The Brimstone Journals

The Brimstone Journals


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Ron Koertge's startling, often poignant poetic novel evokes a suburban high school both familiar and terrifying.

The Branston High School Class of 2001 seems familiar enough on the surface: there’s the Smart One, the Fat Kid, Social Conscience, Bad Girl, Good Girl, Jock, Anorexic, Dyke, Rich Boy, Sistah, Stud . . . and Boyd, an Angry Young Man who has just made a dangerous new friend. Now he’s making a list.

The Branston High School Class of 2001. You might think you know them. You might be surprised.

Narrated by fifteen teenage characters, this startling, often poignant poetic novel evokes a suburban high school both familiar and terrifying — and provides an ideal opportunity for young adults to discuss violence in schools.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763617424
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 12/23/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 1,137,483
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.39(d)
Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author


Read an Excerpt

My dad’d freak if he knew I played with it, but I can’t help myself. And
I’m not hurting anybody.
The bullets are across the room in his sock drawer. The Glock is by the bed, same place as the condoms.
I like to hold it in my hand. Everything gets sharper, I don’t know why.
I feel skinnier instead of just this big bag of fries and Coke and pepperoni.
If I take off my clothes, it’s cool on my skin.
I’d never hurt anybody but if I did this is how I’d do it—butt naked.
And I’d start in the gym. They wouldn’t laugh then, would they? The jocks would crap their pants. The girls’d kiss my fat feet.

My father came here with his parents when he was ten. In the boat, there was room for two to sleep, so they took turns standing up.
By 1980 they owned a small market.
By 1990 three more. My mother and father often worked twenty hours a day. I started stocking shelves at age six.
Everybody warned against black people,
but who turned out to be full of hatred for our prosperity? Others like us, some from a village not five kilometers away from where my mother was born.
Father does not want me to forget the country
I have never seen. Every day an hour of
Vietnamese only. Then another of music with traditional instruments.
He wants me to be richer than he, more successful. Yet he begrudges one hundred dollars for the ugly new glasses I need.
His dreams are like a box I cannot put down.

Dad drifts in about three a.m. a couple of nights ago, and I’m just finishing up Dog Day Afternoon for the nineteenth time.
He’s still a little faded and sometimes that makes him all paternal, so he gets us a couple of beers. I’ve seen this before when he’s shot some pretty good pool and some hootchie’s told him he looks like Harrison Ford.
Things are gonna change, he says. There’s gonna be a lunch for me to take to school every day, sandwiches with that brown mustard. No more doing his laundry.
And you know that dog I always wanted?
It’s mine.
Part of me wants it to be true so bad my teeth hurt. But I’m not holding my breath.
"So how’s school?"
Here we go.
After he calls me stupid about ten times,
I split. I run for like a block but I’m totally out of shape, so I just walk until I stop wanting to kill him. Then I crash in the basement.

A thirty-nine-year-old man in California drives his Cadillac into a playground and kills two kids because he wanted to execute innocent children.
That isn’t a sign of social collapse?
Twenty-five million teenagers go to twenty thousand schools in the U.S.
Ten kids, TEN KIDS, in seven schools did all the shooting, ALL OF IT,
in 1998-99.
In the same two years, grownups in southern California alone massacred forty people.
I know what I’m talking about. I did research for this paper I had to write.
I got a B- because my report "wasn’t focused."
Really? Could that be because when I
was typing it my stepfather kept trying to massage my shoulders because I looked
I’ve told him I hate that. I’ve told my mom.
She says he’s just being friendly.

