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I Belong

Review: Bleed Like Me by C. Desir

Bleed Like MeTitle: Bleed Like Me

AuthorC. Desir

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 278 Pages

ISBN-10: 1442498900 (Simon Pulse)

ISBN-13978-1442498907 (Simon Pulse)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers—even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks—until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

Quick & Dirty: This novel was a beautiful, gritty portrayal of depression and passion.

Opening Sentence: I wasn’t supposed to be born.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Gannon is invisible, at home, at school, and at work. Her mother has no time left over for Gannon with her three other adopted sons. Gannon hides behind thick makeup and dyed hair, a shield of cigarette smoke. Her only relief is the blade. It is the only distraction from her inner pain. But meeting Brooks — a blue-haired, damaged boy with scars of his own, she finally feels like she matters to someone. Their relationship is fiery, passionate. But as time wears on, Gannon is forced to realize: even something that burns so bright and so hot can still be snuffed out.

I’ll be honest, I read Bleed Like Me a while back. A long time ago. I didn’t remember anything but the basics of the plot and my feelings about the novel, so I skimmed a bit to launch my memory. Nevertheless, bare with me: these feelings for Bleed Like Me are long overdue. I’ll start by telling you all that this novel is very gritty. It isn’t pleasant or happy. Most of the time, it’s the opposite. There are lengthy descriptions of Gannon cutting herself when she feels depressed, and if that turns you off, it’s best you know now that this isn’t the novel for you. It’s powerful, and the feelings of depression that Gannon felt were very real, scarily so. Her relationship with Brody might be even scarier.

So the whole time I was reading this book I was imagining Adam Lambert as Brooks. Let me explain. Adam Lambert’s cover of For Your Entertainment the album is a picture of him with blue hair. Brody also has blue hair. Also, the song “Whatadya Want from Me?” essentially explains the book from Brook’s point of view. Brooks was Adam Lambert, singing about not giving up on the relationship, about holding on. I don’t know, I found some connections. Love that song! Anyway, Brody holds on too tight to the relationship. He’s demanding, but loyal. For all the things he does, they do come from his misguided version of love. But he’s also very paranoid about his father, which annoyed me to a point, especially when nothing actually happens with his father in the book.

I wish that the characters had developed more in the story. I wish that somehow, their passionate relationship had fixed each other, but it just created more scars and damage. I guess that many books have a fixing-each-other relationship, so at least this one’s unique, but still. I wish you had gotten to see some, any, degree of development. At the end, after Gannon learns this memorable lesson, you see her in the epilogue. She’s miraculously changed. Hey, at least she learns from her errors. Other characters I found interesting include her brothers, the ones her parents saved from the streets of Guatemala and are tiny little gangsters. Gannon learns to fade into the background, to help out her mother, who has a lot on her plate already with her dad walking out. Oh my god, these brothers were possessed, I swear. Poor mom was trying to teach them lessons with love, but instead ends up being the victim of many a cruel prank by their hands. It was hard to watch. More characters that I wish I could have seen developing.

The book has a bittersweet ending, which is equal parts tragic and beautiful. I liked watching Gannon and Brooks as their relationship progressed, and was eager to see the result after the eventual climax. This book was gritty, dark, atmospheric, and pulled me in. I wish that there had been more character development, but you can’t get everything you wish for. Both main characters were broken. They wore shields and acted tough, but instead of using tears or exercise as a release, they use a blade and a patch of skin. Brooks was psychologically damaged and that trauma became clearer over the course of the novel. He was so controlling, but his devotion to Gannon and the way he tried to keep her strong made him oddly likable. You wouldn’t think so, but he is. Anyway, for someone looking for a beautifully written, gritty novel, you will enjoy this.

Notable Scene:

My breath caught.

At first I thought he’d taken a razor blade to his chest, but as I stepped closer, I saw it was a bright red tattoo designed to give the impression of knife scratches. It was a misshapen heart with stitches around it. Tiny red straight pins speared the heart in six places across the top. The heads of the pins were circles with letters in them: Gannon.

“What’d you do?”


FTC Advisory: Simon Pulse provided me with a copy of Bleed Like Me. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Bleed Like Me by C. Desir, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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