cover image Bruised


Sarah Skilton. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0387-4

In this problem novel that quickly takes a romantic turn, first-time author Skilton paints a vivid portrait of a girl whose shame leads to an identity crisis. Sixteen-year-old Imogen is the youngest black belt in her tae kwon do dojang. She can break boards with her feet and toss a man twice her size, but when her skills are tested during a diner holdup, she cowers rather than acts, and a man dies. Having lost her confidence and her pride, Imogen is ready to give up martial arts until Ricky—another witness of the holdup—asks her to teach him how to throw a punch. While working with Ricky, Imogen makes discoveries about her passions and fears, while reflecting on her disabled father, playboy brother, and tae kwon do teacher, as well as Ricky himself, the one person who understands what she’s going through. Offering psychological drama and an introduction to a martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)