In Damage Done, Amanda Panitch crafts a YA  protagonist as unsettling as any Gillian Flynn character

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In Damage Done, Amanda Panitch crafts a YA  protagonist as unsettling as any Gillian Flynn character

I blame my fondness for manipulative girl protagonists – the really awful, selfish and back stabbing kind – on Nellie Olsen, the bad girl everyone loves to hate from Little House on the Prairie.  I loved to see Nellie get her karmic backlash, and I think it is that delight that keeps me reading when I realize the narrator is a devious little snot.  Sometimes I actually find I kind of like them and see that mean girl response as a justified defensive measure.  Sometimes, I just like feeling superior and wait for their downfall.  Damage Done had a protagonist that I took a long while deciding about.  I’ll let you decide for yourself, but I can promise she probably won’t bore you.  Also, don’t you think the girl on the cover looks like Kristen Stewart?

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Goodreads Summary

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. . . . 
My Thoughts

Lucy used to be Julia.  Before her brother killed eleven people in a school shooting.  Now she is starting over, but some things aren’t what they seem, and Lucy doesn’t know the whole truth.  As her new, carefully crafted life begins to crumble, Lucy will have to decide if she is strong enough to do what it takes to survive one more time.  This is a fast and compelling read.  Lucy wasn’t a warm and fuzzy character, and it was clear that she had a manipulative and calculating side and it gave a slightly discordant edge to even moments that were suppose to be happy and light.  I kept reading despite my dislike for her (and you probably will, too) because there was the unanswered question of why her brother killed their friends and a promise that the answer would be given.  There were a few places where time sagged in the plot, but, for the most part, it was well paced to move the action forward.  I won’t say I was surprised by the resolution, but there were surprising revelations inside the expected ending.  I think this is a book that my students would enjoy if they aren’t turned off too much by Lucy, especially fans of thrillers and mysteries.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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