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Damage Done

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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. . . .

304 pages, Hardcover

First published July 21, 2015

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About the author

Amanda Panitch

6 books196 followers
Amanda Panitch spent most of her childhood telling stories to her four younger siblings, trying both to make them laugh and scare them too much to sleep. Now she lives in New York City, where she writes dark, funny stories for teens, kids, and the pigeons that nest on her apartment balcony. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at www.amandapanitch.com

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5 stars
598 (25%)
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717 (30%)
3 stars
654 (27%)
2 stars
268 (11%)
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146 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 495 reviews
July 23, 2015
The major problem with this book is that it is sold as a Gone Giri-ish thriller. It involves mass murder. It involves amnesia. It involves a fake new identity, although it didn't quite take the witness-protection route. Sounds great, right?!

I've felt more thrilled while eating a sandwich made with one of those plastic cheese slices.

There's just really not much I can say about this book because it was just so bloody bland. It was emotionless. Of course there's romance---this is an YA book, after all---but it was awkward and forced and the love interest holds as much appeal as a wittle puppy. Oh, wait, that's how the main character feels about him, too.
He was basically a golden retriever in human form: big, sweet, earnest, and a little bit dumb.
Can you feel the love tonight?

It was just so, so dispassionate. Julia/Lucy's brother is insane. Before the book happened, he burst into a classroom and killed 11 classmates.
“Eleven people died,” I said. “One was my boyfriend. One was my best friend. One was my teacher. I knew the others, but not super well.”
I suppose this book is brilliant in a way that it made me feel nothing whatsoever for those who had died, and those who had been left behind. The book was disjoint, there was no established setting, we're plunged into the middle of a tragedy without knowing much of the characters involved, and in fact, I never cared a whit for what I learned. The twist was not shocking, and completely foreseeable from the beginning. The twist actually held so much potential that could have been far more brilliantly portrayed with better writing.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,521 reviews33.8k followers
August 3, 2016
3.5 stars This thriller has a pretty great reveal--and while I think it was telegraphed fairly early, the premise holds up under scrutiny and the twist won't be spoiled for you even if you guess it.

I do wish, however, that the entire book had been written with the same tautness and electricity as its last three chapters. I didn't love the writing style or the characterizations (the boyfriend Michael is particularly cartoony) before that, and almost everything that wasn't specifically related to the central mystery felt underdeveloped. Still, the mystery part is well-plotted and structured, and the twist is a good one--and even delivers on the shock/recoil factor even if you'd been paying attention ahead of time and anticipated what was going to happen. That, and its untraditional ending, are enough to bump up this book's rating considerably in my eyes.

You might enjoy this if you liked certain elements of Fury and Complicit, though again, the writing style is a far cry from those. I did like that the author doesn't pull punches , though.

Maybe a bit more of a review to come. A promising debut.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,676 followers
February 15, 2021

Re : Damage Done fail

Damage Done presents as a psychological thriller following on the success of Gone Girl (which I haven't read yet, I trust other readers on this), Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys (which I loved). It starts quite well with an unreliable narrator, Lucy, who's afraid her family's past is about to explode in her face. Her family's past being her brother shooting eleven students in their former high-school. Now that's a prime example of a shitty family history, isn't it? But we'll come back to that. At first glance, it seems like something I would devour with delight : an unreliable and manipulative main character, a mystery to unravel, trust issues... What not to love? Sadly, many things.

True Fact : If a romance isn't working, it's not working.

What about the romance, you're asking? Well, I thought the romance was TERRIBLE. Terrible, as in :
1) No chemistry, as in "I never felt ANYTHING"
2) Cheesy lines which sound hollow
3) Overused scenes (the cooking, the gentlemanly behavior, blabla, blablabla, and blablabla...)

Meet Michael, the love interest. Who? *frowns* I'm serious, WHO? Haha just kidding. Almost. To say that I found him bland and completely uninteresting would be an understatement. Indeed I never ever felt something towards him - he didn't annoy me, nah. But then, to me he brought nothing to the story, and never managed to make me care about him - I mean it, he could have been morphed into a golden retriever for all I care. Oh, but wait! He did!

"He was basically a golden retriever in human form : big, sweet, earnest, and a little bit dumb."

Okay, kidding, kidding. So true though. So true.

I want to digress here, because I need to talk about the cooking scene. Talk about missing parents and unrealistic scenes. Here's how it went : The guy shows up at her house and literally cooks her an omelet and then they eat and her mother is upstairs BUT never realizes that a guy is in her house making dinner. SO FUCKING WEIRD.

Michael : Hey! I saw you wasn't well earlier at the bar so I thought it would be nice to bring you ice-cream.
Lucy : Hmm yes well that's adorable but you shouldn't have, I'm making dinner right now

Michael : *Enters the house* What? (Looks at the sandwich she made) Is it your dinner? That's decided, I'm making dinner for you.
Lucy : Sure!
Anna : Ugh no I mean we don't really know each other and my mum is upstairs so well, no.

Michael : Lalalalala I'm a great cook and I'm making an omelet!
Lucy : Wow. How efficient.
Anna : No, really, that's weird. I mean, no, don't go in there.

