So this book is going on my list of inanimate objects I would marry if it were legal. These also made the list. I have never read anything like Heart-Shaped Bruise in my life. I was desperately trying to hold off with a review because there’s a possibility that Tanya Byrne is coming to my neck of the woods at the end of the year and I had this whole ‘real life me, getting a signed book off the real life Tanya’ feature planned out. But Hey Ho, I have the patience of a toddler.
Seventeen-year-old Emily Koll is a resident at Archway, the only young offenders institution in London with a psych unit. Her name has been dragged through the British press after an incident of the criminal kind, and so Emily decides to write a journal to tell her side of the story.
Emily is out for revenge when her father, gangster Harry Koll, is stabbed by Juliet. Juliet, a police officer’s daughter, had been home when Harry came round to the house and shot her father in cold blood. What Juliet did was an act of self defence, but that’s not how Emily sees it. Emily blames Juliet for ruining her life. Before Juliet did what she did, Emily lived in ignorant bliss of her father’s shady dealings.
It’s not blood soaked revenge Emily is after. She wants to break Juliet into tiny pieces.
Abandoned by her school friends, Emily is alone and every memory that she’d shared with her dad now feels like a lie. Not only does Emily blame Juliet for the stabbing, but she also holds her responsible for all the emotional upheaval. Simply killing her would not be enough of a punishment.
Slipping seamlessly past the witness protection team, Emily changes her name, her age, her school and her back story and proceeds to worm her way into Juliet’s life.
Addressing her readers directly, Emily doesn’t pull any punches. She has total conviction for her actions and doesn’t feel the need to apologize.
Heart-Shaped Bruise is a chilly walk through the troubled mind of a teenage girl as she attempts to ruin the life of the girl, she believes, ruined hers.
The thing about Emily is, I couldn’t hate her. I started off reading, fully expecting not to sympathize with her plight, but there’s something so vulnerable about her that I couldn’t help myself (plus, she’s an Arsenal supporter, up The Gunners!) She talks hard, she acts hard, but Tanya injects moments of vulnerability in to her character which just made me want to hug all the bad stuff away. This story is handled brilliantly. It’s a fine web of complex relationships, issues (some relatable, some not so relatable), and intense personalities. This is the kind of story that still has you thinking, long after you’ve turned the last page.