REVIEW: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Author: Tanya Byrne
Publisher: Headline
Acquired: Borrowed from library

Summary 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 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.



I haven’t read much crime/mystery novels before and so this was a bit of an experiment for me. I’m very pleased to say that I’m most likely going to be reading more novels in the genre because I loved Heart-Shaped Bruise.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is about a girl called Emily who is in a Young Offenders Institution and has started a record of her days in the Institution. As the novel goes on, she reflects on how she ended up in the Institution and the reader can begin to place all the little pieces together to create the big picture.
I thought the pacing of this novel was perfect; it couldn’t have been written any better than it was. In this type of book, I think pacing is important but it wasn’t too fast or too slow- just right!
Our main character, Emily, is a very strange character to read about. Even though I knew she had done a terrible thing, I still liked her and found that I wanted to read more about her and read the little anecdotes about her former life. There is just the right balance of past and present written. 
The plot was thrilling and I was sat on the edge of my seat whilst reading the majority of the book. It was so easy to get inside Emily’s head and I did sympathise with her an awful lot- was it really her fault that she was born into this world and this life?

I’m definitely going to be reading Follow Me Down which is Byrne’s latest novel. She’s definitely an author that I’ll read again and again.

Lucy Powrie

Lucy Powrie is a blogger, YouTuber and author from the UK. When she's not reading, she enjoys cuddling guinea pigs and eating Oreo chocolate, but let's be real: she's mostly always reading.

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  1. Reply

    Zoe Crook

    24 June, 2013

    If you want to read more crime fiction books, definitely DEFINITELY pick up When I Was Joe by Keren David. It is an amazing trilogy 🙂

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Lucy! I have it on my TBR pile but I keep bumping it down due to so many other great books. I’ll definitely read it soon! Great review 🙂

  2. Reply

    Rebekah Campbell

    24 June, 2013

    Looking for JJ is also an awesome crime fiction book 🙂 Heart Shaped Bruise looks brilliant, I’m also really intrigued when it comes to books told from the POV of the criminal. Thanks for the review, Lucy! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Anya

    24 June, 2013

    I’ve had this on my shelf since last summer, a little scared to read something so different! But glad to hear you liked it, it’s definitely moving up my TBR!

  4. Reply

    booksandwritersjnr

    24 June, 2013

    Great review! I’ve been meaning to get this book for a while… thanks to your great rating I’ll definitely be hunting a copy down at my library 😀
    Also, if you want to get more into the crime genre (excellent choice!) I recommend Harlan Coben’s ‘Shelter’ and ‘Seconds Away’- his YA crime novels published by Orion.

  5. Reply

    Ruby :)

    24 June, 2013

    I love it when the reader is left to piece everything together! And it’s great to here it was easy to get inside the protagonist’s thoughts. Oh and like Zoe said DEFINITELY pick up When I Was Joe – I loved it!

  6. Reply

    So Many Books, So Little Time

    24 June, 2013

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I absolutely loved it. I second Zoe and Ruby about When I Was JOe – it’s brilliant.

  7. Reply

    Hollie

    24 June, 2013

    I am so going to pick this one up when I next go to the library. It sounds amazing, and the kind of book I’d really enjoy. Great review!

  8. Reply

    Tilly Currer

    25 June, 2013

    I think I need to read more crime/mystery novels too and this one looks awesome. I agree that pacing is so important, especially when you’re left to piece things together yourself, you want to have just the right information at the right time. 🙂

  9. Reply

    Pink Lady 631

    25 June, 2013

    Lovely Review Lucy! This is a genre i’ve watched on TV but never read. This looks interesting, glad you liked it. I’m curious about what she did now!

    – Sunny @ A Sunny Spot Blog

  10. Reply

    Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf

    25 June, 2013

    Sounds like an interesting book. Great review!

    Amber
    http://themilelongbookshelf.blogspot.com

  11. Reply

    Beverley

    25 June, 2013

    I’m so glad you’ve fallen in love with the crime/mystery genre! I’m not a big fan of it either but when it’s done well, wow… I totally agree with you in that pacing is super important and it’s great that it was just right in this book! An author has to be really talented to be able to make readers fall in love with imperfect characters, especially ones who have committed a crime and you’ve made me very curious and I really want to meet Emily for myself!

    Great review as always, Lucy <3

  12. Reply

    Debbie Turner

    26 June, 2013

    So glad you enjoyed this! Will definitely be reading this soon 🙂

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