Anna's mum : Chérie? What's this noise? Who's this guy I never met and you never talked about and what is he doing in our kitchen making dinner?
Lucy's mum : zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzz

To sum up, I never bought Lucy and Michael "love" story - not for one second, and to me it was useless as their relationship could have been switched to friendship without never impacting the storyline.

Moreover, I know that they're supposed to have "known" each others for several months (and by "known" I mean that they talked 4 times to each others in class (No kidding. Michael counted), but to me the romance spread strong instalovish vibes : if I can understand why Lucy decides to get closer to Michael I have NO idea what brings him to want her. No. Fucking. Idea. Oh, except she's hot or something.

True Fact : These books that make you think you should have worked for the FBI, because you're clever like that (I'm not really) (that's the point).

Let's clear the air right away : it is a thriller, so I know I wouldn't have minded the screwed-up romance if the mystery delivered. In my opinion, It didn't. Here's the thing : if you want us to be shocked by a twist, don't make it obvious to guess from 25 fucking %. Indeed I have to admit that I found the thriller part of the book captivating at first, and more Ryan and Lucy's relationship unraveled, more I wanted to learn more, until, well, until I guessed most of the ending "shocking twists" about 25%. Although I do have a soft spot for intricate stories where characters are definitely unlikeable and original, the fact is, if you want me to believe in a character's way to tell her story, if I'm meant to trust her, don't make it obvious . Just saying.

That's why while at the beginning I appreciated the way Lucy was giving away clues at random moments, putting my brain in high gear every fucking time, I quickly reached a point where I wanted to scream STOOOP!! DON'T TELL ME!

Because hey! I was kidding earlier. I'm not that clever, and in my opinion I shouldn't have guessed, because if I don't mind predictability in romance, in thrillers it quite ruins the point, doesn't it?

True Fact : THIS? This is not believable.

Frankly, if I'm okay with little arrangements with the truth, I often couldn't suspend my belief, especially about :

- Spence's journal : What is it with this psychologist, for real? His data entries look like a teenager's diary and I didn't buy his implication in the Vann's family drama.

- Lucy's parents reaction : Your son is a sociopath? I know, ignore your daughter. Okay, I'm not sure about this one - it did bother me, but I guess it could be an understandable reaction, and I might be too harsh here (maybe?)

- The cops are fucking DUMB, even in High Security prisons.

- The whole ending sounded rushed and completely unbelievable to me.

Conclusion : I know I mostly talked about the issues I had with Damage Done here, but as you can infer from my rating (2 means that it was okay, I remind), it wasn't a crappy book by any means. Indeed it was well-written and the premise was interesting. Unfortunately I wasn't near as enthralled as I thought I would be, and ended disappointed : for a book which deals with so strong issues, to feel such a little amount of emotions was disturbing, for crying out loud.

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Books for Young Readers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,269 followers
July 7, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Children's and NetGalley.)

“You have to understand, my brother and I were born hand in hand. As in, we literally had our fingers entwined inside the womb.”

This was an interesting YA mystery story, and the answer as to what had happened was even more messed-up than I guessed!

Julie seemed a bit traumatised by what had happened to her, and once we began to findout what had happened it was clear why. I did think that Julie herself came across as a little odd, but that could have been put down to PTSD.

“What happened in the band room, Julie?”

The storyline in this was about Julie’s new life, and also about her brother (can’t say any more because of spoilers though). I did guess some of the details of what had happened, but I didn’t guess it all as it was even worse than I expected!

“Eleven people died,” I said. “One was my boyfriend. One was my best friend. One was my teacher.”

There was some romance in this, but it was a bit weird, and wasn’t the sort of thing you could enjoy, as it was very controversial.

“You sound just like your brother.”

The ending to this was okay, and overall the story was okay, I would have liked a faster pace though.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,634 reviews448 followers
July 9, 2015
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I am a little surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this book! I have to admit that I went into this book with rather low expectations so the fact that this turned out to be really good makes me very happy. The more I read of the story the more I was hooked. I had to leave for work with only 4 chapters of the book left to read and I found myself sneaking peeks all day until I finished. This is not my normal behavior but I just had to know how this book would end. I couldn't get this book out of my mind until I read the very last word. Very few books are that hard for me to put down and I appreciate the ones capture my attention like this one did.

I did guess some of the major twists in this book but I never felt confident that I had it figured out. I felt compelled to keep turning pages to see if my guess was right and sometimes it was. There was a whole lot in this story that I never expected to see and there was enough unpredictability to really keep things interesting. I think that the manner in which everything was revealed really kept the story suspenseful until the very end.

I found the characters to be really interesting. Lucy, also known as Julia, was probably one of the most interesting characters that I have read in quite some time. The story is told from her point of view and it is that storytelling that held my attention. Her friends, Michael and Alane, were the perfect support system for Lucy. I didn't really relate to any of the characters or find them to be very likeable but I also didn't dislike any of them. I think that all of the characters fit perfectly into this little story just as they are.

