BOOK CLUB: Heart-Shaped Bruise

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Author: Tanya Byrne
ISBN: 978-0-7553-9304-6
RRP: $22.99

This is the debut novel for English author Tanya Byrne and it is an extremely well written story that will captivate you start to finish.

At times Heart-Shaped Bruise was almost difficult to follow but it never quite allowed you to get lost, and you were warned right from the beginning that it was a possibility. This book isn’t written start to finish on a neat little timeline, it is written through a notebook left behind in a young offenders institution.

Emily Koll has done something terrible and she is in the Psych Unit of the Archway Young Offenders Institution awaiting trial. We don’t know what Emily’s done, it’s not something that she talks about. She talks about what the papers say and what other people say about her but you don’t hear much about what she thinks.

I am still thinking through this brilliant book so I’m at a loss for words, which is why I will first focus on the fact that at the end of the book there are two interesting sections which are becoming much more common in books these days. A Q&A with author Tanya Byrne that helps you get into her head and understand the motivations and inspirations behind the book, always an interesting read and great to do directly after reading the book while it is all still fresh. And a list of questions for reading groups, a great starting point for discussions and prompts for different ways to look at the book too.

Emily is shattered, she has survived the demolition of life as she knows it but she’s not the same. She’s broken and it seems that she doesn’t think there is a way back.

heart shaped bruise

The notebook opens with a letter to Juliet that she was instructed to write by Dr Gilyard. It serves as a great opener, and a taste of the intrigue to come – actually it’s the basis of a lot of the intrigue to come.

All of the talk of Emily being evil leads you to expect a very different Emily than the one we meet. I don’t see evil in the broken young girl that we meet and spend the book getting to know. Through everything that is said there is also a lot left unsaid and it is what is left unsaid that compels you to turn pages one after the other long after you should be doing something else.

A lot of my need to keep reading was born of the desire to get to the bit where we find out what it is that she does to land her in this institution.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a tale of revenge, betrayal, deception, identity, public persona and how it all combines to make us who we are – or does it?

If the whole world hears the story and makes conclusions about who you are does that make it true? Does all of that belief make it correct?

One small piece at a time we are allowed deeper into Emily’s head. She lets us in, I was going to say as she lets Dr Gilyard in but that isn’t really the case. We hear the things that are going through her head as she sits silently through her sessions with the Dr, or as she thinks through how much to say.

Emily is scared to hope and she’s scared to let anyone in because that’s never really gone well for her in the past. If she unlocks the padlocks protecting the most important parts of her story then maybe they will lose their potency, maybe she will discover that she doesn’t deserve them.

This 17 yr old girl is fundamentally scarred because of one single incident that not only changed the course of her future but totally destroyed her past as well. If nothing in her life is what it seemed does that also mean she isn’t who she thought she was? It certainly means she changed into someone she probably never would have been under different circumstances.

Emily’s writing is kind of disjointed but still flows in a way that makes perfect sense. We watch as she begins to look deeper into herself and examine how she ended up where she is. The story is much more involved than what you read in the papers. There are lots of references to ‘everything that I did’ and Emily projects herself as tough and uncaring but as the story unravels the mystery deepens and the picture of Emily changes quite dramatically.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is haunting and emotional but it is also nothing like what I expected. I love the way it was written, I love Emily’s voice and I love the way Tanya Byrne laid it all out on the page. It’s a book that has left quite an impression and I will be thinking about for quite some time.

50 of our members (sign up here) have been reading Heart Shaped Bruise, find out what they thought below…

53 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Heart-Shaped Bruise

  1. I never heard back, so I dont think I got in, but I cant wait to read the reviews of those that did. This sounds like one intriuging story.

  2. Got my copy 2 days ago and took it straight to bed 🙂 I really enjoyed the book. The narration style suited the story and I think I got inside Emily’s head better with this style.
    Interesting plot with a few twists and turns to keep it fascinating.
    Even though I’m 37 I could relate to the life of the teenagers in the book. I didn’t feel obliged to roll my eyes or offer them the benefit of my wisdom 🙂

    I guess I found this to be a book about choices and consequences. If I take this path-what happens? Or if I choose to not act am I foregoing my destiny?

