You all think you know who I am. But the one thing Google will never tell you is who I used to be… who I might have become if she hadn’t stabbed my father.

The night that her father was stabbed was the night that Emily learned her whole life had been a lie. He was just dad to her and she was just another teenage girl. In reality he was a gangster and their life-style funded by organised crime. Heart-Shaped Bruise is told in the form of a journal that was found in the psychiatric unit of Archway Young Offenders Institution. A journal that Emily chose to tell her story in.

Emily is not the sort of character you’re going to fall in love with. She’s non-compliant with her therapist and she is unforgiving. The newspapers have made her notorious although she is reluctant to tell the reader what happened to put her behind bars. Yet told from her point of view, you can see how a young woman’s life has fallen apart overnight. She is angry and confused so she funnels her negative emotions into seeking revenge against Juliet, the girl who gave testimony against her father and in her eyes the reason her life is ruined. You can empathise with her even if you don’t come to like her in the end.

It’s gripping and emotional and I read in one sitting. There’s a desire for everything to work out for Emily but her location at the start of the book doesn’t bode well and Tanya Byrne is nothing if not realistic. It’s a fantastic piece of young adult writing that will appeal to young and old.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is due to be published in hardback and ebook editions on 10th May 2012 by Headline. A big thanks go to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

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