BOOK REVIEW: Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma.

12946782Title: Hurt
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 5th September 2013
Goodreads Summary: At seventeen, Mathéo Walsh appears to have it all. He is a champion diver and a hot prospect for the upcoming Olympics. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great friends and is the envy of many around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy . . .

Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.

Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever . . .

{ Review } 

I had no idea what to Hurt was about before I started reading it but it definitely wasn't what I was expecting. Hurt is the story of Matheo Walsh, Britain's top teen diver, who wins competition after competition and is on track to compete in the Olympics in Rio. Matheo's pretty happy with life - he's in love with a great girl and a very successful diver; his pushy, rich parents don't make things easy but he's learn to deal with that. The weekend of the National Diving Championship changes everything. Matheo wakes up after becoming Britain's top diver in his bedroom which has been well and truly trashed, his clothes are torn and there's blood on his clothes. He can't remember what exactly happened to him but he knows it wasn't anything good. From that day forward, Matheo's life has changed forever and he struggles with the weight of his secret. Unsure whether or not to tell those that he loves, Matheo starts to act strangely, unable to keep up the facade that everything is okay. What happened to him has ruined his life and if he doesn't tell anyone then he's going to crazy, but if he does, he could ruin Lola's life too. Dilemma.

The first 50 pages and the last 50 pages of 'Hurt' are brilliant. There's a lot of things going on, a lot of mystery and intrigue and I ploughed through these pages like nobody's business. The middle three hundred pages weren't quite as interesting as I would've liked. I was incredibly confused during a lot of passages as we are kept in the dark about Matheo's secret and there really isn't any indication as to what has befallen him. This was incredibly frustrating as Mattie's routine of acting out and then apologising didn't feel like a build up, but a sort of endless repetition. I had this feeling at several different points during the book in the lead up to the major plot twists which is a great shame because I found the plot twists themselves to be pretty mind blowing. In this case, I definitely don't think I was being slow or blind, the plot twists were genuinely really shocking and unpredictable.

Hurt is written in the third person but it's all focused on Matheo and what's going on inside his head. I feel like Matheo was quite a 'real' character. I didn't particularly like him and although I found his behaviour to be incredibly annoying at some points, I did sympathise a lot with him and in light of what happened to him, his actions are understandable. Usually I find third person narratives to be quite detached and removed from the central character but this narrative may as well have been in first person because you get a real insight into his messed up head, but the narrative is cleverly engineered so that Matheo's big secret is still kept under wraps.

From the synopsis, it sounds like Lola is the centre of a lot of Matheo's trauma and for the most part of the book I just couldn't fathom how what happened to Matheo could possibly be linked to her as there aren't any clues as to what her involvement is along the way. Then, in the last thirty pages or so, everything comes to light and there were a heck of a lot of jaw dropping moments. Lola is there the whole way through the novel and she was my favourite character. She is your typically sweet and caring girlfriend but everything about her love for Matheo felt genuine and at no point did I think that this is a silly teen romance. She is an admirable character as she's incredibly supportive of those around her but at the same time she isn't a weed and stands up for herself which I really respected.

The topics and themes covered in this novel are pretty heavy. I had no idea that this book would be involve such deep themes and I can't reveal them because that would be a major spoiler, but this book definitely isn't a light and fluffy read. If you're not a fan of reading about somewhat traumatic events, then this book isn't for you. A lot of passages in this book aren't pleasant to read at all but they are fascinating. In addition, there are some scenes of a sexual nature in this book, but nothing pornographic. If you're easily offended by sexual themes or violence then I wouldn't recommend this book to you.

I wouldn't say that this book is fast paced and there are several moments in the middle where I was mildly bored but personally, I thought it was worth struggling on through these bits so that I could make it to the big plot twists. This book is all about the plot twists. The three big shockers in this book are: what happened to Mattie, who is involved in what happened to him and who is affected by what happened to him. When these three things were revealed I was so surprised that I had to put my book down so I could take a few minutes to spaz.

All in all, I'd say that Hurt is a pretty good story. This isn't a pleasant story but it is certainly full of mystery and intrigue. The middle passages are a little repetitive and overly descriptive but I think it's well worth getting through these bits to make it to the ending passages which were phenomenally shocking for me. If you like a book with lots of unexpected plot twists then I'd highly recommend this. I don't think that this book is predictable in the slightest and your jaw will probably drop when the bombshells are revealed.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy!

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  1. I've been a fan of Tabitha's since Forbidden, so I've had this one on my TBR list for a long time. I didn't even know what it was about really. Thank you for your real in depth review. I appreciate it and will definitely be reading it soon.


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