Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Damage Done - Amanda Panitch

Damage Done
Amanda Panitch
Random House
Young Adult/Thriller
Every once in a while, seventeen-year-old Lucy Black has to remind herself of her name.  She’s had this name for a bit less than a year.  Last year, she was Julia Vann.  She went to high school, played clarinet in the band, had friends, and a boyfriend.  She also had a twin brother, Ryan.   They were as close as two people could be.  The two of them held hands in the womb.  They were practically inseparable as kids, even after Ryan was sent to a doctor about his behavior.  After that, Ryan spent a lot of time with Dr. Spence, his therapist.  And then one day, Ryan walked into the band room and never walked out again.  Neither did anyone else, except Julia.  After that day, nothing could possibly be the same.  Now she’s Lucy and she lives in a new town among strangers.  She started at a new school.  She has a new friend or two.  She’s on the verge of having a boyfriend.  And no one knows who she really is.
Being Lucy is kind of a relief.  No one wants to ask her horrible questions or call her vile names.  Reporters aren’t lurking in the bushes every time someone takes out the trash.  On the other hand, most of her previous life is gone and she can never talk about it.  She has exactly one photo left of Ryan.  Compared to the other victims, maybe she’s lucky.  Until one day, rushing into first period, she spots him in the parking lot.  He’s far away, but she’s sure it’s Dr. Spence.  How could he have found her?  More to the point, what does he want?  Digging up the past and destroying the present is the very last thing Lucy (or Julia) wants. 
This is written for young adults, but it will appeal to a wider set of readers.  At the core, this is a very well written thriller.  I stayed up much too late because I had to find out what happened.  Julia/Lucy is a completely sympathetic character.  She’s not only the new kid, she has to lie about where she came from and who she was and what she did.  The whole novel is written from her perspective, so the reader really gets a good look inside her head.  While there are some difficult themes here (school tragedy, student deaths, psychological issues) most teens should have no trouble with this.  Most parents will want to borrow it when they’re done.
Rating: 8
August 2015
ISBN# 978-0-553-50749-2  (hardcover)


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