• Michelle

ARC Book Review: Bruised

4/5 Stars.

Bruised by Tanya Boteju really packs a punch and almost leaves your heart bruised as you read through Daya's story of navigating the ever-bumpy path of grief, fear, and keeping guards up. After her parents' death, Daya stays locked within herself, never really allowing others or herself to grow close for fear of losing them and getting hurt in the process. But she's already hurt, already bruised, and she turns to that physical hurt and bruising as a way to prove her own toughness and keep herself distracted from the emotional hurt and bruising, and what better way to get physically hurt and bruised than joining a roller derby team. This roller derby team turns out to be exactly what she needed, in more ways than Daya originally expected.

If you loved We Are Okay, then you'll definitely love this book; however, they are their own stories. Bruised definitely revolves around how messy and intense grief can be, how it can bring about so many different emotions, and how grief isn't linear, but it highlights more of how grief can also manifest physically. A lot of the bruising is self-inflicted as a coping mechanism, and the roller derby helps add to that and speed it along.

Even though the book follows a lot of grief and physical pain, there are scenes of therapy and healthier coping mechanisms, casual queerness and plenty of LGBTQ (and diverse!) characters, scenes of fun and unbridle joy of life, eventual openness and clear communication, and a soft romance. These all add in to the stages of grief and healing and how someone else's pain could help teach a lesson about yourself. This is a very enjoyable and great book, with important lessons and messages attached.

Also, this is my first jump into the roller derby scene, and I'll end by saying I'm now a huge fan!

Bruised should definitely be on everyone's book radar and add it to your reading list!

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Bruised releases March 23rd, 2021!

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Where to purchase:

Barnes and Noble


Book Depository


Check with your local Indie Book Stores!

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