6 February 2013

REVIEW: HEART-SHAPED BRUISE

Author: Tanya Byrne
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Headline
UK Release date: May 2012
Genre: YA

They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know. You don't know who I used to be. 
Who I could have been.
Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time.


Heart-shaped Bruise is the story of a young girl in a youth offending institution. Emily is the bad girl – other girls in the institution fear her, and it’s obvious she’s done something awful to end up there. I wondered at first if I could have sympathy with her; with a girl who offers no regrets or apologies to the girl she victimised. But when I started listening to her story I instantly suspended all doubts and judgements, and was completely riveted by Emily’s account of why she did what she and the msytery of what had actually happened.

Written in a diary, Emily pours her feelings and memories onto the pages and also recalls the sessions with her psychiatrist. I loved the variation between the two; with the psychiatrist, there were things she is pushed to think about, and things she tries to hold on so tightly to. What she said to the psychiatrist was just as revealing as what she didn't say, and I loved the interaction between Emily and Doctor Gilyard. Writing in her diary, Emily was a lot less reserved and more honest about her feelings and the past, whilst in contrast her sessions showed her very slowly changing and moving into a new future.

Despite the fact that Emily bitterly wanted to get revenge on Juliet, I loved the way she still felt respect and admiration for her. I found this fascinating and still can't decide if it makes me feel more or less sympathy with her. These psychological and emotional elements to the story made it gripping, and Tanya's writing really made the characters feel alive.

Although I won't give spoilers, I will say that Tanya Byrne could have very easily written an ending that was happy or gave a definite outcome and resolution. But she didn't; and I like that. I think a happy ending would have felt like it was done for the sake of it. Okay, so yes, I still had questions at the end and I wanted to know for certain what happened to particular characters, but I liked the ambiguity and the fact that you could fill in the gaps for yourself.

Heart-shaped Bruise is a gripping tale of a young girl led down a troubled path.

Rating: 5*

7 comments:

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Leanne said...

Was hoping for a spoiler! Just left my copy of this book on holiday and was close to the end! What did Emily do?! Could you email me on leaspencer@hotmail.co.uk - thanks!

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