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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and emotional YA read
"You all think you know who I am. But the one thing Google will never tell you is who I used to be... who I might have become if she hadn't stabbed my father."

The night that her father was stabbed was the night that Emily learned her whole life had been a lie. He was just dad to her and she was just another teenage girl. In reality he was a gangster and their...
Published on 11 May 2012 by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but some poor characterisations.
Tanya Byrne's writing is interesting and compelling, unfortunately though her character ideas have not been adequately researched. I found her naive description of mental health problems disappointing and some will find it offensive.

The lead character Emily Koll is spoiled romantic. She studies the world in detail, is rebellious but weak. This nature is very...
Published 24 months ago by Prof TBun


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and emotional YA read, 11 May 2012
By 
Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
"You all think you know who I am. But the one thing Google will never tell you is who I used to be... who I might have become if she hadn't stabbed my father."

The night that her father was stabbed was the night that Emily learned her whole life had been a lie. He was just dad to her and she was just another teenage girl. In reality he was a gangster and their life-style funded by organised crime. Heart-Shaped Bruise is told in the form of a journal that was found in the psychiatric unit of Archway Young Offenders Institution. A journal that Emily chose to tell her story in.

Emily is not the sort of character you're going to fall in love with. She's non-compliant with her therapist and she is unforgiving. The newspapers have made her notorious although she is reluctant to tell the reader what happened to put her behind bars. Yet told from her point of view, you can see how a young woman's life has fallen apart overnight. She is angry and confused so she funnels her negative emotions into seeking revenge against Juliet, the girl who gave testimony against her father and in her eyes the reason her life is ruined. You can empathise with her even if you don't come to like her in the end.

It's gripping and emotional and I read in one sitting. There's a desire for everything to work out for Emily but her location at the start of the book doesn't bode well and Tanya Byrne is nothing if not realistic. It's a fantastic piece of young adult writing that will appeal to young and old.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 26 July 2012
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
I don't normally read this genre but I decided to read this after it was recommended to me. This book is absolutley fantastic. Written from the view point of Emily Koll, this book makes you feel what Emily feels. You should feel sorry for Juliet and everything she has lost at the hands of Emilys father but you end up being on Emily's side and feeling for Emily. This book left me wanting more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but some poor characterisations., 19 July 2012
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
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Tanya Byrne's writing is interesting and compelling, unfortunately though her character ideas have not been adequately researched. I found her naive description of mental health problems disappointing and some will find it offensive.

The lead character Emily Koll is spoiled romantic. She studies the world in detail, is rebellious but weak. This nature is very well written. The plot is slowly uncovered and with Emily being so unstable, you are never sure what will happen next.

I was pleased at the elements of humour in this novel. Any writer that can surprise you with a laugh will go far.

The chapters are very short which will appeal to young readers and others that read in short intervals.

Overall this is a book which will appeal much more to a younger readership than to mature readers. Tanya Byrne is clearly a writer with a lot of potential but for me this debut novel is a marginal miss.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good YA debut, 23 Jun 2012
By 
~The Bookworm~ (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tanya Byrne is a much-hyped new talent and is probably a writer to watch in the future. I liked this novel but had some serious reservations. The structure was great - each of Emily's sessions with Dr Gilyard revealing more of her history and the events which have led to her incarceration. This is a taut and engrossing narrative which draws the reader in and doesn't let go until the bitter end. But it's the end which is a problem...

The ending of this novel was too abrupt and inconclusive. Having invested so much in the story and the development of the three main characters - Sid, Nancy/Juliet, and Rose/Emily - I felt cheated by the inadequacy of the closing pages. The author may feel that she's giving the readers credit by leaving them to figure things out and create their own ending, but there's not enough to go on. What exactly happened? Did people live or die? Did anyone beg for mercy? Did Emily feel satisfied that she'd achieved what she set out to do?

The lack of an emotionally engaging finale let down an otherwise gripping story, and that's the reason for a 3-star review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor to say the least - and with a massive discrepancy in the plot, 13 Jan 2013
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Paperback)
Let's put things straight: this book has got a huge, unacceptable discrepancy. I confess I almost throw it out of the window when I noticed it.
I won't go through the plot - you can find it on the Internet, so let's move ahead - I will go straight to talking of THe mistake. Because I feel that, if she had no time to review her own book to adjust it, then she'd better not submit it to editor's attention at all. Or, at least, I do hope the discrepancy was due to a lack of review, because if she missed it even after reviewing the manuscript may God help her.