I thought that the pacing of this story was near perfect. The plot never hit a slow point. There was just enough information given as the story progressed to raise more questions. The more I learned the more I felt I needed to know. I really liked this author's writing style and found this to be a very easy to read book.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This is a YA novel but it is a little darker than usual book in this genre. It does deal with violence including a school shooting so it may not be the right book for some younger teen readers. This is Amanda Panitch's debut novel and I can't wait to see what else she comes up with in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Profile Image for Marla Mei.
537 reviews292 followers
July 27, 2015
This review is also posted at Her Book Thoughts! (Oh, did I forget to mention? Yes, I just recently became one of the new co-bloggers at Her Book Thoughts! and will also be posting my reviews there from now on.)

Early praises for this book were very positive and it was even dubbed as the ‘Gillian Flynn for the YA set.’ I've never read any Gillian Flynn but I know how highly praised and raved her books are so I wouldn’t go so far as to calling it that. Because honestly, Damage Done is mediocre at its best. True, it was a fast and extremely compelling read but only because I was itching to know the truth.

The narrator is such a liar and it was obvious from the start how skilled she is at it. It made me think how much lying she’s done already in her life as Julia Vann before she became Lucy Black because she’s so good. Who wouldn’t be fascinated with sifting the truth from all those lies especially when every word that she’s spewing out of her mouth could probably be all pure lies? Never for one second did ever I let my guard down and trusted Julia/Lucy. And for that, I have the author to thank for not pulling any punches in making her as calculating and unreliable as she is. I loved it. For most of the time, I enjoyed being inside her thoughts.

I said most of the time because there were times when I just couldn’t care. It was easy for me to lose focus on what I was reading especially when the scenes became way too unbelievable and stupid for me. One scene in particular is the one where Lucy entered a highly secured prison by posing as one of the officers without even getting noticed. Okaaay. I couldn’t get my head around of this ever happening in real life. There were a lot more of the same unrealistic scenes that made me scrunch my eyebrows one too many times but I’d be spoiling already so just go ahead and see for yourself.

I guess if the entirety of the book was as stimulating as those last remaining chapters, perhaps I would’ve cared more. I was actually really thankful that the author kept giving away clues – even though it made the twist less shocking when it came to the final reveal – because if I wasn’t too busy connecting them, I was mostly just detached.

In spite of everything said above, Damage Done is a promising debut that will satiate anyone looking for a carefully-plotted psychological thriller starring a completely untrustworthy narrator that will make you question people (this is why I have trust issues!!!) and I can see now why many people have enjoyed this despite my lack of strong feelings towards it.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews363 followers
July 20, 2015
Brace yourself because this review might be all over the place only because my thoughts are as well.

How did I feel about this crazy messed up read? At times upset at the parents, confused about Ryan and Julia's relationship, and other times mad at the psychologist who was obsessed with getting into the BAU instead of the actual case. And other times, completely enthralled with the story and wondering what possible messed up twist was coming, because I knew it was coming, it was only a matter of when and how.

So how did I feel about this story? I think it is safe to say, I felt a little bit of everything.

This is definitely one that you don't want to miss out on if you love something that will completely mess with your mind and throw you for a loop. It was one crazy ride that I'm not sorry I took, no matter how twisted it ended up being.

I really did enjoy this and of course, was disgusted with it as well. I saw many things coming but there were quite a few I didn't and I loved that. Overall, it was hard not to be caught up in the mystery, intrigue, and the characters themselves. It was hard not to be fascinated, sort of like a train wreck you can't resist sneaking a peek at and then feeling sick over by the time you go by but still somewhat glad you looked and satiated your curiosity.

*A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Nikka | adventuresofnikka.
103 reviews223 followers
August 30, 2022
I received an advance digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ― thanks!

Read an ARC here

Wow. That was one hell of a ride.

I couldn't even begin to explain how this book made me feel. I'm out of words. But I'll try, it's the least I can do.

Julia and Ryan Vann are twins.
Once upon a time, 11 people died in the band room.
Ryan was responsible.
Julia was in the band room.
She's the only one who got out alive.
Now "Lucy Black", Julia and her parents moved to the other side of the country to leave their past behind.
But it wouldn't stop haunting them.

I was only a few chapters in, but I knew I was in for something great. The plot sounds crazy, the characters are intriguing, and the voice of Julia Vann ― Lucy Black, whatever ― is so real, you could feel her narrating TO you and not FOR you. Does that make sense?

The best part of this book is Julia.
Not Michael the ridiculously hot swimmer boyfriend.
Not Alane the most supportive best friend in the world.
Not Ryan the twin brother slash murderer.

It's Julia.

In the beginning chapters of the book, you'd feel nothing but sympathy for Julia. What a strong young girl she is, right? But as you read on, you'd notice how creepy she's become or how creepy she's always been and you start to doubt her as well as your own judgment.

I stayed up until 3AM to finish this book and I was literally too paranoid to sleep. IT'S SO GOOD.

Julia is the most unreliable yet convincing narrator I've encountered so far. She's so sketchy! It's as though she'd put a leash on my neck, yanks it, and tells me "No" every time I think bad of her and, on the other hand, kisses me on the nose, feeds me my favourite food, and tells me "Yes, good girl!" when I do otherwise.

