Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
Release Date: July 21st 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
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. . . .
For most of the time I was reading this book, I was either extremely bored or extremely perplexed. I’m not saying this is a bad book; in fact, I would describe it as an edge-of-your-seat, creepy-thriller-like read that had me tossing theory after theory. But there were so many elements being incorporated in the plot that the mystery aspect of the book stays out of the focus.
I didn’t like any of the characters in this book to be honest. Personally, I think the length of the book affected their characterisation. While our unreliable narrator, Julia, on the other hand, was a weird little thing. I didn’t get her at all until the end of the novel where all the juicy reveals are. Still, I wished her unreliableness was portrayed more naturally.
Despite all those things, I still enjoyed the mystery this book set up. I know a lot of readers probably tied up all the knots earlier than me but I swear I didn’t know what was happening during the latter half of the book. Kudos to the author for crafting an unconventional plot…and ending which still, to this day, unsettles me.
There are certainly a lot of better YA thrillers/mysteries than this one – and with better narrative, at that – but don’t shut down this promising author’s promising debut.