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Sweet Damage: A Novel

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,706 ratings  ·  318 reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of Beautiful Malice comes a captivating novel of psychological suspense about love and friendship, loyalty and betrayal—perfect for readers of S. J. Watson and Lisa Unger.

Tim Ellison feels lucky when he finds a cheap place to rent in his dream location, close to the restaurant where he works as a chef, and even closer to his favori
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Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Bantam (first published April 1st 2013)
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Brittany The spiders on the bed was Lilla, and I do believe the paint in the hallway was her as well. I don't know about the person watching him sleep. It was…moreThe spiders on the bed was Lilla, and I do believe the paint in the hallway was her as well. I don't know about the person watching him sleep. It was very unclear. (less)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,706 ratings  ·  318 reviews


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Sharon
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim Ellison has been staying at his ex- girlfriends house where he's been sleeping on the couch, but clearly it's time for him to move on. Tim has a casual job as a cook at his father's restaurant and when he's not working he's enjoys surfing at Sydney's beaches. So when Tim is told about a cheap room to rent he decides to check it out although he's not expecting it to be much.

Tim is blown away once he arrives at Fairview and can't believe his luck. Fairview is a huge two storey sand
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ALPHAreader
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim Ellison is stuck, and has been for a long time. He was stuck right after high school, aimless and unmotivated. He’s happily stuck working at his dad’s restaurant in Manly, with no particular ambition to get a real job or go to university. And he’s really stuck in his constant spiral with ex-girlfriend, Lilla – they broke up months ago because he lacked ambition, and now he’s sleeping on her couch in the apartment she shares with new boyfriend, Patrick.

Something has to shift, so w
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Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This post also appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

Sweet Damage is the first book I’ve read that explores agoraphobia, a debilitating, traumatising and downright scary anxiety disorder that prevents the sufferer from being in public. Rebecca James captures the sheer horror and immense anxiety that comes with the condition perfectly.

Tim Ellison finds the perfect opportunity to rent a cheap room in a beautiful, old house. Unfortunately, his house mate, Anna Lond
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Brenda
The casual laid back lifestyle that Tim Ellison had adopted since returning from Indonesia to Sydney made him happy – he was only young at not much past twenty years old, so the morning surf at Manly Beach and working for his father in their very popular restaurant were all he needed. He’d been crashed on the couch in his old girlfriend Lilla’s small unit and she was forever at him to get a “real” job and make something of himself. Finally she found him a room to rent, urging him to apply…
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Diane S ☔
Tim's ex-girlfriend Lilla has a strong hold on Tim, he can't seem to completely want her out of his life. Things start to change for Tim when he takes a room in the big old house of Fairview and meets Anna, a young girl who owns the house but has a whole range of mental problems and a terrible grief stemming from a horrible incident in her past.

Many unlikable characters in this one, Lila especially. Tom seems rather blah until the end. Plenty of secrets are revealed,and some are life
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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Sweet Damage is the second novel by Rebecca James. Her first, Beautiful Malice, gained international success for it's chilling story of twisted friendship.

In Sweet Damage, Tim, an easy going, twenty something kitchen hand who has been staying on his ex-girlfriends couch since his return from an overseas trip. When she insists he finds his own space he is thrilled to find an inexpensive room in a large house in the leafy Australian suburb of Fairlight. The only catch is his young, agoraphobic enigmatic
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Melanie
Mini review:

Thank you Allen and Unwin for sending me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.


I guess this just goes to show how much of a wimp I am. I nearly ran to my parent's room because I could hear tiny creaking noises in the floorboard after reading a clearly not so scary scene for everyone else. I. Scare. Easily.

Tim thinks it's a huge stroke of luck when he finds a not only dirt cheap, but also huge expensive house up for sale. However h
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Dale Harcombe
I haven’t read the author’s first book. This is a bit different to what I normally read. That said I found the book extremely readable and an interesting read. What I didn’t find it was, ’chillingly and nail-bitingly suspenseful storytelling’ or one to read with ‘the lights on as the front and back cover promised
Tim can’t believe his luck when he ends up with cheap room for rent in a huge sandstone mansion at Fairlight, only occupied by one other person, the mysterious Anna who does not se
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Rochelle
Real rating - 4.5.

First off, this is being pushed as a YA but I think it would be better classed as new adult. I read a lot of YA and I just felt like the characters, who were around 20, were too mature. To me it had that NA vibe.

Anyway, I loved this book and devoured it in two days. Rebecca James is a fantastic author, she takes you on a suspenseful, spine-tingling ride that will leave you gasping and guessing the whole way through.
I was wondering if this book woul
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Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*This review also appears on the blog Chasm of Books*

There's a lot more to her than she wants to let on. Her bland, robotic persona is some kind of disguise. A protective armour. The real Anna is hiding.



