Big thanks to Random House for sending Chrissi & me the book to review.
Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
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…
Thoughts before you started reading Hurt?
CHRISSI: I haven’t read Forbidden yet, but I have it ready to read. I’d heard that Tabitha’s books are incredibly emotional reads.
LUNA: Having read Forbidden a couple of years ago I knew that Hurt would be a really emotional story. I thought about Forbidden for weeks after I’d finished and expected much the same from Tabitha Suzuma’s newest book.
What did you think of Mathéo and Lola as characters?
CHRISSI: I thought Lola was a lovely character, but not really instantly memorable. I thought Mathéo was going to be a horrible, cocky character, but I really grew to love him and really care about what happened to him.
LUNA: Admittedly I struggled with both, there was no instant connection. Lola is nice but didn’t stand out and it wasn’t until Mathéo started falling apart that I began to believe him. By the end of the book I wanted to crawl through the pages to help, something that doesn’t happen often.
CHRISSI: It took me a little while to get invested in the story, but when I was invested I was completely stuck in their world, feeling some of the emotions the characters were feeling. It’s certainly a sign of a talented writer.
LUNA: Believing the emotions. Mathéo turmoil is real, as are the reactions of Lola, Hugo and Isabel (even though they infuriated me). There is an understanding in Hurt. While I was reading I felt that Tabitha Suzuma got it.
CHRISSI: As I mentioned, it took me a while to get into the story. I’m not sure why. It could be because I found Mathéo so cocky, but once I got deeper into his story, I really felt for him.
LUNA: The beginning, I’d passed 100 pages before I was actively involved in Mathéo’s story and the repetitiveness of “he” was annoying. It’s a style choice, which makes sense, but as the reader it did grate me. Personally I also thought the descriptions were a bit longwinded on occasion.
Favourite character / moment?
CHRISSI: The ending was one of my favourite endings of a book this year. It really was incredible and actually made me cry. It’s not often I get that emotionally involved, but it happened with Hurt.
LUNA: When Mathéo’s little brother Loïc finds Mathéo crying. That scene was beautiful and so touching.
Was Hurt what you expected?
CHRISSI: It was emotional, like I expected. I really didn’t expect the subject matter though. I had many ideas throughout but I was wrong. So wrong!
LUNA: I felt like I’d been put through an emotional wringer at the end of it so yes, however the subject of the story wasn’t immediately obvious and when I figured it out I thought “wow” this book will be special.
Would you recommend it?
CHRISSI: I’d definitely recommend it. It’s an incredibly hard subject to read about, but I’m pleased that Tabitha Suzuma has decided to handle the subject. She writes it very well.
LUNA: Absolutely but be prepared; this is not an easy book it’s an important one.