25 April 2013

Review: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Published: 10 May 2012 by Headline

Pages: 336 (paperback)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Mystery

Source: Own library


They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always 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 Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time. 

My Thoughts

When Archway Young Offenders Institution is closed down, a notebook is found - the notebook of Emily Koll, one of the most notorious inmates, who was all over the news for the offence that landed her in prison - but what exactly is Emily's secret?

I was drawn to this book by the darkness of the synopsis, and also the mystery element.  Being set in a young offenders institution, there is a cast of characters with dark and sad pasts, but the majority of the story is Emily's interaction with her psychiatrist.  During the course of her sessions, her past emerges but Emily really isn't as evil as she seems - her life has thrown her a whole bunch of curve-balls that contributed to her current situation, and for that I felt sympathy for her, as well as a morbid fascination in finding out exactly why she is incarcerated.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a quick, but compelling read and as Emily's story emerged, I couldn't help but be sucked right into the story and want to know exactly what had happened to her.  There isn't a huge amount of interaction with other characters apart from Emily and her doctor, which is a little bit of a shame as I wanted to know more about the other girls, but in the end it really wasn't a deal-breaker.

As always with mysteries, it's hard not to say too much without giving away the ending, but although it didn't completely take me by surprise because there are a few clues dropped along the way, it was quite eye-opening.  And although part of the story is told in flash-backs, they are pretty seamlessly blended, so it didn't feel like I was being jerked back and forth between story-lines.
Although it wasn't as shocking as I hoped it would be, Heart-Shaped Bruise was a worthwhile read, and I'll definitely be checking out more of Tanya Byrne's work.


  1. Um yea. This book is right up my alley! I love to psychoanalyze characters. heh

  2. This book is totally a book for me. I love the way it sounds but it sucks that it wasn't all that you hoped for. Great review though :)
    - Kimberly @ Turning the Pages



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