Friday, 14 June 2013


Book: Heart Shaped Bruise
Author: Tanya Byrne
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 9780755393053
Rating: A

A compelling, brutal and heart-breaking story about identity, infamy and revenge, from debut author Tanya Byrne. Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2012 They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who sigh 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. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever shake off my mistakes or if I'll just carry them around with me forever like a bunch of red balloons 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.

Well... Tanya Byrne is one of those authors that I've just heard so much about and about a week back I finally got round to reading Heart Shaped Bruise and I loved it. I guess it really took push for me to pick up and start the book, because It's not something I would normally pick up, but I'm so glad I did. I love finding a book so beautiful that I thought I wouldn't like and the satisfaction of that is incredible. In fact I think I would go as far as saying I honestly think, whether this appeals or not, anyone could pick this up and enjoy it, thoroughly.

The plot is really different and interesting and I'm always looking out for different plots or in this case, the ways of telling the stories. When unique storytelling is mentioned Stolen by Lucy Christopher springs to mind but this will definitely be added to the list, because the whole story was told through Emily Koll who is actually telling us the story by both, telling her doctor and writing a notebook, though it's rather weird because essentially the whole thing is a notebook. The plot itself is very clever. Byrne has shown her skill in this novel and the clever and witty way in which this book has been crafted really boasts Byrne's talent for writing.

The writing in this was quite informal but definitely worked in the context. In fact however casual, the writing was laced with talent, because Byrne managed to give vivd emotions and descriptions and tell a stunning story whilst keeping the writing as though a 18 year old girl was writing in a notebook rather than going full novel on the book. Even so the descriptions built up images in you mind and forced emotions that would leave you reading till midnight.

The characters were the main focus of this novel. There was no backstory or subplot. No distraction, the main characters spun this story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were minimal and so each and everyone came across quickly and you soon knew who you liked and who you didn't. What I loved about Byrne's use of emotions in characters is the struggle between hating someone for what they have done and yet wanting to forgive because you have unintentionally befriended them. The characters really showed their true colours in this novel and Byrnes mastered the complexity of a 18 year olds mind perfectly.

Overall I really did like this novel. It provided suspense, thrill and evoked every emotion known. The book was stunning, beautiful and left me speechless. A gorgeous debut.

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