When Archway Young Offenders Institution is closed down, a notebook is found in one of the rooms.
'I have to start by saying that this isn't an apology. I'm not sorry. I'm not.'
This is that notebook.
'They say I'm evil and everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know.'
It's pages reveal the dark and troubled mind of Emily Koll, Archway's most notorious inmate.
'Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever shake off my mistakes or if I'll just carry them round with me forever like a bunch of red balloons.'
The book is effectively diary excerpts, so we get everything from Emily's perspective and she does not hold back at any point. Tanya Byrne uses Emily's character to explore revenge, its limits and its consequences. I felt extremely confused as I read the book as I seriously liked Emily but I felt as though I shouldn't. I think you feel as though you should sympathise with the victim but in this book I felt more empathy for the villain.
Heart Shaped Bruise is one of the most tense books that I have ever read. It is so clever, the reader knows that Emily has done something awful; we know she has been imprisoned for it but we do not find out right until the very end, exactly what it is. I made several guesses as the story unravelled but I honestly was not prepared for the ending.
Heart Shaped Bruise is a complex psychological thriller that will easily cross over from YA to adult fiction. I cannot recommend this book enough, Tanya Byrne is fantastic and I can't wait to see what she does next.
Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to Headline for sending me a copy of this book to review, Heart Shaped Bruise is out now!