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Heart-shaped Bruise
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on 23 January 2013
An excellent first novel, written at the right pace to keep you interested until the end. Thoroughly recommend this book I look forward to her second book.
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on 24 January 2013
My teenager loved this, but was saddened by the ending. She could not put it down until she finished it.
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on 21 February 2013
it kept you urging to yurn the pages,from the begin in to the end. would recommend good read who likes Mandersue
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on 1 June 2012
What a fantastic read. I devoured this in a few hours, completely unable to stop reading until I knew what Emily had done. I found myself thinking about this long after i had finished reading. Although this was aimed at a younger audience I felt it transends age. We have all had a first love and felt the overwhelming intensity of those feelings. I am eagerly awaiting more books by Tanya Byrne.
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on 1 December 2012
The book arrived promptly in good condition, it is a xmas gift so not been read yet and cannot therefore comment on content
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on 1 August 2016
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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on 31 July 2015
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.
• Some of the characterisation, especially Sid, the best portrayed after Emily. He does come across, however, as two-timing rather than magnetic and just out of reach.
• The psychological insights that Tanya Byrne shares about her teen heroine.

What I didn’t enjoy as much was that:

• Emily’s angry voice didn’t change and her personality didn’t seem to grow during the book’s length – the space of several months.
• Mike and Eve, really came across as caricatures rather than real people and I couldn’t picture them. Mike’s actions especially didn’t seem real; he was CID for goodness’ sake!
• Given the build-up about Emily’s mother, it was disappointing that the story ended without ever giving us a glimpse about her beyond her father’s description of events surrounding her leaving him and Emily as a baby. I thought maybe there would be a hunt for her. If there is a sequel, I feel that I have read enough about Emily Koll not to want to invest in reading another book about her.
• The repetitiveness of descriptions of the institution’s surrounds and the counselling scenes. The story didn’t move fast enough. I wanted things to happen sooner.

I enjoyed the prose and depth of the story, as well as its originality enough, to give it 4 stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 May 2016
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Emily Kroll is in a psychiatric ward of a prison when she decides to write this journal for the next girl there to find. She is in her late teens and has been detained for a stabbing. But Emily is not your average mad and angry young girl. Oh yes she is angry, very angry, but has she got the right person to be angry with? The reader is invited to join Emily as she has to endure art therapy ( painting eggs), music therapy (a lot of bad noise) and the questions - but never answers or even statements - from Doctor Gilyard. You also get to meet some of her fellow patients who are equally strange.

As the journal unravels you realise Emily is not just Emily, she is also Rose Glass, a redhead who attended college and went to Giggs. She is also from a family of notorious criminals, despite her select education and her ability to play the Cello so it purrs. Emily is no ordinary mad teenager: her crime was driven by passion, cold calculation and borne of the belief that revenge is a dish best served cold.

This is an interesting insight into the lengths a young person may be driven to when their world - and worse their happy memories of that world - are brutally and abruptly taken from them. It is lightly written, much as a young girl would write - and goes along at a fair pace to its poignant ending.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 February 2016
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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 manner as readers ponder over where guilt lies. Emily awaits trial as an inmate of the psychiatric unit of Archway Young Offenders Institution after committing some revenge attack that is not immediately made known to readers. A menacing letter from Emily to the object of her hate makes a single page prologue, and initially it was intended to be Emily’s final statement – but she keeps a notebook that is used to tell the story of ‘Heart-shaped Bruise’.

Emily is the daughter of a violent and brutal gangster but until he was caught and jailed she grew up in luxury, not realising how with her expensive private education, wonderful home and delightful holidays she was benefitting from ill-gotten gains. She has lived a life of lies, and now her world has fallen apart. Emily is in limbo and sinking into a black period, but she needs to record memories and she wants her side of the story to be known. The notebook Emily keeps records events and experiences, and she does this over the period of waiting to go to the Old Bailey. Though Emily fails to answer questions and refuses to cooperate with the Institute’s psychiatrist she slowly becomes more engaged and communicative, and the mystery gradually unravels.

As the story progresses it becomes increasingly frustrating. Obsessively Emily tussles between her evil being described in the media and her own lonely predicament. The story of ‘Heart-shaped Bruise’ is thought-provoking, and though it gives only Emily’s version it ponders over who really is the victim. Readers are likely to find it difficult to empathise with Emily, yet they will feel compelled to understand. Unfortunately, for me, Emily’s machinations go on and on until they merely peter out. I found the book compulsive reading but was relieved at the conclusion, and I feel the story lacks something – hence loss of a star to 4-star rating.
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on 2 May 2013
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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