Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else–more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it’s all her fault.
Now she’s got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight–a real fight–she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She’s drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.
But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen’s big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who’s beaten and bruised fall in love?
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bruised, that’s why when Amulet Books sent me a copy for review, I immediately read it and until now, I don’t know whether to give this one 3 or 4 stars.
First of all, I really admire the main character, Imogen, for her bravery. Heck, she was only sixteen when she witnessed a holdup in a diner and survived it. Her story opened my eyes about PTSD and how it can affect a person, especially a teenager, and also those people surrounding you. But in Imogen’s case, she blames herself for what happened because she is someone who is a Tae Kwon Do black belter, and should know what to do in situations like that, but instead, she just froze and did nothing.
Even though I admired her character, I don’t find her that relatable and I’m losing more and more interest as I read the book. I don’t know if it’s because of her lack of chemistry with Ricky, the other holdup witness, or if it’s because I didn’t feel enough from Imogen. I just wish that the book impacted me more, in a way that it will really affect me and make me think about everything that’s in it – but unfortunately, it didn’t.
On the bright side, I liked Imogen’s passion for Tae Kwon Do and I’m glad that even though she went through something so difficult, her world did not stop there and she continued learning. Ricky is also a positive influence on Imogen and they coped with their problem together.
Again, I wish this impacted me more than it did, but it still is definitely worth reading.
About the Author
Sarah is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a fact that came in handy while writing her martial arts-themed debut YA novel, BRUISED (2013, Amulet Books), which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and which the Horn Book called “nuanced and honest.”
Her latest novel, HIGH AND DRY (April 2014, Amulet Books), was called “A dark, well-constructed mystery with a strong voice” by Kirkus.
Sarah and her husband, a magician, live in Southern California with their toddler son. She’s never been sawed in half, but there’s still time. She loves to read coming-of-age and YA novels, effed up memoirs, and edgy non-fiction. Find her on twitter: @Sarah_Skilton