Yes, Amanda Panitch is one good storyteller. And yes, the narrator is that strong and creepy.

I did predict some parts of the ending but that didn't affect my reading experience.

Disturbing, intriguing, and twisted—the story of Julia and Ryan Vann is just one of the many examples of things that people are capable of when they lack parental guidance. It's very obvious throughout the story that their parents weren't as involved as parents should be.

Towards the ending, Julia kept questioning her feelings. Was that love? Was this love? How do you know you love someone? I don't know what love is. It's as though she never experienced being loved. And although I knew she was hiding something, I couldn't help but root for her.

I really really enjoyed this book.
It's fucked up, but beautifully.
Beautifully fucked up.


Recommend if you like
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews918 followers
September 9, 2015
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

‘I only did what I did to protect myself. I didn’t have any other options.’

Julia Vann had the seemingly perfect life before the incident. She belonged to a happy family, had a twin brother she was incredibly close to, close friends, and a boyfriend she thinks she could love. The incident took that all away and left her and her family packing up their belongings to move to a new town with new names where nobody knows who they are. Lucy Black has a chance to start over, to start fresh, but her past proves to be a bit more inescapable than she thought.

Julia/Lucy was a very surprising character and her first-person narrative which carefully entwines the past and present was written extremely well. She was quite a distorted character that at first appears to be like any normal teenager, but the subtle glimpses that begin to leak through her façade tells a whole other story. Was it the incident that transformed her or does her past provide the real answers? The side characters weren’t as impressive: the dutiful boyfriend that comes over to make her homemade soup when she isn’t feeling well, the devoted best friend that asks no questions, and even the absent parents that we see very little of. The legal technicalities did manage to raise some eyebrows as well, however, despite these issues that could have brought down the whole story, Panitch still impressed me with an incredibly riveting tale.

Damage Done is quite the twisted mystery and the summary does little to prepare you for what’s in store. I think it’s best kept that way, seeing as the reveal was quite the impressive twist, even if it was foreshadowed early on. The first twist isn’t the only twist though and this is one engrossing mystery that will keep you speculating. Panitch has another YA psychological thriller coming up in 2016, Never Missing, Never Found that will most certainly be on my TBR.

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,293 followers
April 20, 2017
I don't even want to say anything about this book because it's one of those you just need to read for yourself, but I read it when it was still in manuscript form and Oh. My. God. You could not pry my Kindle from my hands with a crowbar while I was devouring it. If you love psychological thrillers, you need this book like you don't even know.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,868 followers
July 22, 2015

Damage Done is one of those books that push us far outside our comfort zones, making us feel confused, scared and completely disgusted. It was a considerable feat for Amanda Panitch and a huge risk to take for a debut novel, but being courageous enough to stretch the boundaries or even erase them altogether can certainly pay off, and it did.

We meet Julia Vann as she’s getting accustomed to her new life, in a new city and under a different name. Her parents packed up and ran from their past after a horrible crime, mostly for her benefit, and now she’s alone in a new city for the first time in her life, a tabula rasa free to become anything at all.

It’s clear from the start that Lucy/Julia has a lot to hide as she’s very consciously lying and manipulating her way through her new environment. The terrible crime her brother committed might be a looming shadow over her life, but her exact role in it remains unclear until the end. Through her eyes, as she slowly reveals her past to us, we see the development of a sociopath, feared by everyone but herself. While it’s clear that people can be born evil, it’s also quite obvious that nothing is ever that simple. Even those born with something essential missing can be changed by their environment, if those around them are interested or caring enough to actually get involved. Damage Done is a psychological thriller first, but at the same time, it’s a critique of parents, the school system and even, to a degree, mental health professionals, who can become so absorbed in their own problems that they completely miss the warning signs of those they’re responsible for.

Damage Done works hard to shock and astonish and it succeeds to a degree. It would probably work best for someone who’d go into it blindly, unaware of the many comparisons to Gillian Flynn and other similar thrillers. But even aware that something is coming, I couldn’t have possibly guessed the full extent of it or how unsettling it would all be.

For all the attention it gave to its protagonist, the book painfully neglected the secondary characters, leaving them unexplored, unexplained and completely two-dimensional, starting with Julia’s parents and ending with her new boyfriend Michael. Such lack of serious characterization should not have happened in what is essentially a psychological thriller, where everything is, and should be, about the characters.

Overall, Damage Done is disconcerting and scary as hell, but it’s a much needed breath of fresh air in YA fiction. I’m still reeling from the effect it had on me, and although uncomfortable, it makes for a nice change after all the lukewarm, forgettable reads.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,670 reviews701 followers
June 27, 2015
Wow. Wow. Wow. This was amazing.

I really liked Lucy. Being in her head was captivating and I was hooked within the first few pages of starting. She had great friends in Alane and Michael and the dynamic of the friendship was interesting to see as things started to get revealed.

I refuse to say anything about what the plot is about. I had 3 different theories while reading and none of them were correct. And when I finally got the truth of everything, I was blown away.