  3. I loved it! I love the narrators voice and writing style. Its like you can really get into her head. Such a good read I couldnt put it down, and have even passed it on to my partner to read so we can chat about it! 🙂

  4. I loved this book. It gave me an insight into a very damaged young girl who I actually enjoyed spending time with whilst reading this book. I have read the book twice.

    Emily took me on a journey of love and loss, anger and frustration….
    Because of a situation I have had to deal with in my past, I could totally understand where Emily was coming from and how our selfishness can manifest into an explosive state of mind.

    I cannot wait for this author’s next book. It was a book that I could not put down.

  5. I read this in a few days, I found myself thinking of the story even when I wasn’t reading it; the storyline is really interesting and I enjoyed it. There are a couple of minor things that could’ve been written better or with more description/insight but overall I really enjoyed it. I would recommend this to others to read, including, but not restricted to, young adults. I look forward to reading more novels from this author as she is very promising.

  6. Received my book and had to finish my last book before starting. Heart-Shaped Bruise had me hooked straight away! I found it hard to put down, which wasn’t good as school holidays have just started!! Nevertheless, managed to read it all.

    I enjoyed the narration style writing in the book and the shorter style of chapters. The short chapters made me constantly go “Just one more chapter” though!

    I found it to be a good insight into the mind of a troubled teenager whose experiences are nothing like what I grew up with. Always good to read different perspectives on life.

    The only thing that I found displeasing with the book was that I got right into the story and then it ended quite abruptly and left me wanting more. A good story all in all. Looking forward to seeing what Tanya’s next book is like.

  7. Thankyou for giving me a chance to read this book. It took me a day and a half to read it. It was absolutely riveting. For a debut novel, it is a ripper.

    The story is a bit heart wrenching at times as I felt extremely sympathetic towards Emily even though she has commited a crime. The fact that it was in revenge, for something horrible done to her own father, makes me feel quite sad for her.

    The book delves into the psych of Emily and her feelings about the situatuion that has led up to her being in jail. She sometimes comes across as being regrettful of her actions but then there is an about turn and she is happy for what she has done. This story seems to really revolve around this as the main issue.

    The book did have a few more grammatical errors than most books but I was reading so fast that I barely noticed them. I dead set loved this book and will be looking out for more books written by this author.

  8. Thank you for the opportunity to read this very interesting and moving story. It is definitely a page-turner and I managed to read it in one day.

    This particular style of writing suited the storyline and allowed me to feel empathy toward the main character despite the path she chose. A well written story about a difficult subject.

    I was a little disappointed with the ending and was left feeling the story wasn’t quite finished. Despite this small criticism, which I’m sure is not shared by everyone, I enjoyed the book and look forward to more from Tanya Byrne.

  9. First Impression- Interesting, murder!!! I was concerned at first thinking it might be a bit scattered but after the first few pages, it had me hooked. Took me a few days over a few periods to read and I always wanted to know more. I had hoped it would be a book that I couldnt put down and it didnt disappoint. Makes you wonder which way it would go.
    The author did a good job in making you feel like you were actually Emily and could see thru her eyes and think what she was thinking, therefore the author knows exactly what she was thinking.
    Tanya only gives a little bit of information at a time when she wants to just draw you in more so that you need to follow, need to find out what is next. She places these snippets quite well so thats its not confusing and you can work out a timeline. For a first novel its not a timid or safe book, but well thought out and I was surprised by the ending but it did leave a bit abruptly, like there is going to be another chapter in Emiy’s life to follow!

  10. I received my book on Friday and managed to read it on the weekend,All i can say is “WOW” what a great read Suspenseful, compelling and intriguing
    Heart Shaped Bruise is an interesting read which is more YA and ideal for older teens looking to branch towards more adult books.
    The best thing about this book is getting to know Emily and the reason why she did what she did.
    I absolutely loved my copy and read it in a matter of hours as I couldn’t put t down. i give this book a rating of 5 stars out of 5,:)

  11. Received my copy of Heart Shaped Bruise today and have just finished reading – it was superb! I am very impressed. Fast paced, action packed, emotive…..suspenseful and written with a sincere voice that speaks of the agony of revenge exacted, and most courageously debates our definition/understanding of identity “sometimes we do things that are so big – so awful- that they just become who we are….”

