Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
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...

With its creepy cover and vague synopsis, I went into Damage Done expecting something dark and twisty. It was definitely dark, but not very twisty.
I had a theory early on about what actually happened in the band room, to Julia, and to Julia's twin brother. There were glaringly obvious clues. While my theory wasn't one hundred percent on point, it was close enough--hence, not a twisty read for me.

It was also hard for me to be emotionally invested in any of the characters. The story was told in Lucy/Julia's first person POV and you know right away there's something off about her. She would think these strange things (for example, she wants to bubble wrap someone and shove them in a trunk to keep them safe--WTF?), she's very manipulative and takes pride in being a very good liar. Her twin brother was supposed to the psychopath in the family because he was the one who shot eleven people in the band room and she painted herself as the "good" twin, but you're left to wonder if there's more of her twin in her than she wants to admit. I was just waiting for her to snap so I couldn't get behind her. The other characters were her new best friend Alane and Michael, the boy she was attracted to. I didn't want them to die, but I was convinced they were sitting ducks.

However, even though I kind of guessed the end and I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters, it didn't stop me from reading this book deep into the night. Damage Done was a riveting read, no question. The clues were there and I wanted to know if I was right. I wanted to see what will happen to Lucy/Julia in the end and how she will come out of it. What will happen in the final showdown when the truth finally comes out? Will Lucy/Julia finally snap? I was very much engrossed in the story.

While Damage Done wasn't the best YA psychological thrillers I've ever read, it was still quite the page-turner for me. I really enjoyed the writing too--it was very readable and helped me to keep turning the pages. I will be on the lookout for more books by Ms. Panitch in the future. In the mood for a psychological thriller that will keep you reading into the night? Pick up Damage Done.

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