Bruised is a contemporary YA novel about grief, identity, and queerness. While there are many things to love about this book, the queerness and roller derby scenes are arguably two of my favorite parts. After losing her parents in a horrifying car crash, Daya finds a second family in the Killa Honeys—the local derby team. Using bruises from the rough full contact sport as a coping mechanism for her internalized pain, Daya eventually realizes there are many ways to be tough and many ways to be soft. What follows is a coming-of-age story that tackles how to find oneself and deal with pain in a healthy way amidst the subplot of a burgeoning queer romance. -Violet— From Bruised by Tanya Boteju
Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story about a teen girl navigating first love, identity, and grief as she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.
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.
“Boteju writes with acumen about the roller-coaster ride of being a teenager. . . . A searing portrait of self-discovery; soulful and captivating.” —Kirkus Reviews