  12. Received Heart shaped bruise on friday and enjoyed reading it over the weekend. I found it a fascinating read and it makes you think over the choices that Emily made. I was a little disappointed with the ending as I thought more questions that arose thought out the plot could of been answered. However, even though the book left me wanting more, it was very well written and had an intersting writing style.

  13. Love love loved my book – thanks Beauty & Lace.
    Not my usual chik-lit that I devour. Something so very different and it was very enjoyable.
    I enjoyed getting to knw the main character and the style of writing was fantastic.
    4/5 🙂

  14. I read this book in a morning, and still don’t quite know if i loved it or hated it. It was very reminscent of John Marsden’s ‘letters from the inside’ , and also reminded me of the writing style of Sonya Hartnett. As an older YA novel, it would be perfect, I enjoyed reading the book, but i don’t think i would re-read it in a great hurry, it was predictable (to a point, although that may just be that i’ve read a few books along the same vein in the past), though i will disagree with the main review in saying i found it very easy to follow. The interview with the author in the back made me instantly think that this book could become a classroom text (actually, this book would be perfect for some of the topics discussed, and would make a brilliant, modern text).

  15. This book was amazing from start to finish. I felt like I was in her head and knew exactly what was going on. There were a few good twists which made me want to keep reading (not that I didn’t want to anyway). I love a lot of different styles of books and this was perfect too. Thanks so much Beauty and Lace!

    **Sorry the previous entry/comment was the wrong email address.

  16. Thank you for The Heart Shaped Bruise – it was not a book I would normally read, but it had me intrigued. For me, the start was a little slow, but I loved the different story, and trying to get into the head of someone who had done something awful, even though we didn’t know all the details. I enjoyed the pace of the book, but did feel the end was a little rushed considering the pace throughout. Having said that I did enjoy the book, loved the way it made me think about my younger days and how things can go so differently, and have passed it on for another read already.

  17. The value of this book, for me, lies not so much in the actual story line, but with the passion of the author and the qualities of honesty, being true to oneself and compassion which penetrate the writing. I was particularly inspired by Tanya Byrne’s Q and A section of the book with advice to writers in which she suggests writing, not to sell books, not to give readers what they might like but to be “honest”. I hope I have her blessing to keep the words “Write until your hands shake, until the words begin to weigh on those bruised parts of you that no one else knows about and when they do, keep writing” on my fridge for daily affirmation. It seems to me that this is exactly the passion with which Tanya Byrne has approached this novel.

    I found the writing style unusual but interesting and I love the cover and title.
    We are not given a definite answer to Emily,s story, but this seems to add to her being a believable and “living” character. I find myself having hopes for her future so, in a strange way, she still “lives on”.
    Overall I have been inspired by and feel admiration for the author and will look forward to further writings.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another book club opportunity.

  18. I found Heart Shaped Bruise to be a compelling book . It was a shorter novel than I would usually read but when I picked it up and started reading I thought to myself that I couldnt really get into this story at the moment but as soon as I put it down I found myself picking it up again as I was thinking about the character the story is based around, Emily, and the choices she has made in her life .
    Author Sophie Hannah has an intriguing writing style which may be to some peoples liking and not to others . It certainly isnt an “easy ” read but still a very likeable book well written and will appeal too many iIf you love a challenging read which I do then you will love Heart Shaped Bruise .Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to discover this Author

  19. I read “Heart-Shaped Bruise” in a sitting, which is quite a recommendation from an pregnant exhausted mum with two kids!

    Emily Koll is 17, incarcerated in the Archway Young Offenders Institution for a crime which is not immediately specified. We know that it is a crime of revenge. One night Emily’s father stabs and murders the police detective leading an investigation into him. The detective’s teenage daughter, Juliet, surprises him in the act, and stabs him with a bread knife to try to save her father.

    Emily’s life falls apart as a result of that night. Her father survives, but is jailed. She becomes aware for the first time that he’s a notorious criminal. She’s pulled out of school by her uncle, and dragged off to live overseas away from the fuss (and the police). And she blames Juliet for it. If she hadn’t stabbed Emily’s father, Emily’s life wouldn’t have been destroyed. So Emily tracks Juliet down – although she’s in the witness protection program – and plans an elaborate revenge.