The Brimstone Journals. Copyright (c) 2001 Ron Koertge. Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA

Customer Reviews

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The Brimstone Journals 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
haunting, but not long enough. I did not feel that all the characters were well developed enough. but still haunting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The high school life at Brimstone is described through many journal entries that are written as meaningful poems. The entries are written by the jock, slut, prep, african-american, rebel, and many others. The life at Brimstone seems usual when described by most of the teens until the rebel, Boyd, makes an entry. He makes a plan to have a school shooting and tries to get others involved. The excitement of the story is, everyone who is writing their normal entries are actually the targets for the shooting, but they have no idea. This book gives you a true feeling of the life of the high school students at Brimstone. The entries keep your eyes going moving to see what happens next!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge is a great teenage book. Its a book compiled by indivisual journals about the life in a school. The kids rename the school to Brimstone because of the devilment that goes on in the school. In the book there's so many different personalities and people that pour out their feelings to the reader. A few of my favorite people are Neesha, Rob, Meredith, and Boyd. Neesha is a rebellionist, for her black pride. It's good to hear about that kind of audacity to represent yourself and your culture the way she does. Rob is just a modern day pimp who thinks he can get anything and anyone he wants or needs. He thinks of himself as the number 1 priority. Meredith is the 'slut' of the book, or that's what most people think. She uses men for money and other things. She continues throughout the book using men until she runs across someone that changes her. There's not much to say about Boyd except he's mistreated, Misunderstood, unapreciated, and just unhappy. He finds a friend who begins to change him for the worse. he and his friend begin to have racist thoughts and they both come up with a plan that is going to change Brimstone High, forever. The thing I liked most about the book was how it skipped around from person to person, but at the end they were all talking about the same problem.....Boyd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals is a good book, an it had alot of people in the book that i like an one of them i think is just like me in the book, his name is Boyd this dude is a G he dont care about nothing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My opinion of The Brimstone Journal is that it is a great book to read.It is based on many high schools in the U.S.A, and they all have similar problems. For example, every high schol has a girl like Meredith who doesnt care who she's with as long as she gets what she wants. Lester is a kid who's fat and just wants other peolpe to like him. Also every school has some one like Boyd. You might not know it,but you do. He is a sad and angry boy who wants to get revenge on everyone. I would recommend all teens to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The five verse poems called The Brimstone Journals written by ron koertge is a book of some poems that I can relate to. It is a book full of journals written by teenagers like me and other students in my school. The reason I say that it can relate is because it shows a side of love,hate,angry and confused teens just like the ones here in this school. I can see myslef just like Neesha. The character in the story who always has an attitude and always speaks her mind,But in the story Neesha has a black pride. In my way of saying it I have a black pride also. In some ways you would have to figure out where neesha is coming from when she speaks. In the book it is like a puzzle and once you read it it all falls in place. That's what I like about it cause it leaves me and other readers with thoughts and memories about the book long after it is read. That's how I feel about The Brimstone Journals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was pretty good. It has alot of arueing in it though. It shows everyones problems. Like there are so many characters in this book.And thats good cause every character has their own personality. And it lets you know what everyones life is like. But it has some foul language in it. But I like it though cause it makes the book seem real. But yes I would recommend this to someone else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a good book because it was filled with all kinds of experiences.There were good ones bad ones and outragous ons.This book shares alot of things kids go threw these day like sex,drugs,and violence. Alot of kids these days deal with stuff like this some of these things i go threw,its everywere at school somtimes at home, not at my house,but im luky for that. This book was mainly about these teens who were changeing by other kids.They were fourced to do things because they were afraid or trying to fit in.Some of the kids joined some kind of club with a dude named boyd he was the badest one he had the guns the bombs and drugs,one teen used him for potection.You will have to read it to enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals were written by Ron Koertge. The poems in this book are really captures what most high schools in the United States are like, you have the popular kids and you have the not so popular kids. The poems in this has a lot of meaning to them, you can tell that the person that wrote this book either experienced something like this or heard something like this. The book focused mostly on the seniors of the high school, like every high school in America has a person like Damon the jock, Boyd the angry kid who is mad at everyone, Sheila the lesbian, Neesha the proud black girl, Lester the obese kid, and Kelli the independent girl. This book hits a lot of point of view from all different angles not just one persons feelings and point of view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The journals entries written by teenages my age that are all in the same school. One is named Shila who talks like she a lesbian. There is also another female named Kelli who is a pretty gril trying very hard to break up with domineering boy friend. Damon one more character is Boyd who collects weapons and is planning to attack anybody in his way
