“Bruised” Sarah Skilton

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published March 5, 2013. Amulet Books (Abrams). 274 pp.

BruisedSixteen-year-old Imogen’s life will never be the same. Told in real time and through flashbacks, Imogen was hanging out at a diner when a gunman came in and held up the place. Her first reaction was to hide under the table, where she hunched in terror. Fast forward and suddenly she was covered in the gunman’s blood. Unable to remember what happened, she knows that she was useless. She is a Black Belt, trained to protect, yet she hid under a table and allowed the gunman to be killed by the police. In her mind, that is unacceptable, and unforgivable.

With these thoughts eating away at her heart and mind, Imogen’s life unravels. She already hates her big brother for sleeping with all her friends, hates her best friend for sleeping with her brother, hates her dad for being in a wheelchair, and hates her mom for never hugging her. It’s only natural for her to hate herself for not doing something more the night of the attempted robbery; for not doing what her Black Belt taught her to do. Little by little, Imogen allows herself to spiral downward into depression until it seems that nothing will get her to rise up again.

I was not thrilled with “Bruised.” I didn’t get why Imogen was so fixated on the thought that having a Black Belt automatically gave her the right to become Super Woman with an armed gunman. I didn’t understand why she was so down on herself about not being able to save the gunman, and was actually annoyed at her and the many pity parties she threw for herself.

I’ll leave it up to you, and any readers aged 14 and older, to decide if you want to Read it or Not.

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