    Although Byrne deliberately doesn’t specify for a long time exactly what revenge Emily took, it was pretty obvious to me from early on more or less what it was going to be. Although the plot was interesting and engaging, it wasn’t the most important thing about the novel for me.

    I loved the way that Byrne got inside Emily’s head and presented us with an engrossing and sympathetic picture of a young woman who is, frankly, quite mentally unbalanced. There’s definitely something off with Emily’s reasoning – let alone her actions – but Byrne draws us in to her perspective. We never quite forget that it’s an unreasonable way of viewing the world, but we can still see how Emily gets there. We sympathise with her pain and her problems; and although we have a nasty fear about what she’s going to do next we’re also quite hypnotised by it. At times she’s a normal teenage girl; at times her obsession rises to the top again and she’s someone we hope never to meet.

    This is what made the novel so good for me – not so much what the crisis point was going to be, but how exactly Emily was going to get there and whether she was ultimately going to come to some recognition that she couldn’t keep thinking this way if she was ever to reclaim her life. I don’t want to meet Emily, but I really appreciated this portrait of her – Byrne has done a great job of creating a memorable character.

    Mind you, the novel has other things going for it. All the characters are strong. The plot is credible. The sense of place is quite vivid. And the writing style is involving and easy; it’s not hard to turn page after page.

    Highly recommended; this was an extremely good novel. Thanks for the chance to read it!

  20. From the first chapter this book had me hooked. The story is continually engaging, revealing snipits of what has happened to cause main character to be in her current position as it goes, not leaving all the detail until the very end. The main character never tries to be liked or likable, but continues to be honest and I quickly became fascinated with her story. Further, the way the author has written the story makes it completely believable that it could have been written by the 17yr old protagonist. This book is well and truly worth a read!

  21. I really love the way this book was written, I felt like I was with Emily throughout each moment as she was reliving the crucial memories. It was one of those books you just can’t put down because although you are taken on a bit of an up and down in and out recap of memory verse present moment story it seems to flow if that makes sense. I wanted to know what had happened in the past with “Rose” and what was going to happen to Emily now.

    I did feel as though the last two chapters were rushed though. The whole book was so well written and gave so much detail then all of a sudden you are rushed through the ending as though Tanya Byrne only had a certain amount of pages left and had to cram all detail in.

    I would have loved to have known Juliets point of view as in see what she had written in the letter, I was curious with the way her character was portrayed if she had forgiven Emily and come to think she was a real friend in all of her fake and secret life or if she wanted Emily to know she hated her. I guess it is up for interpretation but me being as curious as I am I really wanted to know.

    Other than that I loved reading this book and look forward to reading Tanya Byrnes’ next book.

  22. Also everyone keeps referring to the author as Sophie Hannah but that is just a testimony on the front the author is actually Tanya Byrne.

  23. Heart Shaped Bruise is an amazing read! For a debut novel Tanya Byrne is truly brilliant. I could not put this book down! I had to read it in 2 stints otherwise nothing would get done.
    This is a book of a troubled young girl who seeks revenge, at first it reminded me of ‘Girl Interrupted’ but a few chapters in and it took a totally different route to what I expected. Emily is troubled but not without cause (and not a total sociopath). At times I found myself so involved with how Emily was feeling and her thought process I wanted to know how and why she got to where she was.
    Emily’s breaking point took me by surprise but it had to be something nasty for her to end up where she was.
    The ending I liked, no saviour just herself 🙂 again not what I expected but I liked it all the same.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace for another great read 🙂 xxxxxoooo

  24. Heart Shaped Bruise was a fantastic read even for me at 42 years old. I devoured it in days,grabbing every opportunity to read more. It is so well written and a big page turner, helped by it`s short concise chapters. I cannot believe this is Byrne`s first novel. She has amazing talent. I have passed it on to my daughter who is 18 and I actually think she will enjoy it, if possible, more than me , just from an age point of view.

    The plot was very clever and Bryne gives away just a little hint at a time of the crime that Emily has committed and the life she has led and the path she travels up to the crime.

