- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Headline (27 Sept. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0755396065
- ISBN-13: 978-0755396061
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Heart-shaped Bruise Paperback – 27 Sep 2012
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Intriguing and compelling - a very accomplished debut (Sophie Hannah, bestselling crime fiction author)
'Byrne is a talented writer with attitude and a fresh, original voice' ( Daily Mail )
'It's compelling and clever. We loved' ( Company )
'Reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, this psychological jigsaw of a novel will appeal to your dark side' ( Glamour )
A compelling, brutal and heart-breaking story about identity, infamy and how far a person might go to seek revenge, from debut author Tanya Byrne. Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2012See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The second book I have recently read by Tanya Byrne, and I find her teenage protagonist’s voice very readable.
In the novel, eighteen-year-old Emily Koll, aka Rose Glass, is either writing in her journal or talking (or more like, trying to give nothing away) to a female shrink, Dr. Gilyard, in the psychiatric unit of Archway Young Offenders Institution. We don’t find out until the end what Emily has done to be incarcerated, which is the mystery on which the novel turns. This, and the cause of the heart-shaped bruise, especially where it relates to her mother.
The other characters are Juliet (aka Nancy), Sid, Emily’s father, her uncle Alex, Juliet’s foster parents (Mike and Eve) and assorted girls at the institution, the latter all blending into one another. Emily lived the life of luxury and comfort, attending a top girls’ school, spoilt by a father who seemingly never wanted her to feel the loss of her mother, who apparently abandoned her when she was two.
• Emily’s raw emotions expertly portrayed, that she is the infamous inmate of a youth offenders’ prison and that her goal is to exact revenge. Many a super-hero story and a fairy tale centres on revenge, and we see the protagonist walk away at the end with a swagger and a win, while the ‘baddie’ loses. In this novel, just as in real life, there is no winner and no clear loser. Crime costs majorly. Freedom has to be won.
• That the ending was surprising enough, although the hints given suggested what the outcome was to some extent.
• Tanya Byrne’s prose, often lyrical, often visceral when depicting emotion, suspenseful.
• The page-turning nature of the story.Read more ›
We begin by being told that Emily is a notorious criminal, so notorious that her crime is well known and we don’t need to be told. We therefore do not know what is it that has made her either of these, only being told that she is in a mental health unit and that she blames someone called Juliet for everything that happened after she stabbed her father.
Emily is not an immediately likeable character. Her interactions with the psychiatrist and her fellow inmates are that of an extremely stroppy teenager, but one who clearly has done something horrific, that is never fully revealed until the end. Although Emily is ‘the bad guy’ the book leads you to empathise with her despite her actions, which come from a twisted logic of revenge. Nevertheless, there is a vulnerability to her that leads you to wishing her not to do, what you know she has already done.
I found that I enjoyed this book, wanted to know what happened, and read it every opportunity I could find. I freely admit to emotionally reacting throughout. I was initially disappointed in the simplistic approach to mental health illustrated in the fellow inmates, however balanced this against the consideration that the perspective is Emily’s point of view and as such as simplified by her level of understanding of their issues. Emily is flawed, but you find you want her to be ok. But of course, we know where she ends up so she is not going to be.
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.
Do I have a negative? Of course. We'd all write a book differently if we'd been the author and, in my own personal opinion, the scenes inside the institution weren't as good as those outside. Maybe a psychiatric unit is too small, too insular, to carry the development of so many themes and characters.
Heart Shaped Bruise is hard hitting, thought provoking and unique.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I only got to page 62 before giving up. It just wasn't for me and I couldn't get into it at all. Other reviewers say it's more suited for young adults, I think they might be right.Published 3 days ago by Vicky Craig
Thus is a brilliant , beautiful book about a girl and her story and feeling on how she ended up in a young offenders prision. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Katie Bailey
If you have ever wondered how far someone might go to get revenge then read this novel.. Awaiting her trial Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story and challenge those... Read morePublished 9 months ago by xenofan
I absolutely loved this! I don't like to put spoilers into my reviews, so to briefly summarise the main character has her life flipped upside down when her dad is stabbed,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by CT
Emily Kroll is in a psychiatric ward of a prison when she decides to write this journal for the next girl there to find. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Brett H
On the whole a confident and assured first novel- ticks over nicely as a tale of a teenager with mental health issues incarcerated in a psychiatric unit although a bit repetitive... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Zipster Zeus
The main protagonist of this excellent yet imprecise psychological thriller is Emily Koll, and her story introduces concepts of malevolence and retribution – but in a double-edged... Read morePublished 16 months ago by D. Elliott
If you've ever tried to write an unlikable character, this is book that does it perfectly. Without appearing false or still bad. Read morePublished 17 months ago by 🐑 the lambanana 🍌
This is an easy-to-read novel which keeps up the intrigue right through the story. Told by the character Emily Koll, daughter of a gangster, who has to take on another character... Read morePublished 19 months ago by John Ferngrove