Author: Tanya Boteju
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: March 23, 2021
To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart.
So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get.
The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.
Since Daya’s parents died in a crash that she survived, she has given herself bruises. She keeps bruising herself so she can physically feel the emotional pain from losing her parents. Daya learns about roller derby teams, and she realizes that’s an activity that will give her lots of bruises. The sport is more physically grueling and painful than she expected. She idolizes the star of the team, Kat, and she befriends Kat’s sister, Shani. Roller derby opens up Daya to exploring her own feelings and finding her personal strength.
This was a coming of age story. Daya had to learn to accept the death of her parents, and she also was coming to understand her own romantic feelings. Daya blamed herself for her parents’ death, since she survived their car crash, so she self harms by bruising herself. Daya also discovered her sexual identity. She became vulnerable by beginning a relationship with a girl that she didn’t expect to have. Daya had a lot to discover about herself in this story.
Despite the serious subject matter for most of the book, there were some entertaining characters. Daya’s aunt and uncle who were her guardians were quirky actors. They would dance and play games without worrying about how they looked to the outside world. Daya met some older characters through her roller skating. They were former roller skaters who still liked to get dressed up and help the younger skaters. They were all funny characters who lightened the mood of the story.
This was a great young adult story!
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal
Have you read Bruised? What did you think of it?