Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
Published: September 1st, 2012 (Headline)
Buy the book: Bookdepository
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 a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge.
I’m going to start off by saying that I have no idea how to write this review. It has been almost two weeks since I finished reading the book and I still have difficulty putting my thoughts into words. I’m trying to write something at least semi coherent, so bear with me.
Heart-Shaped Bruise is one of those books that tell you what happened throughout the book so you only find out the real reason towards the end of the story. Emily is in an institution, but we don’t know why. Whatever happened with Emily, and because of Emily, is a complete mystery at the beginning. Slowly but surely, by flipping the pages and continuing reading, you find out a little bit of what happened, working up to the big reveal at the end of the book. To say that this is compelling is a bit of an understatement – I was unable to stop reading until the very last page.
Emily’s character is an interesting one. She’s flawed, that’s for sure, but Byrne writes her in a way that enables you to identify with her. In a way, she turned the story around; you feel for the offender, and even though somewhere deep inside you know Juliet is the victim in this situation, you kind of hate her with the same passion Emily does. Which kind of threw me off balance, because I knew the roles were reversed. But I felt with Emily.
While the climax was a bit of an anti-climax for me since I figured out the outcome way before we got to the end, I really like the way it was done. It was fitting and it made perfect sense as to why Emily was behaving the way she did. Yes, I’m aware this is kind of disturbing, but it works with the novel. It ties in perfectly and I’m sure a lot of readers will be surprised.
Heart-Shaped Bruise is a brilliant story that kind of feels like a tale that you shouldn’t enjoy, but I just couldn’t help myself. I was completely immersed in Emily’s tale. Byrne has truly created a unique story and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary – I know I will be on the lookout for more Tanya Byrne books.