The subject matter definitely isn't for everyone, but it was some of the best mindfuckery I've read in a while.

**Huge thanks to Random House and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,150 reviews1,290 followers
February 21, 2020
Full Review on The Candid Cover

Amanda Panitch has created an incredibly fast-paced thriller in Damage Done. One of my favourite reads in 2015, this book is going to be a sure fire hit! With its mysterious plot, perfect protagonist and amazing attention to detail, readers will be furiously flipping pages to find out what happens next.

Damage Done tells the story of Lucy Black, formerly Julia Vann. Though the summary may make the book sound nothing like a thriller, trust me, this book will blow your mind. Honestly, nothing else can be said about the plot of the book because it might spoil the super intense ending that left me processing the events for days!

Lucy is an amazing narrator for Damage Done. She is unpredictable and clever, keeping the reader on their toes. Lucy also tends to make good choices about her actions, preventing the reader from potentially closing the book. She will lead the reader to dangerous locations, hide her schemes from them until they are carried out, and twist the plot repeatedly.

An interesting component to Damage Done is the amount of backstory given. Whenever the characters discuss an event unknown to the reader, Panitch provides information through various flashbacks. She has used them in the perfect way, feeding readers information through Lucy’s memories. This writing technique works so well for this book!

Damage Done is an awesome mystery that will keep readers constantly guessing with its well written plot, amazing main character and its use of flashbacks. Fans of We Were Liars should definitely read Damage Done. The plot is not similar, but the format is almost identical, with the major plot twist at the end. It is truly unforgettable and will leave readers digesting its contents long after reading.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
August 27, 2015
Damage Done is chilling. Twins Julia and Ryan share a bond and even as children, becoming each others shoulder to lean on and source of strength as they age. Their relationship seemingly goes beyond the realm of twin or sibling even, with even their peers questioning how healthy their bond truly is. So Julia begins pulling away, dating and sharing her life usually reserved for Ryan and Ryan only. But Ryan's issues begun long before their teens, as a child he was vengeful and violent, taking his frustration out on animals, eventually leading to putting other children in harms way. But not Julia. Never Julia.

My brother was not kind to the people who'd wronged me.

Ryan maybe have been officially diagnosed with Conduct Disorder, but Julia's character was horrid. She was abrasive and likened popular boy and love interest Micheal to reminding her of her brother, leaving no doubt as to the closeness of their sibling relationship. Her past experience with the shootings led her to be incredibly paranoid and an unreliable narrator, with a storyline that are told in the present, while providing memories scattered throughout. It was deliciously intense in it's pacing and I enjoyed seeing the story handed to me in snippets to piece together.

The only major flaw I found was how predictable it seemed. The romance would have been more plausible had love interest Michael been acting on lust, rather than love. He seemed to form a connection with her based on appearance, and when he did question her, he allowed himself to be silenced with kisses. Julia is a liar and it's clear she uses her own brand of manipulation to lure others into her web. I'm fairly certain readers will predict the big reveal long before the final few chapters, but in no way does it detract from how sinister this storyline truly is.

Damage Done will appeal to lovers of psychological young adult thrillers, who enjoy the unreliable narration of a disturbed and toxic character. Am incredible debut that lures you into the storyline and despite it's predictability, will seize your attention until the final page.
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,311 followers
October 18, 2017
Julia Vann's name is now Lucy Black. She and her parents made a new start, they needed it. Nobody knows who Lucy really is and finally she's starting to have a normal life again. She has a best friend, she meets a guy she really likes who becomes her boyfriend and nobody at school is angry at her. Julia's twin brother has killed a lot of people at their old school, he shot them in cold blood. Julia was the only one who walked out alive, but she doesn't remember what really happened. She's told the police that she's lost her memories of the incident.

Lucy is lucky. She has a wonderful best friend who does everything for her and the same goes for her boyfriend. He loves her very much and he stands by her whenever she asks him to. Even if that means breaking some rules or doing something that goes against what he's been taught. Lucy's new life is almost great, until someone from her past manages to find her. He watches her and there's something he needs to tell her. Julia thought that when she became Lucy she could erase her past, but now it's back to haunt her...

Damage Done is a gripping thriller about a girl who has lost everything and everyone. She tries to feel things, but it isn't easy. With the help of two great people Lucy is starting to feel better about herself again. Of course I wanted to know what really happened on that awful day. Julia's twin brother had psychopathic tendencies and was seeing a psychologist because of it. They were close, so Julia misses him. He's done something terrible, but she still loves her brother. I didn't know what to think of that. The story made me feel uneasy, I knew something wasn't right. When the truth finally comes out I was disgusted, especially because of a scene in a car which made me sick to my stomach. I'm not sure I'd recommend this book to teenagers, as it's quite horrible. It made me feel all sorts of things though and Amanda Panitch has done a great job with the writing. She has written a really good and gripping book, but it's also absolutely awful.
349 reviews173 followers
August 3, 2015
First things first: This isn’t a bad book at all. It’s quite readable, highly entertaining, and if you ignore all the issues (Imma get to that) 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.

