Monday, July 20, 2015

Damage Done ~ Amanda Panitch (earc) review [@randomhousekids @AmandaPanitch]

Damage Done
Random House Books for Young Readers
July 21, 2015
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

"Exceedingly clever and surprisingly unsettling, Damage Done is an unforgettable read." --Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Made for You

"In her incredible debut novel, Amanda Panitch leaves you on the edge of your seat. Prepare to be stunned. Prepare to be torn apart." --Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist

"A brilliant thriller. Gillian Flynn for the YA set." --Amy Christine Parker, author of Gated

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
Well, that was a lot different than I was expecting. Different, though, in the absolute best possible way. I liked the book description and what I thought Damage Done was going to be.

I loved what it was.

The majority of what surprised me, I think, was Julia/Lucy's character.  She was definitely not what I had anticipated. The description mentions, "Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind." Without saying too much, those are some secrets.

We meet Lucy, this girl who is trying to start over, to have a new life as Lucy Black, not Julia Vann, twin sister to the infamous Ryan Vann. After those twenty-two minutes in the band room that left the other eleven people in the room dead, at the hands of her brother, people want answers from Julia. Answers she can't give.

We only get small glimpses into what happened in that room, but we do get told of the aftermath: reporters following the family, reporters on the front lawn, the Vanns moving and becoming the Blacks, not talking about Ryan or what happened.

You can sympathize with Lucy(/Julia) and all that she has gone through. Her desire to keep who she truly is a secret makes perfect sense. It seems like she's getting her life, as Lucy, together: she has a great best friend, she's caught the school's hot swimmer star's eye and no one knows she's Julia Vann. Great, right?

But when someone from her past life who could ruin it all shows up, things change.

Along with Lucy's fear, worry and maybe even paranoia, we notice changes in her, too. Little things she says or does are disconcerting - maybe even creepy - and you being to wonder what those 'dark secrets' really are.

I loved how Damage Done unfolded and the development of the characters. Some things were done very subtly causing me to second guess myself (maybe that's not weird, maybe it's just an ill conceived idea, etc). I really liked Alana and Ryan's characters. They were supportive of Lucy and wanted to help her and keep her safe from any threats. Julia/Lucy was what really made the book. Her story - past and present - her family's secret(s) and how it all comes out was superb.

Damage Done is going to be on my mind for a while, it's dark, twisting, smart and a great read.

thank you to the publisher for my review copy, via NetGalley

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