    It is touching throughout and I felt sympathy toward Emily despite her crime. She seemed to suffer such inner pain, I think the feelings of sympathy toward her also stem from the fact the crime is not revealed until the end so you are never quite sure what she has done.

    Toward the end I did realise what the crime would be , which again is clever writing by Bryne because it makes the reader want to finish the book even more to see if they are right. When the crime is committed I think what Emily says is a great line in the book. I read it over and over and then out loud to my husband.

    Just great! This book will be a huge success. Well done Tanya Bryne.

  25. I enjoyed this book. It is a psychological thriller but an easy read. Emily the main character is bent on revenge. I knew “something’ was going to happen, there was going to be a twist in the storyline, so I had to keep reading to find out. The ending was a surprise but finished abruptly

  26. I found it a little hard to get into this book – didn’t really grab my attention to keep reading all in one sitting. But I did find it enjoyable as you try to piece together what exactly happened, as Emily tells it to you from her point of view.

    I felt the story was revealed quite slowly, but that was so you could begin to understand who Emily was and her feelings. I liked the short chapters, each gave you some new information – what it was like living with the other girls (gosh some parts of the conversations with them made me giggle!), her family and past, and how she went about her revenge plot.

    Quite a different sort of book not knowing all the details, but was a good read. You could feel her pain and anger, and also sympathise with what she was going through.

    Overall, it was enjoyable to sit there and try to be a detective and look for clues and conjure up in my mind what I thought the ending would be. Probably more suited to a teenager reading audience, but I still liked it 🙂

  27. I found it hard to get into Heart Shaped Bruise. The first quarter of the book was lacking something that should’ve drawn me in sooner. Once I got past that first quarter and the story started to play out a bit more, I was finally hooked and couldn’t put it down.

    The main character Emily, may have done something really bad but the feelings she felt that got her there were nothing unusual to most people, this made her a believable character to me. The book makes you think about your own feelings and how much control do you really have yourself.

    The writing style was a little different but flows easily for a quick read and I think would suit a young adult or teenage audience. For a first book, this was a good read.

  28. Heart shaped bruise was an excellent read,I read this book fairly quickly ,it is not the sort of book that I usually read ,It was sad,and at the same time funny in parts and I had sympathy for Emily.It kept My attention,and I liked how you didn’t find out Emily’s crime until right at the end oft the book ,In saying that I enjoyed it but I think it would be best suited to teenage or young adult reader .Great debut Novel for Tanya Byrne.

  29. Firstly thanks to Beauty & Lace for letting me review the Heart Shaped Bruise book.

    From the very first pages I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and just couldn’t put it down. It was just such an interesting and moving story that I just had to read a few more pages.

    This is a book of a troubled young girl who seeks revenge, and the main character Emily takes the reader on a journey of love and loss, anger, frustration and sadness. And I love the narrator’s voice and writing style, which makes it so easy to get into Emily’s head and thoughts and makes it easy to feel sympathy for Emily and see where she is coming from.

    My only negative comment about the book is that it seemed to end quite abruptly and left me feeling the story wasn’t quite finished.

    However, all in all, it is a likeable book, well written and such a good read, from an author that I had never heard of before – so I will now definitely check out other books by Tanya Byrne. I have also passed the book onto a friend to read, and she is equally thoroughly enjoying it.

    Thanks again Beauty & Lace.

  30. I have to say I loved this book, I really enjoyed the way the writer took us on a journey between current and past event. The way we are given hints to the past and what happens is great as you keep wanting to read on to find out what happens. I also really enjoyed the fact it is written like a diary or journal, and enables the reader to become involved in the lives of the characters.
    As mentioned it is the story of a girl Emily, whos father is jailed, unleashing a whole world she never knew about and how she tries to comprehend her new life and that of the life of her fathers victim.
    Her need for revenge and love and acceptance are written in her journal as she herself is waiting for sentancing for a crime she commits.
    I loved the suspence, but also wish we found out a little bit more at the end witht he “scraps of paper”
    More suited to young adults a great read and i will definatelt be looking for more of her books/
    One quick addit, love the way that mental health is included, a very tough topic to write about and keep real!

    Thankyou for choosing me to read this book.