*I was provided a free ecopy of this book in exchange of an honest review. This did not in any way, however, influence the content of this review.*

Profile Image for Tez.
831 reviews217 followers
January 31, 2016
The publisher's summary for this book is rather vague, probably because this could've easily been brushed aside as "just another school shooting book". But that event takes place BEFORE this story starts. Julia has a new name, and lives in a new town, but when she notices someone following her, her past life isn't in the past for long.

Fewer than 300 pages, Damage Done is a short, snappy suspense with plenty of twists and turns. You'll immediately want to re-read it after completion. This psychological thriller is a winner, and I'm keen to read more from Amanda Panitch.
Profile Image for Allison.
843 reviews58 followers
December 31, 2015
Okay. When I went into this book, the only thing that I knew about it was what the Goodreads summary said. Perhaps that was my first mistake.

This is not a spoiler, really, because you find out within the first few pages, so I'm not going to tag it (I will for all of the other plotty discussion), but this book deals with a school shooting. This is where my dislike of this book first started to show. School/mass shootings are one of my biggest anxiety points, to the point where I have nightmares about them and, before I graduated, I would sit in class on campus wondering where I would go if someone came in with a gun. Maybe I shouldn't have continued to read this book once I knew it would be dealing with a shooting but, I thought, maybe it would touch on some important topics about them in a way that shows how they affect the families of shooters. It didn't. I will talk about that more in spoiler tags down below. Moving on.

This book had entirely too much going on. If all of the subplots had been cut down, if there had only been focus on one or two things, this book would have been okay. But it had to be a thriller instead of just a contemporary romance and that changes things. Here is a list of plotty details that made me laugh, cringe, or just roll my eyes:

The romance in this book was laughable.

You know the theme song for Full House? "Whatever happened to predictability?" It's here. In this book. I can only be told that something happened in the band room so many times before realizing that what everyone thinks happened is not what actually happened.

Lucy/Julia's personality changed in an instant.

Her brother killed eleven people in the band room, but she can't tell anyone what happened because she can't remember those 22 minutes. How many times do you have to read that before you think that isn't what actually happened. Answer: like two times.

I think that about covers it. I can't believe I went this whole time without mentioning how completely ridiculous Spence's journal entries were. He needs to get his credentials taken away ().

The writing was decent. There were some good moments, some good suspense, but I just had everything figured out that nothing really took me by surprise.
Profile Image for Katie.
121 reviews3 followers
July 12, 2015
I see quite a few other people have enjoyed the book so I have hidden my review because it contains spoilers. I don't want to ruin things for people who would like the book but there is no way for me to explain my rating without revealing plot points.

Profile Image for Nikki S.
1,389 reviews65 followers
November 9, 2015
COMPLETE. TOTAL. MIND. FUCK. Was this really a debut? Real review to come. (Real rating 4.5 because I guessed whodunit.)

Honestly, I wasn't prepared for this book. My initial thoughts upon finishing this were to write "Holy. Ish." as the review and leave it that way because OMG. But I had to pull myself together because I need everyone to know about this book and read it and love it and love it some more like I did.
Before the moments that changed her life, Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, a best friend... Everything she needed to be complete as a teen girl. But then afterwards, she had to start completely over... Without any of those things. In a place where no one knows her. Until someone who does begins starts showing up in her life all over again.....
After I finished this, I was stunned. I won't go into plot to avoid spoilers, but I WILL say, this is another thriller where nothing is the way you thought it would be. In other words, the mystery was AMAZING. But with me being someone that LOVES thrillers (both on tv and in books) and LOVES trying to guess the motive and whodunit, I was able to catch who the culprit was. But as for the motive? Yeahhhh I was way off. I don't think anyone will guess the twist here. As far as the plot, there are a few slow moving spots, but those chapters are early on and then ended with more exciting things. It makes the beginning a little boring, but once the book gets started and you start understanding, you will be swept away.
The romance in it was a little unbelievable though. But sense it wasn't the main part in the story, I wasn't too worried about it. There was just so much going on and there were hardly any questions asked. Everything was just done and then thought out later. It made for bad realistic fiction, but made for a great thriller. But even still, I really liked Michael. He was a sweetheart and so protective.
This book starts slow but packs a mean punch at the end. Once you hit the 20% mark, be prepared to finish the book. This page-turner will have you staying up all night but constantly looking over your shoulders.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,430 reviews899 followers
August 2, 2015
This was a pretty good YA thriller. I wasn't incredibly emotionally invested in it, and I did guess the ending early on: This kind of ending seems in fashion in thrillers -- and in YA thrillers -- these days.

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin
Profile Image for Brenda Mckenna.
16 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2014
This is one of the best books I've ever read. It had me questioning all sorts of my assumptions, I loved the characters, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN (well, it was on my computer screen, but you get the idea). If you love psychological mysteries, dark humor, and characters that will haunt you forever, I highly recommend Amanda Panitch's debut!
Profile Image for Beena Khan.
Author 40 books964 followers
September 29, 2021
A fantastic thriller with many twists and turns down the way that I had not expected at all. Recommended for fans of The Ice Twins, and Dangerous Girls.
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,104 reviews436 followers
December 31, 2015
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Wow, just wow. I would like to apologise in advance for this review, as I'll never be able to gush enough over how amazing Damage Done is.