The discvrepancy occurs when Emily, the main character, goes to the petrol station in Upper street. I hope you read the book, so that you won't be annoyed with spoilers and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
So, Emily getting off, heading to the petrol station. Page 161 on. Ms Byrne reports the following events:
1 - it's October, it's night, and Emily wants milk in her tea so badly that she gets off looking for a place still open at that time of the night;
2 - she's just got home from a night gig, so her t-shirt is still drenched with sweat, but she doesn't care (author puts emphasis on that, so you do remember that detail);
3 - She ends up in a petrol station in Upper Street as it's the only place open, head to the counter, can't find the purse, so she scatters her bag's content on the till;
4 - She can't pay, but Mike, her best friend's foster father, steps in from nowhere and pays for her purchase;
5 - Mike drives her home.

Is everything clear? Yes? Good. Let's move now to page 189, where the author goes back once again to that night's account. A report that, for some reason I swear I do not guess, is totally different from the above.
It's still late night, we're still in October and Emily still wants some milk to put in her tea so badly she still goes to a petrol station in Upper Street,

BUT:

1 - She never gets there, as she is stopped on her way to the shop by a guy in a car who wants to rape her - what?? what about her purse's content scattered on the petrol station till, and Mike paying for her purchase, and driving her home?
2 - She has no purse, no bag, no mobile on her to call for help - of course she does not, are we talking about a different person by any chance, Ms Byrne?
3 - That night she has been at a Halloween party, not at a gig - OK...
4 - Mike still appears, but he is with his wife and he gets off a cab on time to prevent the rape, put Emily in the cab and they all drive to their place together.

That is that.
I went back to page 161 to double-check if I had made a mistake. I understand now that I was not the one who made a mistake here.
I wonder how could Tanya Byrne possibly miss such a massive incongruence. And how could her agent.

The story is a plain, even boring teen drama. Until the very end - fortunately, or I'd stop reading at page 20 - the author keeps feeding our curiosity not telling us what happened to Emily and why she is in a psychiatric unit, but then we discover that nothing special has happened, nor are special the reasons that led her to do what she did. Reasons she did it did not look convincing enough. Overall it all sounds pretty shabby and weak.
Honestly, I was greatly disappointed. After discovering the above discrepancy I still had hope for this book, but once I got to the last page I definitely throw it away.
Poor to say the least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book, 10 Jan 2013
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Really really good book. I couldn't put it down. A good story and an unusual topic for a young adult novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 9 Jan 2013
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Paperback)
This is an extraordinary book. It tells the story of a young girl caught up in violence and crime, but the way she tells her story makes what she feels, and why, feel so human and understandable. All the characters are wonderful, especially the main one. Tanya Byrne is a very fine writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb literary suspense debut, 12 Nov 2012
By 
Larry (Tampa, Florida) - See all my reviews
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Emily Koll lives in a psychiatric facility being incarcerated for doing something terrible. Her father is a gangster. This is a fact she didn't know until he was stabbed by the daughter of a man Emily's father shot. Emily decided to find this woman, Juliet, who stabbed her father and exact her revenge on her. In order to do this, Emily must take on another persona and befriend Juliet. As the charade continues, Emily finds herself becoming more and more intertwined into Juliet's life- including her love life. The question is always there inderlying everything- what did Emily do to be incarcerated?
This is a superb debut novel and one of the best I have read in quite some time. The author brilliantly achieves a true sense of suspense as we watch Emily move slowly into Juliet's personal life. Characters are realistically rendered and the pacing and length is perfect. In many ways this is more of a literary suspense novel and as such transcends the genre. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Ugly (and everything in between), 30 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Paperback)
One word: WOW.

Somehow this book manages to turn the world on its head. As you question and judge the characters, you are forced to take a second look; at yourself, your views, society as a whole.

Each of the characters make you reassess what is normal and whether normal even exists. It is a reminder that ugly and beautiful exist side by side and more often than not, they merge into one blurry mess. It reminds us that we are all damaged, that we rip each other apart daily - whether intentionally or unintentionally.
The descriptions and imagery in the book are remarkable; fresh, poetic and original, all the while remaining true to Emily's voice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective and believable story, 29 Oct 2012
By 
C. Hamer "chrisahamer" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I liked the fact that this book was for once written from a very refreshing perspective. I haven't come across many books that were written in journal style by a female teenage inmate but it was interesting to read. I think Tanya Byrne definitely did a great job of creating a realistic atmosphere which is what gave this book a great base.
I think it is brilliantly written and I did warm to the main character - Emily Koll fairly quickly. I also enjoyed the perspective with narration by Emily but also a lot of dialogue.
All the characters were very well thought out which was great and the story had some good grit. It was frustrating not knowing what her actual crime was till the end of the book and there was a temptation to turn to the end but having resisted I was rewarded with getting to read about Emily's development as a person that seemed extraordinarily well written.
I was impressed with all the subjects this book tackled even if it only touched on most of the subjects but I was left disappointed with the end of the book.
I understand that this is the style of book that the author wanted to write but I am getting increasingly annoyed by books which don't have a real ending.
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Heart-shaped Bruise
Heart-shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Paperback - 27 Sep 2012)
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