Bruiser is a 2011 teenage novel about Brewster, nicknamed "Bruiser" by his peers for his demeanor, an anti-social teenager with a dark secret, that he takes upon himself the pain and injury of those for whom he cares, and the effect his abilities have on the people around him. The story unfolds from four different perspectives, all written in different styles. Brewster's chapters are written in free verse. His younger brother, Cody, has his chapters in stream-of-consciousness. His girlfriend, Brontë, is written in first-person past-tense while her twin, Tennyson, is written in present tense. Over the course of the book, the four characters learn what the nature of pain is, and why it is necessary to grow as a person.
This books exhibits the following story elements
- Children Are Innocent: Cody refuses to see anyone in the world as bad, including his abusive Uncle Hoyt.
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Uncle Hoyt is prone to whipping his belt off to punish Cody. Of course, Brewster bears the scars for it.
- Empathic Healer: Brewster takes upon himself the pain and injury, physical and emotional, of the people he cares for, whether he likes it or not.
- Family Theme Naming / Theme Twin Naming: Tennyson and Brontë were named by their parents, literature professors.
- Fearless Fool: Cody has very little sense of self-preservation because Brewster is always there to take away his pain.
- Genius Bruiser: Both Tennyson and Brewster are very athletic people who are also gifted intellectually, albeit for different reasons.
- Photographic Memory: Brewster claims one, at least for what he has read. He just has a very good memory when it comes to other things.
- Unwanted Assistance: Tennyson is very unhappy when he realizes that his sudden surge in ability in lacrosse is because Brewster has been taking Tennyson's fatigue and injury away during the game.