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Comment: spine creased, light touch of reading wear, pages clean and bright, ex library copy
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Heart-shaped Bruise Paperback – 27 Sep 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Product description

Review

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 )

Book Description

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 2012

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It started okay but every page is the same. Very disappointing. I haven't bothered to finish it. Don't bother buying.
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Format: Paperback
Readable stream of consciousness narration

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.

I enjoyed:
• 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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This debut novel by Tanya Byrne tells the story of, the apparently notorious, Emily Koll by diary entries left in a secret journal on top of a wardrobe in a psychiatric unit of a young offender’s institution.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Heart Shaped Bruise is a story taken from the journal of Emily, a resident in the psychiatric unit of a Young Offenders Institution. We learn that her father was brutally murdered and how a character called Juliet has destroyed her life and broken her but; because the case has been to trial, and both Emily and the murder are well known, she never actually tells you what she was sentenced for and assumes you already know. That's a wonderful mechanism to draw you in because it allows Emily to keep so much from you you're constantly wondering what happened and the suspense and tension builds throghout. There's a lot of introspection due to the psychological setting. You're getting to know Emily through counselling sessions and her memories rather than through a vast array of action sequences. She has a terrible relationship with most people and Emily is all at once hard to like but impossible to ignore. Tanya Byrne has a stong narrative voice and develops the character of Emily with a great deal of confidence; she's easy to believe in. I don't want to tell you much more about the plot. I'd rather you read Heart Shaped Bruise for yourself and discovered Emily for yourself.

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.
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