Review: Bruised by Tanya Boteju

Review: Bruised by Tanya Boteju

Bruised by Tanya Boteju is a heavier read than I would normally gravitate to, but I enjoyed every page. This one is a great introduction to roller derby, and I loved being immersed in this fast-paced world. The main character is tough, but as the book progresses, she learns to embrace different forms of strength. I would recommend this one to those looking for a more serious coming-of-age story.

Review: Bruised by Tanya BotejuTitle: Bruised
Author: Tanya Boteju
Also by this author: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story, about a teen girl navigates first love, identity, and grief when 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.

Amazon “Book

❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃


Review: Bruised by Tanya Boteju

As a way of coping with the loss of her parents, Daya joins a roller derby term in hopes of externalizing her pain rather than dealing with it emotionally. The sport is unfamiliar to her, and she has never played on a team before, which pushes her to her limits in unexpected ways–both physically and mentally. I have never read a book about roller derby before, and it was really interesting to explore this world along with Daya. The dynamic cast of side characters who make up the Killa Honeys is also a highlight.

❀ Complex Main Character

Daya is a complex character, and I loved her growth. She is incredibly strong, but when we meet her, she is closed off after suffering a tremendous loss. While her ways of coping are unhealthy, it is easy to root for her, and to understand where her actions are coming from. As the book progresses, Daya discovers a different side of herself and learns to be part of a team, beginning a gradual path towards healing.

❀ Powerful Message

Throughout this book is a powerful message about toughness. To Daya, vulnerability is a weakness, as she has been conditioned to be strong her entire life. However, as she gets to know the Killa Honeys, she starts to learn that softness is a different kind of strength in itself. In fact, her raw toughness can be considered a weakness. It is so moving to watch Daya come to recognize the softness in herself, and she doesn’t become any less tough because of it.

❀ A story about grief and self-discovery

Bruised by Tanya Boteju is a story about grief and self-discovery. I loved the topic of roller derby, and the main character is well-developed. The book’s message about different forms of strength further enriches the narrative. Those looking for a heavier yet accessible read about the world of roller derby will enjoy this one.

About Tanya Boteju

Tanya Boteju

Tanya Boteju is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She believes feminism, diversity, committed educators, sassy students, and hot mugs of tea will save the day. She is also grateful for her patient wife who builds her many bookshelves! Tanya may have been a drag king in her well-spent youth and knows that the queer community is full of magic and wonder

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