The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom | REVIEW

reviewsThe Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (The Cruelty #1)
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The CrueltyWhen 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.


4 Stars

** Received an ARC from Raincoast Books for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

First Line:

The boys are waiting for the beheading.


COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟


WRITING 🌟🌟🌟     ACTION 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom is a young adult spy novel about a girl who must travel across Europe to find her diplomat father who has mysteriously gone missing. With the CIA not willing to help, Gwendolyn must take matters into her own hands. But how far is she willing to go to rescue her father? Only time will tell.

The Good

Strong Heroine

If there is one thing that The Cruelty has going for it is a strong heroine. Gwendolyn is just a regular girl. Daughter to a diplomat, she has lived in many countries and has learned many different languages. All of which she uses to aid her journey to find her father. Throughout the novel Gwen must learn to fight, steal, con, and harm in order to advance further and further into the darkest sides of the world.

Bergstrom does a good job at showing Gwen’s growth from chapter to chapter. She doesn’t automatically know how to fight, it takes her weeks of long arduous training to get better. She doesn’t just feel comfortable harming another human, we see her go through the emotions of it all. She is a real as a heroine is going to get.



The Cruelty takes no shortcuts in the storytelling. There are no butterflies and rainbows in this one. We go deep into the heart of criminal world of Europe and all the horrible things that happen there. Whether it be drug dealing, arms dealing, or human trafficking, The Cruelty has it all. No sugarcoating. Just dark, pure and horrifyingly real situations.

Bergstrom does not ease up with his world building. From city to city, we are not there to be mesmerized by the landmarks and beautiful atmosphere. We are thrust into the darkness; the ugly side of the world. No topic is off limits for this one.

Felt Like a Movie

This book was made to be a movie. You can tell from the cinematic way The Cruelty is told in. It comes as no surprise that there is talks of turning it into the next teen blockbuster. Ever amidst all the controversy with the author’s past interviews. Putting that aside, I loved the way Bergstrom went from scene to scene. Everything seemed to flow nicely.

I think The Cruelty would do well on the big screen.


The Bad

Useless Characters

While The Cruelty boasts a fantastic heroine, it also showcases some useless characters that are only there to move the plot along and give Gwen certain conveniences. Take Terrance for instance. He is an uber rich kid that goes to her school that is also conveniently well versed at hacking. When Gwen needs money, he provides it, when Gwen needs access to information, he hacks for it. He served no other purpose besides convenient resources and a exceedingly lame romance.

Then you have the girl she met in Germany, Marina, that happened to give her a place to live and connections to a crime boss. I get what purpose these characters serve, but I just wish for more from them. They are wasted potential.

I wanted to put the controversy aside and give this book a chance. Sometimes people deserve second chances. Especially when it comes to saying the wrong thing. I do it all the time. This book was a lot of fun! Let me know what you guys thought of The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom! I would love to hear your opinions as well.

Until next time,




Scott BergstromScott Bergstrom is a traveler, photographer, and writer who lives in Colorado with his wife and daughters. The Cruelty is his fiction debut.

Published by


Jesse Nicholas lives in Toronto, Canada. He is an aspiring writer and one day wishes to have a novel published. Along with writing, Jesse enjoys music, travel, trashy TV, and is an avid reader of anything in the Young Adult and Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres. He is currently posts reviews on the novels he reads on his blog, and spends hours upon hours coming up with ideas for a future stories.

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