some really weird ass descriptions,  one of them was like “his skin glowed as if there was a lantern inside his chest.” I’m not even kidding.


My main problem with this book was Gwendolyn. The book starts off in her classroom where they’re reading some classic novel, and of course she’s already read it,not only that but she read in its native tongue. She then proceeds to swear at a some girl in french for calling her off on her pretentiousness. She’s described as noone knowing where she’s from,because she looks like so many ethnicities which is just such a copout. Why couldn’t she be a person of color?How on earth do you look like everyone? That’s not even possible.  Gwendolyn is so high and above herself and I feel as though I’ve read a million books with characters like her. Her character isn’t any special,and frankly it’s kind of really annoying, and she’s not an interesting thing to read about.

Honestly this book is really hard to review, because while it was enjoyable and while it did have its merits,I’ve read a million YA books that are better.I don’t think this white guy  deserved to get a six figure deal, while there are marginalized people who can’t get their book published. I don’t think this book will be as successful as predicted.

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