First of all, let me say I wasn't really expecting much from this book. When I saw it on NetGalley a few months ago, it was definitely a case of cover love, and the fact that it was read now sealed the deal. Since then, I have seen an influx of flattering reviews, and knew I needed to read it ASAP. That was, easily, one of the best decisions I've made recently.

As stated in the synopsis, Julia/Lucy had to run from her original life, because her sociopathic brother shot 11 people in her school band room. And to top it all off, she was in the room, and was the sole survivor. Thinking her brother was in a coma after a failed suicide attempt, Lucy, as she is now known, can now relax, and try to resume a normal life. Unfortunately her past soon catches up with her, and everything falls apart.

Considering this was Panitch's debut novel, I am overwhelmed with the depth of her writing. I started this book at approximately 10 am this morning, and it's only 9:30 pm as I'm writing this. Honestly, I could not put down this book. Basically, the only time I've stopped reading was to shower, and eat; other than that, I've had my iPad glued to my hand. All the descriptive language made me feel as if I was actually in the book, and considering how thrilling it was, this wasn't exactly a 'nice' feeling. As every chapter passed by, I was on the edge of my seat for more. The final chapters neigh on killed me, and I was completely thrown by the revelation at the end. Normally I can sort of guess what the plot twist will be, and this was a case that I didn't even want to consider it could be true.

Julia/Lucy was a character you wanted to like, but at the same time there was always something beneath the surface that made you stay away. Her love for Ryan was interesting, and I loved how Panitch dealt with this situation. To be perfectly honest, all the character were fascinating to read about, included the somewhat absentee parents, who I kind of want to blame for some of the sociopathic tendencies present throughout the story. Dr Spence was a wonderful addition to the story, and his interludes from his journal between chapters helped to increase the tension of the action.

I don't even think there's more I can say about this book, other than I am in shock and awe at this book. It was utter perfection, and Panitch should be lauded for her excellent debut. Everyone should get there hands on this book as soon as they can, and I seriously can not wait for more from Panitch - she is an author to keep an eye on, and I'm expecting great things from her in the future.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews160 followers
July 28, 2015
“Damage Done” is a book I expected to enjoy if the description was any indication, but I had no idea just how far beyond my expectations it would go. It’s the perfect blend of mystery, thriller, and to be quite honest, “messed up.”

Julia Vann is living a new life after a horrific crime committed by her twin brother, Ryan. The story is told in her voice, which is very well-written and easy to read. While her circumstances are extraordinary, she is going through many things that are relatable to anyone who has been a teenager: crushes, social cliques, distant parents, and assorted other annoying adults. She’s definitely a narrator that leaves the reader wanting to know more.

The plot is perfectly paced with small flashbacks to the past written in with what is currently happening. To add a bit of an outside view, there are a few notes from Ryan’s psychologist added between some of the chapters. It allows the reader to learn the entire story at a slow pace, or if they prefer playing detective, gives enough clues and room between them for many theories to be developed.

Be warned: The book is quite disturbing and does have graphic violence as well as animal deaths. I believe that none of it was gratuitous in terms of the story and was a necessity in establishing the pattern of a growing sociopath. I can’t say much else without spoilers, but if you’re squeamish this is not the book for you.

I definitely recommend “Damage Done” for all adults and older young adults who like twisted thrillers and mysteries with a good dose of psychology. Please take note of the older above. It isn’t a good choice at all for the younger ya readers.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Abby.
156 reviews42 followers
May 14, 2015
Wow. All I can say is wow. I finished this book cover to cover in one night because I literally could not put it down-- and that rarely happens with me. I cannot go too deeply into the plot of the story, as that may give away some of the thrill of actually reading the book. But, oh my goodness, was it good.

Damage Done follows Julia Vann as she and her family take on secret identities after her twin brother killed 11 of their friends and classmates in the band room and left Julia to live before taking his own life. I cannot go too deeply into the plot of the story, as that may give away some of the thrill of actually reading the book. But, oh my goodness, was it good.

I cannot express in words how wonderful the character development was throughout this novel. I grew so attached to all of the characters-- even the ones I knew I shouldn't like-- as though they were old friends that I could no longer help. And Julia... oh, Julia.

I recommend this book to everyone, despite the genre label of "Young Adult," even if they tend to like more new adult or contemporaries. That being said, beware to young readers or individuals who can be triggered by violence-- this book definitely had moments where I almost had to stop reading to take a minute to breathe.

You would like this if you enjoyed:
-We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
-Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne
-The Impossible Knife of Memory

4.5 stars
*I can't go into detail on why I didn't give it 5 stars because of spoilers!*

Special shoutout to Random House and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel!
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews49 followers
July 21, 2015
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

*3.5 star rating*

I'm always a fan of those novels that deal with shootings and what happened afterwards. Amana Panitch's debut novel, Damage Done, is incredibly written and there's something in it that everyone can fall in love with. Whether you're the one who's completely obsessed with psychological thrillers (ahem, that's me!) or you long for a protagonist who sees beyond the negative points of a person. Julia's character truly shows that it's never too late to catch a killer.

