Here is the official blurb from Goodreads:
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 her sense of self has been challenged and 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 shootout. 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.
Imogen can take care of herself. In fact, she’s almost arrogant about it. And why shouldn’t she be able to? She’s been studying Tae Kwon Do for years and has a black belt. Then the unthinkable happens. She’s at a restaurant when a shootout happens between the police and a suspect, and someone dies. Imogene is left wondering if she could have done more, and not knowing sends her spinning.
The illusion of control is a strong theme in the book. Imogen thinks she can control the things around her and that she knows what to expect of her life. The shootout destroys her world view, especially when she can’t remember everything that happened. Add to that her father’s illness (which she partially blames him for perceiving him as lacking control), and Imogen has a difficult time readjusting to a world where violence seems senseless. Her black belt is useless in her eyes if she can’t use it to protect herself or others.
The one person who gets what she is going through is the boy who was also in the diner. Ricky and Imogen begin training together when he asks her to teach him some fighting moves. Their sessions are a coping mechanism to help them feel more in control, and the romance slowly evolves. Imogen’s faulty memory and increased realization that she wasn’t as brave as she thought causes a lot of tension between them, though.
Imogen eventually devolves to a place where she begins to seek out violence. She puts herself in dangerous situations – thereby freaking out the people who care about her – to prove to herself that she isn’t helpless. She wants proof that she won’t freeze again. This led to a forced confrontation with Ricky that I didn’t believe would happen. It was the only sticking point for me. Imogen seemed to have reached some resolution or acceptance, but this moment happens (don’t want to spoil it for you) and I didn’t see the point of it. Did she really need this moment to provide to that she can take care of herself? That scene bothered me because it didn’t feel necessary, not because of the violence but because the emotional gauge of it didn’t feel right in the context of the story. Other than that, I loved the romance and the family dynamics.
A great read for fans of Courtney Summers.
Find it on Goodreads.
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