Friday 6 July 2012

Heart-Shaped Bruise - Tanya Byrne

Heart-Shaped Bruise – Tanya Burne

Pages: 297
Publisher: Headline
Release Date: 10th May 2012
Edition: UK proof, review copy

From Goodreads: They say I’m evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and they say they knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know. You don't know who I used to be.

Who I could have been.

Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Knoll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge. It was incredible.

I’m a big fan of the diary/journal format so I was really excited when I realised that that was exactly how Emily was going to tell her story. I have to admit that I was also very curious to see whether it would work as well as those I’ve previously loved. Most diary-format novels are light, fluffy and really funny like The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson or How to Keep a Boy as a Pet, but this is something completely different. It’s dark and twisty and completely involving and it really works.

Part of the appeal of Heart-Shaped Bruise is Emily. She’s the type of character who you expect to not like or at least feel vaguely wary of when you begin reading, but I didn’t. I pretty much loved her, and I really felt like I shouldn’t. Logic said that she should be intimidating, a little bit scary and slightly insane, and while she was all of those things, what stood out to me was her utter brokenness. While certain things that she said were unnerving, my heart ached for her and everything that she had gone through. I think that the storyline with Sid made her human and took away some of the brutal edges of Emily's actions and downright worrying thought-processes. Tanya Byrne showed us Emily at her most vulnerable, at her most raw, in the build-up to the incident that landed her at Archway. She’s a fascinating character.

Alongside Emily’s telling of her story, she also detailed what was happening in her current life at Archway. I always looked forward to Emily’s sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr Gilyard, as the mind games that Emily attempted to play were absorbing and I was always really curious to see what she would reveal about herself. I also loved the camaraderie between the girls in the institution. I kind of expected to see fighting, bitchiness and a constant battle to one-up each other but that wasn’t what it seemed like at all. The way that Emily omitted some of the things that the other girls said or did or experienced to respect their privacy and not attempt to tell their story surprised me and really enamoured me to her. Emily may have serious issues, but I love her.

Tanya Byrne’s debut is one of my favourites so far this year and I’m still thinking about it days later. I think Tanya may be another author on my auto-buy list.

Thank you to Headline for providing me with a review copy.



  1. Ooh I can't wait to read this one! It sounds brilliant and I too am a big fan of diary style books. I must admit I don't really know what it's about - I've avoided a lot of reviews so that I'll be surprised when I read it.

  2. I am so glad you loved it too. Tanya is an amazing author. Such a brilliant book.

  3. I can't wait to read this one. I'm definitely going to buy it later! Great review :)

  4. Sophie, wonderful review. I like that you mention the diary/privacy dilemma. Of course, I've heard very good things about this book, I'm going to have to check it out.

  5. so glad you loved this one like I did! I cannot put across how muhc I loved this book and I felt the same way towards Emily too! I loved her even though I felt like I shouldn't!

  6. This one is a definite favourite of mine as well! Love, love, loved this one!


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