  31. Heart-Shaped Bruise is a complex and sad story set in a psychiatric unit of Archway, a Young Offenders Institution, where the main character, Emily Kroll an eighteen year old girl is its most feared inmate. She is awaiting trial for a horrible crime, although you never truly know what it is, it’s only implied.

    From the onset this never knowing intrigued me to continue reading, to put the pieces together and attempt to understand why Emily, such a dark, intensely angry, miserable and confused girl could become so cruel and unforgiving.

    The story is written as an emotional chronicle of Emily’s experience at Archway and slowly explains what she has done.

    Emily lived a life of fortune and indulgence with her devoted father until one evening she loses everything; her lifestyle, her father and herself. She discovers her father is a mobster and her life funded illegally. Shattered and unable to reconcile what has happened and who she now is, she aims to avenge Juliet the person who testified against her father sending him to prison and destroying everything.
    Emily felt vile and tarnished being the daughter of a brutal criminal and her actions justified as his daughter ‘Crazy Kroll’.
    Emily isn’t likeable; she deliberately tracked down and befriended Juliet which demonstrated how calculating she truly was. But it is this drama and complexity which makes the novel interesting as I couldn’t wait to read what this troubled character would do next.

    Emily attends mandatory sessions with the Archway physiatrist Doctor Gilyard, whom she continually shuts down and rejects. Her stubbornness and lack of engagement was frustrating at times, as I wanted Emily to acknowledge what she had done and take responsibility for who she was which we catch a glimpse of towards the end of the book. Although Juliet had also lost everything her life still moved forward, whilst Emily remained stuck in denial and blaming others. She may have believed she was invincible but she was really grief stricken, lost and broken. “My life is a song I listen to on repeat.” Emily could never grasp she could take charge of her life and create a positive future.

    Although I don’t condone what she had done, I can see how events in her life lead her to it.

    The book is pacey and well structured as a journal. A compelling read for any teenage girl.

  32. I’m an eighteen year old teenager who loves to read, the style of this book really suited me as a young reader. I understood Emily a lot. It worked. Especially for me. Which is why I enjoyed this book and managed to read it very fast in just over a day 🙂

    I really sympathized with Emily and enjoyed sort of understanding her feelings/thoughts throughout the book, it was quite interesting and I felt myself getting so involved. When her father was stabbed, I knew Emily wouldn’t be the same. Her life was full of crime. She was mentally unstable. The perfect recipe for a book.


  33. I have very differing opinions about Heart Shaped Bruise, there are sides of the story I love and really felt I got to know and other parts that I was a little confused over. I didn’t find the writing overly charismatic, it was a little choppy.
    I really love Rose Glass, I much preferred the make believe person than the real one, Emily Koll. Rose had the ability and maturity to be a great friend and have high morals, she had a life and Rose even began to let her guard down a bit and enjoy her life for a moment, until the deep seated hate came seething back, in the shape of Emily. Rose was a charismatic character and I loved reading about her life and her relationships with Sid and Juliet. I think the 3 of them could of been amazing friends til the end.
    Emily I had no understanding or sympathy for. At the beginning I didn’t really know what she did, I only knew what Juliet had done and because Juliet was still alive, I didn’t think Emily had taken anyones life. It wasn’t Juliet’s fault that Emily’s Dad was a criminal and that should’ve been something Emily came to terms with, she had no reason to want revenge, her revenge stemmed from immaturity, selfishness and spitefulness. And in the end to take it out on Sid…..I had NO SYMPATHY whatsoever and I finished the book hoping she wouldn’t get out of jail. I mean Emily still had her Dad, he wasn’t dead, just in jail where he belonged anyway. So Emily’s crime was unforgivable.
    Rose I loved and Emily just annoyed the crap out of me, so much so that I felt like I’d love to have given her a good slap across the face and snap her out of her attitude.

  34. I did enjoy reading this book, however the writing style is not normally one I come across in the usual books I select. I found it a bit difficult to engage with some of the characters of the girls at the offenders institute (the descriptions were a bit thin), but the central character Emily was quite fascinating & Dr Gilyard the psychiatrist was a very frustrating person.

