Bruised

Bruised

4.0 5
by Sarah Skilton
     
 

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  When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else—more responsible, more capable. But now that her sense of self has been challenged,… See more details below

Overview

  When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else—more responsible, more capable. But now that her sense of self has been challenged, she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shoot-out. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world—full of dark humor and hard truths.

Praise for Bruised
STARRED REVIEW
"Offering psychological drama and an introduction to martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Her story is compelling, and readers will stick with her as new insights bring about a believable shift in her behavior…This distinctive debut will be appreciated by fans of contemporary fiction."
Kirkus Reviews

"This layered first novel explores the aftereffects of the trauma, convincingly depicting why Imogen blames herself for a situation over which she had no control. Skilton also sensitively depicts the bond and tentative romance that develops between Imogen and Ricky. The main story line about Imogen’s struggle to come to terms with what she did (and did not do) is nuanced and honest."
Horn Book

"This is a useful exploration of the difference between fantasy-style omnipotence and the complexity of real-life human strength."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Skilton does a fine job capturing how a psychological process after trauma can take time and might manifest in unique, sometimes unexpected, ways."
VOYA Magazine

"Poignant and emotionally raw at times and humorous at others, this debut novel adeptly portrays a shattered life in the wake of an unexpected act of violence and the road back to normalcy."
School Library Journal

"Here is a writer to watch who handles complex issues with sensitivity in the vein of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen."
Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this problem novel that quickly takes a romantic turn, first-time author Skilton paints a vivid portrait of a girl whose shame leads to an identity crisis. Sixteen-year-old Imogen is the youngest black belt in her tae kwon do dojang. She can break boards with her feet and toss a man twice her size, but when her skills are tested during a diner holdup, she cowers rather than acts, and a man dies. Having lost her confidence and her pride, Imogen is ready to give up martial arts until Ricky—another witness of the holdup—asks her to teach him how to throw a punch. While working with Ricky, Imogen makes discoveries about her passions and fears, while reflecting on her disabled father, playboy brother, and tae kwon do teacher, as well as Ricky himself, the one person who understands what she’s going through. Offering psychological drama and an introduction to a martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Sixteen-year-old Imogen's proudest accomplishment is her black belt in Korean martial arts. So after a stickup at a local diner leaves the teenaged gunman dead from police fire, Imogen is devastated that she cowered beneath a table instead of intervening in a way that might have saved the gunman's life: the one time her martial arts prowess mattered most is the time she did nothing. What follows is Imogen's descent into self-loathing: she shreds all her past Tae Kwon Do award certificates, submits failing work at school, wanders dangerous neighborhoods alone at night, and tries to goad her new sparring partner (and crush) Ricky Alvarez into punching her in the face during their intense fight-sessions together. Imogen is as hard on others as she on herself: contemptuous of her father for eating his way into wheelchair-bound diabetes, alienated from her older brother for having slept with her best friend, and from her best friend for having slept with her older brother. While it is fascinating to learn about the mental and physical discipline of Tae Kwan Do, and moving to see Imogen's ultimate growth as she accepts herself and others, she is so unsympathetic for so much of the book that readers may resist empathizing with her. The novel leaves unchallenged Imogen's belief that she will find no inner peace unless she finally manages to get a reluctant Ricky to give her the savage bruising she feels she deserves. A dark and bruising story. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Jennifer M. Miskec
When a night of hanging out with peers ends in a hold-up and a fatal shooting, sixteen-year-old Imogen, a witness to the crime, struggles to process the events of the evening. A close group of family and friends lends support, especially her older brother, but none are equipped to help Imogen deal with her guilt. A black belt in tae kwon do, Imogen cannot help but think she should have done something to stop the gunman. Imogen begins to piece together and process the traumatic events with the help of another witness to the crime, her classmate Ricky. Imogen teaches him tae kwon do, and the two build a friendship that turns into romance. Skilton does a fine job capturing how a psychological process after trauma can take time and might manifest in unique, sometimes unexpected, ways. Imogen, for example, finally feels relief when she and Ricky roughly spar, landing blows and kicks that relieve their pent-up frustration and reassure both that they have the skills to protect themselves (when a gun is not involved). But even before readers are let into the characters' psychological spaces, Skilton tells a story of a seemingly ordinary sixteen-year-old whose life is not ordinary. Imogen's brother is a charismatic ladies' man who has begun to date her friends, her mother is distant, and her father's diabetes has forced him to rely on a wheelchair. Skilton reminds readers that while there is no "normal," we might still connect with a driven but flawed badass who is as tough as she as loving. Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—High-school junior Imogen suffers from memory lapses after witnessing an armed robbery at a diner. During the event, she hid under a table and locked eyes with a boy, who, like her, was frozen by fear. The gunman threatened the cashier and was shot dead by police. The youngest black belt in her Tae Kwan Do dojang, Imogen is ashamed that she did not use her skills to prevent the tragedy. In counseling sessions with Ricky, the crouching boy, she finds genuine friendship and burgeoning romance. However, her guilt causes her to avoid the dojang and alienate friends and family, especially her Casanova brother, Hunter, who hooked up with her friend Shelly, and her father, whom she resents for being wheelchair-bound and unwilling to pursue physical therapy. At the breaking point, she delivers an undeserved punch to Ricky and is banished from the dojang. Poignant and emotionally raw at times and humorous at others, this debut novel adeptly portrays a shattered life in the wake of an unexpected act of violence and the road back to normalcy. Imogen's repressed memories come back slowly as the members of her support system face their own learning curve in how to help her cope. Fans of realistic fiction will appreciate the multilayered story, Tae Kwan Do action and philosophy, and resilient protagonist.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A taekwondo black belt struggles to forgive herself after failing to act when she witnesses the police shoot and kill a would-be robber. Disciplined, confident Imogen is shaken to the core when a man holds up the diner she's eating in and she hides beneath a table rather than trying to disarm the perpetrator. She locks eyes with a boy who is also hiding while an acquaintance calls the police from the bathroom. Imogen winds up covered in the gunman's blood. Realistically gut-wrenching weeks follow, as she tries to come to terms with nightmares, anxiety and, most of all, a deep sense of shame. Her fellow witness turns out to be Ricky, a new student at her school, and the two find themselves intensely bonded due to their shared experience. They eventually embark on a relationship that includes her training him in martial arts. Imogen is a refreshingly complicated and intense character, but her rigid refusal to forgive others, such as her kind but sexually promiscuous older brother and her father, a diabetic who is not taking care of himself, makes it hard to like her at times. However, her story is compelling, and readers will stick with her as new insights bring about a believable shift in her behavior. This distinctive debut will be appreciated by fans of contemporary fiction. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781613124574
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,306,226
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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