Monday, June 27, 2016

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch-- And Why I Wasn't Mind-Fucked

Lucy Black used to be Julia Vann.  That is, until the media forced her family into hiding after a horrific incident at her former school.  Now Lucy is without her one person in the world that "gets her"-- her twin brother.

At her new school, she does her best to forget what happened.  She's made a new best friend and met a new guy.  But old things have a way of coming back... and now a blast-from-the-past has made his way to Lucy's new town.  She's determined not to let this person blow her cover... because she does NOT want to go back to the notoriety she had as Julia Vann, twin sister of a boy who has done an unforgivable thing.

I've been in the mood to have my mind messed with, so I thought I would try this YA Mystery/ Psychological Thriller.  I have no idea how to talk about this book without spoilers though.  I mean, there were some things about Lucy/Julia that I thought the author made VERY obvious right from the start (or at least 1/3 of the way in), but maybe saying those things would spoil the surprise???  Such a hard decision, but I guess I'm going to try to share as LITTLE as possible while also telling you what I felt about this book.

For a debut, I thought, WOW this was a super interesting way to start a career!!  With that aside, I was a little underwhelmed.  Upon first finishing I was caught up in how I felt about the utter sickness of the characters, so I initially I thought about rating it higher.  As I got further away from it though, I realized that while I enjoy reading about messed up people, I need more than just that.

The thing about Lucy/Julia is-- The thing about her could have/should have been hidden better.  I thought it should've been brought out at the end in a big SURPRISE!!  But it wasn't.  It was brought out fairly early on.  So after reading 1/3 of the book, I knew what the ending was going to be.  I didn't know how we would get there... and I certainly did not anticipate alllllll the things that came out, but I knew the heart of the story.  As a straight-up character study, it was cool.  As a mind-fuck, gotcha, suspenseful, OMG-moment book, I thought it failed.  I also thought it failed on a side-character level.  Her clueless friends, who were so uninteresting and just basically there to say "yes" to everything Lucy requested regardless of how weird/dangerous/stupid, were tough to take.  I really want my side characters to be more than props, ya know?

This was a case of-- if you changed just a few things, I would have loved it.  If the friend & boyfriend had had some sense, if the plot twist came out later, if some of the pointless scenes were cut, if the unbelievable ending scene was made to be, well, more believable-- I probably would have loved this book.  As it stands, I thought it was just okay.  I enjoyed reading it, but I wasn't OBSESSED like I wanted to be.

OVERALL: Another OKAY YA Mystery/Thriller.  I think it tried to be like Gone Girl, but it was way Captain Obvious for that.  I wished the side characters were real people, and I didn't love the way the ending played out (too fantastic to be believable), but I still enjoyed reading.  I wouldn't say this should absolutely be your next read, but maybe THINK about it for the future?

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Date Published: 7/21/2015
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Random House

Character: Lucy Black/ Julia Vann
Book: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  • Here-- You want to know what love is??? THIS is love.

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  1. This was one of my more fave YA thrillers. I wasn't stumped but I definitely loved it more than I hated it. Sorry you didn't like it more!

    1. I think I liked it more than I came off in this review. I guess I just wished that it wasn't so obvious what Lucy was about.

  2. Hmmm. I've heard good things about this one. I'm curious about it mostly to see what the twist is and if I figure it out. And while I don't like when they are so obvious, if they are I prefer it to be revealed earlier. It sucks when you figure the twist out on page 50 and they don't tell you until page 300.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    1. Yeah it is better that the author wasn't trying to act like we didn't KNOW what the twist was... but I thought the KNOWING took away from this story (at least a little bit). I think it succeeded as a character study... but not as a mystery.

  3. Sorry this one wasn't better for you. I'm glad you still liked it though. I hope your next read blows you away!!

  4. Lol really? I was blown away by this when I was first read it. I was like: "Ohhhh OOOOOOHHHH" If I can complain about anything it'd be the ending. (Spoilers!) Like, how could Lucy/Julia do all that and still go on to live a normal life? Smh. Great review, Michelle!