    I found it a little hard to get into it at first, just the way it is written as a notebook, but once I got my head around the style of the book I was intrigued & wanted to see what twists & turns would happen next…

    SPOILER ALERT: so now I’m going to tell you ALL about the ending….JUST KIDDING! You will just have to grab a copy of Heat Shaped Bruise & find out for yourself !

  35. I’m not normally a fan of narrative writing but I really enjoyed this book it’s interesting how we think we are normal or abnormal but really we are basically the same the book really got me inside the troubled teenagers mind learning to let go in life is the thing that will save you a fantastic book I give it 8/10

  36. Heart Shaped Bruise is a standout debut novel by Tanya Byrne.
    Emily Kroll was a fascinating central character whose story provoked a myriad of emotions in me and left me feeling high, low, frustrated, sad, intrigued, disappointed and hopeful.
    I really enjoyed the narrative style of the novel and the short chapters were just how I like books to be written. I read this novel in only a couple of days as I found it quite gripping. It was written in the style of a young adult novel, however like many books in this genre, they also suit an adult audience well.
    I will be keeping my eye out for Byrne’s next novel!
    I give this book 7.5/10

  37. I really enjoyed reading the book. I like the way it is written as a diary and Emily tells us things she isn’t willing to tell Dr Gilyard. We get to see inside her mind and she doesn’t apologise for anything she says……What you see is what you get.

    I actually laughed, felt embarassed and cried through the book and cringed occassionally.

    The book told us a lot about the leading characters, but I do have issues about the end. I wanted to find out what happened to them………Emily, Sid, Juliet?? There really was no ending…………I do get it if there is going to be a sequel, but otherwise I feel a bit flat after reading a great book and after finishing there is no closure.

  38. When I first picked this book up I found it was really easy to read and I could read through it quite quickly. I liked it at first but as I started to get further through it I got a little frustrated that it always mentioned this bad thing Emily did but we never knew what. It was written to a person who Emily assumed would have heard of her and read the stories, though of course we hadn’t. It made me lose interest a little but it kept me reading to find out. Some parts I found little boring and strange to get my head around some things Emily does but all in all it was a good read. I did like how the book was written as a notebook so we got bits of info from the present and that from the past. I guess that is why we never find out what happens to Emily, because she leaves the notebook behind.

    I didn’t like the character of Emily at all I guess because I couldn’t relate to her or understand her even by the end. Even after finding out everything I still don’t really understand nor do I get why she really did it all. She had no reason to do what she did to hurt Juliet really as Juliet was attacking in self defence, and didn’t even take her fathers life! To me Emily seemed immature and irrational. I liked her when she was being Rose and I kind of wished she could continue that way and they would all be happy ever after.

    I found the ending was a little strange, I suppose it is meant to keep you thinking but I found it left a little too much to the imagination. We don’t even know for sure if Sid died though I’m assuming yes. I think the book would have been better to end on that line on one of the last chapers that said “and then I stabbed him” if it was going to leave all that to the imagination. It made me sad that that happened as I really liked Sid and him with “nancy and rose” made for a great trio of friends!

    Overall I’m in two minds about this book. It was an easy read and nice format and the story got me thinking a little but like I said I didn’t love the main character or the ending. I think that is more of a personal preference then anything though. I thought the clippings in the back was a good idea but they didn’t really add to the story unfortunately! Not bad for a first book though, I’d still reccomend it to people that like a bit of mystery!

  39. Congratulations Tanya Byrne on your debut novel, Heart Shaped Bruise! I enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it my older students. A young girl whose life falls apart in one night. A night that eventually leads her on a course to her own destruction. Definitely a book about choices and their consequences. Thank you Beauty and Lace or the opportunity to read this novel.

  40. For A Debut Novel this book is wonderful.
    You are let into the thoughts of Emily via a Journal that she leaves in the hopes that at some point in the future someone, who turns out to be us…the reader, will find the book. Emily shares with us her deepest and darkest thoughts and explains to us why she did the things she did. We follow her “friendship” with Juliet, her therapist visits with Dr Gilyard, her mad crush on Sid.

    I found this book to be very easy to read.
    I took the book with me to hospital visits to read while waiting and found that the way the book is broken into many short chapters was great for this sort of reading where you might be a little stop start with the reading rather then sitting down for a 4 hour reading session.
    My 21 year old daughter read the blurb and has now taken the book to read so I guess that tells you that its great for all differant age groups.

