ARC Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
July 21st 2015
YA > Mystery
304 pages (Kindle edition)
eARC from Netgalley
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
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, her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school. And someone much more dangerous. She thought her brother’s crimes were behind her. But now she’s being forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind. How far will Julia go to keep her slate clean?
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
In this deliciously twisted contemporary thriller, family can be a real killer. For fans of We Were Liars and readers who love unique multiple perspectives that leave clues like breadcrumbs until they reach the stunning conclusion.
Early praises for this book were very positive and it was even dubbed as the ‘Gillian Flynn for the YA set.’ I’ve never read any Gillian Flynn but I know how highly praised and raved her books are so I wouldn’t go so far as to calling it that. Because honestly, Damage Done is mediocre at its best. True, it was a fast and extremely compelling read but only because I was itching to know the truth.
The narrator is such a liar and it was obvious from the start how skilled she is at it. It made me think how much lying she’s done already in her life as Julia Vann before she became Lucy Black because she’s so good. Who wouldn’t be fascinated with sifting the truth from all those lies especially when every word that she’s spewing out of her mouth could probably be all pure lies? Never for one second did ever I let my guard down and trusted Julia/Lucy. And for that, I have the author to thank for not pulling any punches in making her as calculating and unreliable as she is. I loved it. For most of the time, I enjoyed being inside her thoughts.
I said most of the time because there were times when I just couldn’t care. It was easy for me to lose focus on what I was reading especially when the scenes became way too unbelievable and stupid for me. One scene in particular is the one where Lucy entered a highly secured prison by posing as one of the officers without even getting noticed. Okaaay. I couldn’t get my head around of this ever happening in real life. There were a lot more of the same unrealistic scenes that made me scrunch my eyebrows one too many times but I’d be spoiling already so just go ahead and see for yourself.
I guess if the entirety of the book was as stimulating as those last remaining chapters, perhaps I would’ve cared more. I was actually really thankful that the author kept giving away clues – even though it made the twist less shocking when it came to the final reveal – because if I wasn’t too busy connecting them, I was mostly just detached.
In spite of everything said above, Damage Done is a promising debut that will satiate anyone looking for a carefully-plotted psychological thriller starring a completely untrustworthy narrator that will make you question people (this is why I have trust issues!!!) and I can see now why many people have enjoyed this despite my lack of strong feelings towards it.