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7 of 7 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 on 19 July 2012 by Prof TBun


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7 of 7 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 1000 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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4 of 4 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, mad perfection, 26 July 2013
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Paperback)
Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap, holy crap. Way to start a review, right? Can I just say this book is perfection? Utter, spotless, beautiful perfection. It's just...I don't even want to say anything bad about it. Not that I can't, but there isn't anything at all. It's a story of revenge. Beautiful, sweet revenge. And as you may be familiar, revenge usually stems either from sheer stupidity or madness. This was definitely madness, but beautiful madness. Reading this novel was like eating a delicious, rich cake. Every word was just perfection. The novel is written in a documentary-style journal, but you'd never actually think it unless the character told you, and it flows seamlessly.

Emily is awaiting trial at a juvenile jail for the mentally unstable. I guess that's the easiest way to describe it. She goes through a set of therapy sessions with her psychiatrist and recalls everything that's led up to this point while also moving past it and discovering herself. Basically, she wanted to get back at a girl who stabbed her father, Juliet, and therefore unraveled his secret life as a gangster. It flipped her world upside down, and because she let it, Emily hates Juliet because she goes on living life as if everything is okay.

There is so much depth and meaning in this that I can't even put it into words, and yet the author somehow managed to do so. I am now and forever an eternal fan. What an amazing perspective--a "villain's" perspective--and I wouldn't have it any other way. Five stars, baby! And if I could give it more, I would.
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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)
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read from start to finish! Would certainly recommend to others and will def read more of her work!, 17 Oct 2014
By 
Misqué (North West, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heart-shaped Bruise (Hardcover)
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The title says it all really. This book had me gripped from start to finish. I'd say to myself I was just going to have a quick 20 mins and before I knew it well over an hour had passed every time and it was a case of me having to put the book down rather than wanting to. The main character Emily is a complex character and I think her story is beautifully told. It makes me stop and think a few times and also made me maybe re-think how I look on certain things in life and at one point did bring tears to my eyes. I loved the main character and she seemed very real and I couldn't help but warm to her and be drawn into the book and all of it's characters.

I'm so glad I picked this booked. It looks like I've found myself another author to keep an eye on now for any new books. I will certainly be interested in the next offering from this author and would highly recommend to others. Great book, I was sad it came to an end.
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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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Heart-shaped Bruise
Heart-shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Paperback - 27 Sep 2012)
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