Proceed With Caution:
This book contains self-harm, parental death, and grief.
Bruised is narrated by eighteen-year-old Daya who bruises herself as a means to control her thoughts and emotions after her parents were killed in a car accident, with her in the car. Now she's discovered the brutal sport of roller derby and will do anything to make the team and have a new way of obtaining the pain she craves.
Bruised was one of my most anticipated titles for the year, and I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! We definitely need more roller derby books! It's such a fun sport to read about, and I loved learning more about it here right along side Daya.
Daya is unlikable. I don't mean this in a bad way. She is hard. Not just tough, but hard and unyielding. She is extremely closed off and a tad judgemental. She's also quite selfish. She it not someone I'd want to hang out with, but she is someone I'd like to read about. Bruised goes deep into Daya's head, somewhere she hates to be. She believes she has to be tough at all times, but by the end she realizes that softness can also be tough.
Other than her self-harm and grief, Bruised also deals with Daya figuring out her sexuality. She doesn't figure it out, and she doesn't come to a label, but this isn't about that. She just finds a girl who is her exact opposite but exactly who she needs at this time in her life. Shanti is sweet but doesn't put up with Daya's crap.
Bruised is full of diverse and eccentric characters! Of course, there's a large queer cast, since roller derby seems to attract the WLW crowd. Daya's best friend is nonbinary, their girlfriend is deaf, most characters of people of color. It was just so nice to see!
I just really enjoyed Bruised. It deals with heavy subjects but never felt suffocating (at least to me). It was nice to see Daya peel back her layers as she remembers the events leading up to the accident. She also comes to realize that she doesn't need to be alone. She can have support from those around her.