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. . . .
First things first: This isn’t a bad book at all. It’s quite readable, highly entertaining, and if you ignore all the issues then it can be quite an unforgettable experience. So why the low rating? Because this book didn’t work for me AT ALL. In fact, this book is riddled with issues I’m not sure I can even cover in the course of a review. But that’s my problem and you might really, really enjoy the book when you read it for yourselves.
Now that the disclaimer’s out of the way, let’s just cut to the chase. Damage Done is a YA Psychological Thriller, which is just a fancy way of saying that this book is about sociopathic teenagers who can give you major creeps. It’s very well-written and I am in no way asking you, dear reader, to stay away from the book. I’m not going to turn you away, frowning, if you happened to like the book. It’s just that I don’t see myself coming back to this book, rethinking my stance about it and bumping up the stars. Not happening for me. Why not? Here’s why:
Julia Vann/Lucy Black/whatever is the female lead of a novel that promised way more than it delivered. I wanted thrills and chills and to an extent, the writing provided me with those. But the downside to the superb prose was the problem with p-r-e-d-i-c-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y. You see, everything about this book was predictable. The “twist”? Predictable. Character reactions? Predictable.
And what wasn’t predictable was completely ridiculous.
Julia was a liar. That much was made clear by the blurb itself. You know she’s a liar in the first 5%. She’s a liar and a manipulator and if I’m going to root for her in the book, I need to at least like her. Which I didn’t. It took me to reach 36% and a re-read of the blurb to figure out what would happen in the rest of the book. It was fucking annoying. And to think, I really read the rest of the book hoping and praying that I would be wrong but really, once you’ve cracked the mystery, you can’t really un-crack it. Nor can you ignore what you’ve learned, so I just kept testing my theory to see if it fit. It did. shrugs
Then I’d like to talk about the “romance.” I believe at one point, Julia said this about Michael: He was basically a golden retriever in human form: big, sweet, earnest, and a little bit dumb. (ARC, location – 1547)
Need I say more? Michael was supposed to be this whole bundle of cute, an adoring boyfriend who stands by his damaged girlfriend and will stop at nothing to protect her from harm. But why? What made him fall in love with her? As far as I know, he cooked her soup and eggs and taught her how to cut onions, followed her into dingy houses without really asking for as many details as a sane person would, but if that is supposed to convince the reader of their “love,” then that is a serious underestimation of a reader’s intellect. I really do hope I’ve missed some romantic cues in their relationship. Truly.
About the thrills…it all comes down to the writing. That and only that is the reason I continued to read the book. The author kept me hooked to the book based on the force of her amazing story telling skills, and nothing more. The more you get engrossed in appreciating the author’s writing, the more you’ll find yourself wanting to look past the poor execution of the story. Unfortunately for me, I was promised a Thriller and I got something that was much lesser than that. And jeez, at least make the damned book believable. I didn’t buy most of the happenings in the book (especially those concerning the cops) because of their glossed over details and the utterly rubbish reactions of adults. Jeez. The part where Julia enters a high security prison through a cops’ station and no one thinks to stop and ask her how she got in? I thought people at work know each other. Wouldn’t you recognise a stranger at your work place? God. GOD.
Again, I’m hoping that those of you want to read this book will. I’m not recommending it (it didn’t work for me, I can’t recommend it) but I’m definitely asking you to give the book a try simply because the premise is interesting and you might enjoy the writing because it is spectacular. Many people have enjoyed the book and were utterly clueless until the end—which is a beautiful thing, if it happens to you—and it is my assurance to both myself and anyone who’s listening that regardless of my disappointment with the book, I’m going to devour the author’s very other work.