I’ve been desperate to get my hands on Tanya Byrne’s Heart-Shaped Bruise for a while now and I decided that my Easter holiday was the perfect opportunity to read it!
The cover (designed by Clare Shepherd at Headline) is striking and it doesn’t give too much away!
Our protagonist is Emily Koll, a gangster’s daughter who is currently residing in the psychiatric ward of Archway Young Offenders Unit. She makes it crystal clear that she isn’t sorry for whatever she has done, which instantly made me dislike her…it also made me intensely curious! I haven’t hated a character for a long time and if I’m honest, I really wasn’t sure about it…but it is always nice to read something different 🙂
So, Emily is awaiting trial for something but she won’t tell us what…though given where she is, we can assume that it is quite bad. She has regular therapy sessions with Dr Gilyard but none of them seem to be doing any good…they are very useful to the reader though because we find out snippets about her personality and reasons for doing whatever it is that she did, each time! We also have little flashbacks to times in Emily’s life, which are really useful for the reader. What is quite worrying is that whatever time period the chapter or section is set in, Emily is still completely filled with hatred!
We soon learn that the object of Emily’s hatred is a girl called Juliet and the reason for this hatred is that Juliet stabbed Emily’s father…though it isn’t quite as simple as that…as the plot slowly unfolds and we learn more and more, I found myself unable to believe the depths that Emily is prepared to sink to, to get revenge on Juliet! She is ruthless, though she is also living her life as a teenage girl, which is really interesting to read about as it is a completely 100% different from my experiences as a teenage girl…though a few themes were familiar…going a bit crazy over a boy for example!
I really liked the format and the winding narrative of this book, it kept me guessing until the end and Tanya Byrne’s writing is really easy to read in spite of the often quite emotional context. I don’t want to give too much away about this because I think the suspense built up by Emily’s tormented nature and refusal to admit responsibility for her actions (or even to admit what she actually did!) would be ruined if I gave too much away but I would definitely recommend this book so you too can unfold Emily’s secret and relish the moment that you find out what she has done! Though, don’t expect Emilt to change her ways or soften…Byrne’s character is too strong-willed and well-developed for that to happen!