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals, written by Ran Koertge, is a book that pertains to real-life situations. You have the easy girl who gives it up to older men who spend money on her. There's Sheila, the lesbian, who is in love with a girl named Monica. Boyd, the angry boy, is tired of being pushed around and picked on. This book is based on the Columbine shooting. Each character captures your emotions through every page. This book is so true and keeps your mind going.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals by Ron koertge was so good. It is a book that pretains to real life situations.It's just a messy bunch of teenagers in high school.Alot like my high school,the characters are real interesting. For instance Meredith sleeps around with older guys Sheila is confused about her feeling for another girl and Kelli is stressed over her controlling boyfriend Damon. Neesha is my favorite character because she is real and she speaks her mind.Several of the characters are raciest against blacks. The book is about a whole lot of problems that are soon to get solved. It could be bad or good fooling with teenagers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertage wrote a perfect book called The Brimstone Journals. The reason why i like this book because it's a book that teenager can relate to. If you are going through some problems that some of these characters have. The charater that i like the best is Damon. Because he thinks he's the man, The leader of everything. The character i do not like is Lester because he has low selfesteem. The person that is herself is neesha. That girl is too real. That is the kind of person i like. She's herself. This book is excellent, truthful, and wonderful to read. I had fun reading The Brimstone Journals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the story The Brimstone Jounals written by Ron Koertge, he has numerous journals about 15 high school kids. They all go to a school called Branton High. All 15 students are seniors. He wrote this book out of numerous poems he wrote from the shooting at Colmbine High School in Colorado. The 15 characters names were Meridith, Jennifer, Joseph, Lester, Tran, Sheila, Allison, Kelli, Damon, Rob, Carter, Neesha, David, Boyd, and Kitty. Meridith, the one that was easy to get, Jennifer, the trash talker, Joseph, the one that resents his parents, Lester, who is fat with no friends, Tran, who has a vaitnam obsesed parent, Sheila, the lesbian, Allison, the one that is scared of her father, Kelli, who is tired of her boyfriend, Damon, who is so conceted and controling, Rob, who is the freak, Carter, who has no friends, Neesha, who is the little ghetto girl, David the game freak, Boyd, the dangerous one, and Kitty the skinny one. Each of the characters has their own attitude and tone towards each other. The more you read their poems, the clearer the picture in your mind comes to life. In my own opinion I didn't like how the book ended, but in general it was a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge wrote The Brimstone Journals as journal entries. My favorite character from this book is Allison. I think she is very strong to take all the abuse from her step father. Another good character was Carter. I like him because he showed feelings for Neesha when nobody else does. Kelli was confused about her feelings toward her boyfriend. Boyd, who is violent an angry, plans to blow up the school. I really didn't like Boyd because of the way he acts and he is always threating people. This book isn't a book I would read on my own, and I wouldn't recommend it to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge is journal entries about how tens feel about life. the character that represents me is Neesha. She didn't care what people said about her. The students in the Brimstone Journals shows anger,confusement, and the hurt they felt throughout the book. Some of them changed, but very few . When you read this book, you will feel like you were there with them. You can probably relate to them. When you read the Brimstone Journals, it will have you on the edge of your seat. At first, you are going to think this book is going to be boring,but if keep reading, you will see how people like yourself can relate to the book. This book was based on the accident of Columbine. Once you start reading, you'll never want to put the wonderful book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book The Brimstone Journals, which was written by Ron Koertge, is really just a big journal entry written by many people in a first person view. It is a tell-all book about many students¿ lives at Branston High School over a short period of time (2-4 week period). This book has a typical high school setting. Of course you have your jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, rebels, and many other sets as well. It talks about all the drama and events that go on just like a typical high school, but some events are a little out of this world. This book overall is a very interesting book and a must read for an audience that likes