    This is a book i would certianly suggest you put on your reading list.

  41. I liked the fact that this book was written in the first person. Emily candidly gives an account of her disfunctional and destructive life in her own words. I was intrigued by this book and found it very hard to put down.

    My only disappointment was the fact that it didn’t go further than say that “Sid” was stabbed. I assume that he died from the injuries but it would have been good to find out exactly what happended and how it impacted on everyone.

    It is definately a great book all about the choices one makes in life and sometime the terrible consequences of those choices, whether good or bad.

    Great reading and I ca’t wait for her next novel.

  42. For a debut author, this book was both captivating and provoking. The first person narrative style is constructed to reflect the inner thoughts of the damaged protagonist, Emily Koll, and you can’t help but feel intrigued by her story and compelled to keep turning the page to fill the chasms of her shattered past. She is a relatable character who captures our empathy, and her tale, combined with the edgy unfolding of events, creates a book that keeps you thinking well after you put it down. I especially enjoyed the Q&A section at the end with the author – definitely something I wish more authors would include in their books! Overall, this was an enjoyable book that I would not normally pick up. Thanks Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read it!

  43. I have absolutely loved reading heart shaped bruise.

    Lately I have spent a lot of time reading YA books and this book I felt was on the cusp of both YA and a book for adults so it was a pleasure to read.

    What a page turner – not many people would have experienced what Emily has in her past and it was fascinating taking in her past and learning what made her do what she did!

    I am so excited to find a new author that I adore – bring on her second book NOW!!

    (ps I only received the book last week but from the look of the reviews most people got it a while ago – may have been a bit lost in the mail so sorry if this is late!!)

  44. I really enjoyed reading Heart Shaped Bruise. I love the TV series Revenge so I loved the thrilling plot as Emily plots her revenge on her unsuspecting ‘friend’.
    I thought the layout of the book was unique as journal entries without chapter numbers.

    I found the book a real page turner as the book was an easy real with likeable characters and exciting plot. Made me think about what I would have done in her shoes.
    I would definitely recommend this novel to friends and family teen daughter is reading it next.

    Thank you for the opportunity :):):)

  45. An easy, enjoyable read. I found the unbalanced Emily fascinating and I kept wanting to to more and all about her. I can’t wait for the sequel – if there is one! Hopefully, so more questions can be answered and characters more rounded. I think the younger generations will especially be drawn to reading this as it is an easy-read, intriguing and gripping. It’s possible it may just frustrate older, wiser generations but for me I was kind of in the middle. I liked the read but also could see through it and I believe in such things called consquences so that effects my view on the content and happiness about the outcomes in the story!

  46. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. It was a different style of writing that I normally read but was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed reading this and was taken on a very interesting journey with the main character. It didn’t take me long to become totally engrossed in this book, and found it hard to put down. I was disappointed in the abrupt ending but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  47. Really liked Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne. Very well written interesting story that stayed with me. Definately would recommend it to anyone. A light Easy read

  48. Man I enjoyed this book! I was drawn in from the first page and did not want to put it down! I liked the main character Emily although she is a little dark and wicked (I would not say EVIL) but am guessing some may not, I had no trouble keeping on track with what was happening, and actually found myself seeing the whole story as if I was watching a movie. You can always visualize a story, but I could hear what was going on, the traffic, the narrator – I just loved it! Not sure on the end, but I guess you get to decide for yourself whether Emily will have a lovely happy life or not. Thank you for the chance to read and review this wonderful book!

  49. After reading this book I’m I’m still thinking about Emily wondering how her life ended up.Great book I’m so glad I got to review it thanks beauty and lace.

  50. I finished this book in 2 days…(forgot about posting review though oops) I loved the way it was told in first person.
    Very easy to read and as Emily takes you along on her journey you can’t help to become drawn into it. The detail that has gone into describing parts makes you feel as if your almost watching it rather than reading it. Wasn’t overly keen on the ending but I guess it leaves it open to a sequel if need be.
    A very easy book to read and get swept up in, a book that I think will suit a large range of ages.

  51. Was Emily schizophrenic? why does she repeatedly tell us not to believe everything she says?

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