Can I even explain my previous expectations? I had a feeling in my guts that this would be an ultimate new favourite read. The cover intrigued me, the summary left me ready to start the book wherever I was sitting, and I just longed for a kind of read like this. I can tell you that we barely are able to find a mystery like this that's associated with thrill and adrenaline at the same time, together. I adored the concept which Panitch focuses her book on, though the novel as a whole definitely isn't a favourite, or anything close to one.

"Ryan assured me later as I cried that I must have been imagining that glance, because he was my twin, my other half, and he would never do anything to hurt me. I was a female version of him, after all. We shared the same genes. Had been tied together before we were even born." (Hardcover, page 8-9)

What the cover and its catch-phrase tells you is exactly what the book's promotion is trying to tell you. Julia was the lone survivor of the shooting attack which her twin brother, Ryan, created. It was in the music room of her school, and her teacher, best friend and boyfriend all had been killed, with others. Now, Julia keeps her identity as Lucy Black and has moved to a new town to get a fresh start. There, the memories of that very day still haunt her as she tries to see the good in her brother, and believes that he's trying to contact her somehow.

Julia's character frustrated me. I mean, she was the worst part of the novel. Although it does seem nice that she saw the good parts of her killer brother (he also had mental issues which kind of changes the story), she can't just love him. I wouldn't, at least. And please don't call me a bad person. I guess that this is Panitch's way of having readers provoking some thoughts after reading. We try to think about the themes which were introduced throughout the novel and how they may affect us. Loving your brother when he's done that? That wouldn't be something that I could stand up to.

She seemed too gullible and sad all of the time. When she was trying to prove her brother right and the cops wrong, she did it in the weakest way possible—by falling in love. I understand the connection between her and her brother (and for the fact that she didn't get injured, really) because they seemed to do everything together before the incident, but I was like "meh" with the idea of Julia/Lucy trying to keep her thoughts on a positive note while he parents didn't even want to mention the horrifying event ever again. For some people, that fresh start doesn't work at all, just like it didn't for Julia.

The idea of changing your whole identity to stay away from the media and keep your family's secrets burdened was extra cool. I've never read about anything like that before, to tell you the truth. You know, you usually hear about different situations where characters want a fresh start—because their pasts may be so overwhelming. But to me, they did this for a completely different reason. The Vann family is one intelligent family, and it's like they exactly knew what to do when hell broke loose. I was kind of sitting there, smiling when they did the right thing, you know?

"Love, Julia. I paused and stuck the end of the pen in my mouth, considering whether I should scratch out Julia and write Lucy, who was, after all, who I'd been for over a year. I left it as it was. Lucy had never really existed, and she certainly didn't exist anymore." (Hardcover, page 137)

Amanda Vanitch's writing is fabulous. She certainly knows how to intrigue a reader and leave them reading until the book is actually over. And as for a plus, I'm a huge fan of these deep standalones where I can't think about anything else other than the mystery. She spends a huge chunk of time looking over friendship and romance, which went hand in hand with the rest of the novel. For a person who was totally supposed to be depressed, Julia did make some memorable friendships that changed the way she looked at things. She fell in love in her new town, with a guy (whose name I can't even remember, which tells you how much I actually cared) and made a friend who initially looked 'weird.' Yay for that.

Damage Done probably won't stick in my mind for the rest of the year, but it is a great read overall. Julia's lacking of personality kind of disrupted my whole reading experience, but hey, at least I got to take a peek at some nice 2015 debut writing, right? Julia Vann will become: your best book friend or your enemy of the lack of being able to relate to her. For me? A little between both, but that's the damage done to this read.

*A finished copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,634 reviews170 followers
July 20, 2015
I absolutely enjoyed this book, much much more than I thought I would actually.

The story is told from Lucy's point of view, I found Lucy a good character, intriguing and beguiling.

Its a good paced read, nothing left me hanging and or bored, I was quite 'into' this book today and thoroughly enjoying the roads that this author took me down.

I kind of guesses some of the twists, and although I say that, it didn't reflect from the story. I still wanted to carry on reading it because there were plenty happening to keep my attention.

When her brother shoots eleven people in his music room, he saves Julia [Lucy]
Julia is Lucy. You will see why she had to change her name, because of what her brother had done.

She had to move to another town.

Through the book, we know that Lucy wants Ryan to reveal something, but we don't know what.

My thoughts are this:

Its a cleverly related story, lots of plots. I thought it was pretty fast paced to keep my interest, however, some of the events in this story left me saying "what?, that's not believable or that's not right" because some things were just not adding up or acceptable.

I know its fiction, but what I am so fond of saying is, fiction or not, the reader has to believe it happened or its a fairy tale, this is FAR from that, its an awesome book but needs a bit of tweaking in my humble opinion to accept it more.

My thanks goes to Random House Books for Young Readers via Net Galley for my copy and the author of course
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