high school stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge wrote The Brimstone Journal as journal enteries. This book has you at the edge of your seat and is full of suspense. At Branstion High School students are not any different from the students at Union High. You have the jock, Damon who is conceited and all about himself. Then there's Sheila, the lesbian, who is in love with a girl named Monica who doesn't love her back. Then there's Neesha, the hood girl who says whats on her mind. Then the angry Boyd. Boyd is basically fed up with being bullied around by everyone, and he is plotting to get back at anyone who has made his life hard. The characters in The Brimstone Journal have all types of problems like any normal person have. Although the book was good, it left you hanging wondering what was next. This book is so real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge wrote The Brimstone Journals in freeverse by teens who all go to the same school. One of the characters I liked was Kelli because she eas stressed at first and then she started taking control of her life. Another character that I liked was Lester who was negative at first but became popular. A third character I liked was Carter Because he is rich but then became respectful to others. These are just some of the great characters in The Brimmstone Journals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge's The Brimstone Journals is written as if it is each person's feelings toward school, home, people, and all other aspects of life. It tells about a jock, Damon, and how he is very possessive over what is 'his'. Kelli, who Damon is possessive over doesn't like his ways, and struggles to get over him. It also tells of Jennifer, who is a hypocrit and critisizes everything everyone does. This 'story' tells of everyday things such as people getting picked on, violence being brought into schools, and other typical high school things. I dont like how the book ends because it was not what I expected. All the suspensen throughout the book leads to a let-down finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journal is written by Ron Koertge ,is very deep down and is written from several teens'points of view. The book takes place at Branston High School. Some of characters don't get along with each other. There's all kinds of conflicts going on between them. I think Joseph was a good character because he is a rebel and does not like violence. Also, David is a good character because he is a person who never gets into trouble. Boyd has a negative attitude and is planning an attack on his classmates. Teens should read this book because it is a great book, and it deals with the issues teens face today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge really did it with his book The Brimstone Journals. The book is mainly about typical high school students who deal with the problems people face daily. There is atleast one character you can relate to. Reading this book has taught me to empathize before judging someone. The characters I found interesting were Meredith,Allison,Jennifer,and Rob. They stood out more to me because by the things they did in the book reminded me of someone. Allison had to deal with sexual harassment, Jennifer had to make a big decision, and Rob was considered a player. This book is one I would definitely recommend others to read because they would learn to think about the outcome of the decisions they make, and they would learn to handle their problems in a more civilized manor while reading about the mistakes some of these characters made. Whether you're trying to fit in, have low self-esteem, or frustrated Ron Koertge has all the answers in The Brimstone Journals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My review on the Brimstone Journals is that it is an excellent, superb book. Ron Koertge really grabbed my attention. The characters such as Lester, Neesha, and Boyd, were very much so the 'typical teenagers.' Let's take Lester, for example he is a fat, unappreciated guy who wants to result to violence against the people who make fun of him. Thats the perfect example of why we shouldn't make fun of someone because of their looks. Then of course we have Neesha, an African-American, rebellious,prideful young lady who loves and stands by the things she believes in. Once again, Koertge gives his readers a sense of always standing up for what you believe in without hesitation. He shows us this through the character Neesha. I bet some readers feel like its alright to believe what you believe. I can kind of relate to the way Neesha acted except I don't refer to caucasain people as 'the white man' or 'the white woman.' So yes, this book is great. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read real urban books about people with problems that relate to theirs. I give the book two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge is about real life issues. It is about teenagers with problems at home and at school. Meredith is one of the girls at school the is a slut and uses guys for their money and stuff. Kitty has low-self esteem and wants to be skinny, and Lester is angry at the jocks and the prepy girls for making fun of him and calling him fat. I would recommened you to read this book because it is so exciting and intregging.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ron Koertge's The Brimstone Journals.Can really connect to a lot of high school students.For example,Damon,the Jock,is so selfcentered.Carter is the prep whose fater has money that just shows money doesn,t make you happy.Allison has problems with her step father.This is a great book,and those are same of the characters in the book.If you pick up this book you will relate to at least to one of the characters.You may know somebody like one of the characters.