3.5I wish I could give this a better rating but the fact is that Bruised did not impact me like I thought it would.It’s a good book and I liked it but I feel it could have been better. Bruised could have been a deeper, darker exploration of PTSD had it stayed focused on the main Tae Kwon Do aspect of it, but it kept derailing into needless drama that I did not care about.I found Imogen very unlikeable. Her attitude towards her parents especially bothered me. While I appreciate the complexity of her characterization, I could not connect with Imogen at all so her supposed trauma did not feel all that traumatizing to me.Here's something I don't understand - why is Imogen so convinced that Ricky, and only Ricky, can understand what she's going through?? I get that she's upset because she didn't use her training to prevent what happened but why the certainty that a random guy hiding under another table would understand her agony better than her parents?? It would have made more sense had she known Ricky before the hold-up or had he been a trained fighter like Imogen herself but since that's not the case, her so-called connection with Ricky felt grossly underwhelming.Coming to the good parts, I loved the writing. It was unusually seasoned for a debut."If my brain’s the arena, my thoughts are the rabid caged dogs in the wings, whipped into a fury. As long as I don’t acknowledge them, I can keep them at bay until I go to bed, at which point they show up as nightmares and tear themselves apart."I also loved the subtle touch of feminism concerning girls and fighting."The only way female fighters could possibly interest anyone is if there’s a chance they’ll rip each other’s clothes off. Nobody will just let us fight.""If a girl punches someone, she’s crazy. If a guy punches someone, he’s dealing with his feelings. He’s normal."The Tae Kwon Do aspect was the best part of the book. Imogen's passion for martial arts and her loss of self-belief following the diner incident came through brilliantly well. I personally thought the ending was great Imogen goes back to Tae Kwon Do but starts all over again with the white belt and the part where Imogen realizes how arrogant she'd once been was a nice touch - made me like her a bit. Overall, a very promising debut. I just wish Skilton had concentrated more on the central theme and not on the many sub-plots.