Reviews

Bruised, by Tanya Boteju

emilyorlich's review

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challenging dark emotional informative medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75


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wildjessturing's review

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

addieneedsabook's review

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emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

typewriter's review

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challenging emotional funny hopeful reflective
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This was ultimately a heartwarming story about healing and finding yourself after the loss of a loved one, and I enjoyed it. At the beginning, the dialogue and characters felt a bit awkward, but this improved to not being noticeable by the end of the book. I really enjoyed the way no one character was without their own flaws, and that it was recognized that we're all still developing as humans. The ending also doesn't "fix" everyone, which is nice to read.

alexfromistemor's review

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4.0

TW: This book deals with Self Harm & Death. Actual rating 4.5

Sapphic love and roller derby, what's not to love?!

This was really, really good. I brought it home from my store a week or two ago intending to read it right away, and then I didn't. I found other things that jumped out at my initially, but yesterday morning I woke up early before my alarm went off and started it, and could barely put the things down from then on!

Daya is a very interesting, and at times frustrating, protagonist. I don't think everyone will like her. The book is told in her 1st person POV, so you're stuck right there with her throughout, experiencing her highs and, quite often, her lows, as she figures her life and herself out following the car crash that kills her parents, the one she survived. If there is a key theme to Daya's story, it's that no one thing makes up who we are or defines us, but it can be easy to believe there is. She was brought up in such a way that she seems to believe happiness is weakness, and so for quite a while she seems to deny her happiness. Excitement, sure, that's allowed, but happiness, that's weakness. As such, reading her won't be for everyone.

Of course, we're also introduced to Shanti and, to paraphrase the bard, 'she was a jock, she was a nerd, could it be anymore obvious?' Those two have an immediate connection, even if Daya is like...painfully oblivious for like half of the book. She is a wonderfully smart character, and our main focus voice for the idea that strength isn't just necessarily how physically strong or tough you may be (but certainly not the only one).

The other supporting cast is mostly all great. Fee...oh gosh, Fee...I think we all need a Fee in our lives. They seem like that amazing, accepting friend that are always there to listen and hug without ever offering much pressure. Their girlfriend Cai is equally awesome, and, from my limited experience, seemed to be an immensely great example of a character using ASL. Priam and Vicki are obviously a lot, but them being just so into each other, and without a care about peoples perceptions. Immediately throwing on Seasons of Love when they figure out Daya & Santi...yeah, it would have been embarrassing as all hell...but it's also pretty adorable? The other two senior couples, Bee & Yolanda and Alma & Joe are both just...*chef kiss* they're all wonderful. All the wonderful little derby folk of Daya's team are all fun, particularly Lena.

And then there's Kat. Kat is frustrating in many of the same way that Daya is, though also in her own ways. In some ways, she's obviously one of the coolest people evar...I mean, sleeve tattoos, buff af, intensely caring about her team. But she's also a very broken person. She would never admit it herself, but she really is, and I get that her reaction is similarly to Daya's an unhealthy coping mechanism...but she really goes overboard, y'know. Like, to seemingly absurd degrees. It just felt a bit much.

One thing I found interesting is that sexuality is almost never named in the entire text of the book. Queer people are all over the book, but for the most part it's written in the manner of 'you like who you like', which is very interesting. As far as diversity goes, this book is hands down incredible.

This is a book that deals with self harm. It is a very big part of the narrative and Daya's journey. And that can be a very difficult subject to deal with sensitively. And yet, Tanya manages this superbly. That feeling like as long as you and make your pain physical, then you can ignore the pain in your heart or mind. It's kind of minor, but I'm not actually used to depictions of SH like the ones featured here. Usually, you get cutting, or scratching like in [b:Honey Girl|49362138|Honey Girl|Morgan Rogers|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1591632931l/49362138._SY75_.jpg|74797148], something like that.
SpoilerI do have personal experiences with this particular topic, and as such, it felt familiar to read these aspects and feelings, in both positive and negative ways, and so that was a while thing.


If I have any issues with this book, it's a common one I have with a lot of books, particularly stand alone stories: getting so into the world and the way the story is flowing (and trust me, I get that), and then realizing you're most of the way through your page count, and you need to wrap things up!
SpoilerIt felt a bit like this book managed to wrap everything up with the HEA within 20-30 pages at the end of the book, and while Daya is still implied to be working on herself, it feels a little bit like 'well, she's fixed now', and I think I just would have preferred if it were more obvious that 'things are better, but this is a long process', even though emotionally, I like the HEA.


So, yeah, great great book.

marina0201's review

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challenging emotional hopeful tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

oldandnewbooksmell's review

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3.0

Trigger Warnings: Trauma, parent death, self harm

Daya sees bruises as a mixture of comfort and control. When she sees her first roller derby match, she's instantly in love with the amount of bruising she can get. But joining a team pushes her towards truths she's struggling to come to terms with.

I liked the representation this book has (queer characters, they/them, deaf character, Sri Lanka) and I liked the information about roller derby... but that's really it?

Daya was really hard to like, and that's a part of her character and her growth, but it sometimes just got annoying. I'm also a bit confused/annoyed with Kat... we get her background from her sister but I still don't feel like it justifies why she did some of the things that she did besides she's a jerk.

I do wish there was more bonding with the derby team. I know it's hard for Daya and she struggled with it but I felt like I didn't know the team. I can remember that there was Kate and two other girls, but even writing this 16 hours after finishing the book, I can't remember their names, and then Shanti.

I loved how supporting Fee is, they're amazing and a rock solid friend that Daya definitely needs.

Overall I did enjoy the book, it was fun to see a bit of the inside of a sport I don't know much about.

seventhchariot's review

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4.0

Rating: 4/5

I'm in love with this cover!!!

Okay so besides this cover being one of the best things to grace my eyeballs, this was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and well, it wasn't a new all-time favorite but I still really enjoyed it!

One of my favorite aspects of this book is all of the representation! There are so many queer characters, a nonbinary character, a hard-of-hearing character, and so many beautiful sapphic relationships, as well as a Sri Lankan main character and Asian side characters/love interest!!!

I loved the main character Daya and I really related to her on a lot of levels, although the main complaint that I see with this book is that they find her annoying and unlikable, which I totally get. But I loved her, and seeing her grow and learn things just made me so happy!! I also felt like all of the side characters served a purpose and were all well fleshed out for how short this book is and considering it is a YA contemporary. Also, the roller derby aspect of this book was immaculate (coming from the point of view of someone who knows nothing about the sport but is very intrigued to try it out)!

CW: self-harm, parental death, mentions of domestic abuse, grief, bullying

One aspect of Daya's character arc that I really loved was her and therapy. At the beginning of the book she doesn't want to be there or talk about her feelings, and by the end she is open to talking and growing. I really loved this because I think more books need to talk and discuss therapy and show it in a positive light while still being realistic. Because most people who are forced into therapy aren't very receptive to it and they have to choose for themselves to attend and participate. Something that did bring my rating of this book down was the self-harm aspect. While I felt that the author did an okay job at establishing that self-harm is bad, all of the side characters who notice just brush it off and don't say anything, which I felt to be kinda problematic. And nothing is really done or said about it until the last couple of pages and I'm talking about the last couple of pages.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this and wish I had read it a couple of years ago!

kkatiecheung's review

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funny inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

trinketsbooks's review

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5