Chilling, thrilling,and undeniably addictive, Sweet Damage is a thriller that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. With a plot expertly woven to reveal the innermost and darkest secrets of the main characters, this story demonstrates that there is often more to an old empty house and its inhabitants/>

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Eleanor
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aussie-new-adult
While not exactly the "thriller" this is touted as (sure a few creepy things happen, but it didn't scare my pants off. Probably a good thing, literally, for you and I), but true to it's namesake, this desirable tome is both sweet and deliciously damaged. Rebecca James writes characters - and the delicate relationships they have with each other so deftly, it's like watching her balance peas on the edge of a knife with one hand while she effortlessly stirs the plot with the other. Her pacing is one of my most ...more
Ashley
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sooo this book started out as a four star, as it moved along it became a three, when it ended it was a solid two maybe even less. I really liked how the author made this book read like a movie script but I hated how at times she played the drama out like we as readers were SUPPOSED to keep up with all the insane bits. She tried to ease us into the weird and creepy things happening at Fairview, but it just fell flat on its face when it could have soared so many times. Each dramatic revelation was ...more
Korey
Jul 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is pretty bad. The pacing is poor (too little happens for 200+ pages and then a bunch of plot points happen too quickly), said plot points are really stupid, and the characters are cardboard and/or deeply obnoxious.

Also, the prose is totally artless. The vocabulary and sentence structure seem pitched at around a 4th grade reading level. There is not one well written phrase in this book. It is just as lame stylistically as it is substantively.

This isn't the type of book I usually read but
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Nomes
I picked up Sweet Damage and was hooked by the second page: gorgeous, evocative writing (in parts reminding me of Kirsty Eagar), an effortlessly likeable Aussie male protag, gothick-y and twisty plot (I did not guess the reveal), above all this book does what it's genre should do best: sucks you in and keeps you up all night. James knows how to plot and how to keep those pages turning. 4am finish for me <3
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

Sweet Damage is a compelling New Adult mystery with a distinctly gothic feel. I was new to Rebecca James' work so the quality of her storytelling took me completely by surprise. She is a master at building suspense to almost unbearable levels and leaving her readers terrified of their own shadows.

In other words, this woman scared the living daylights out of me.

In addition, good male narrators are hard to find, and Tim is far better than most. His voice isn't particularly strong or particularly memorable,
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Elaine
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: twisted
The product description for this book says 400 pages but it reads more like 200, with a story that just races along. The story is set in Manly, and I loved the main character, Tim. He is a bit of a drifter, a surf dude who is quite happy working in the family restaurant and camping out in his ex girlfriend Lilla’s apartment. That is, until she asks him to leave because he is cramping her style with new boyfriend Patrick.

He moves into a house share with timid, mouse like, and very mys
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Kat
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sweet Damage was a dark thriller built upon lies and malice. I didn't become nearly as invested in this story as I did in Beautiful Malice, but I was reminded what a great author Rebecca James is!

The author is so good at creating messed up, complex, and surprising characters. The thrill of the book came from these characters and their secrets and ulterior motives--it got intense when it all came crashing down. Don't expect a lot of actio/>Sweet
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Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
If there is one thing I have come to except from one of Rebecca's reads it is that it will completely mess with my mind and my emotions.

I never know what to think, who to trust, or even what in the world is really going on until the very end.

Her reads are filled with the unexpected, the strange, and it makes you leery, distrustful, and down right anxious to know what will happen next, eagerly turning the pages wanting more and dreading what will be next.

I love that they
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Living Belowtheclouds
Despite being a thriller this is a light book, fast-paced and easy to read.
I enjoyed it.
This was a pleasant surprise and great to read between "heavier" books.
Celeste
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed! review soon :)

This book was originally reviewed on The Book Hookup.

4.5 stars I read this book in one sitting. I couldn’t help but turn each page and wonder what was happening and whether or not Tim was going to be able to draw Anna out of her shell. It seemed like an impossibility at times, but then she would soften and let him in…which drew me in and I couldn’t put this down.

I love characters with baggage, and oh boy, does this heroine have baggage. Wri
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Claudia
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't want to compare Sweet Damage so much to Beautiful Malice so much but I really can't help it when they're of the same genre, same sort of setting and then there's such a vast difference in delivery.
This book is fantastic, no lie, and I (am about to reiterate a very well-used opinion on my half) love Aussie lit, and this was exactly what I look for in my Aussie stuff.
The breakdown:
Character wise, we had Mr main character, Tim, who was your average laid-back, surfer, Aussie bloke from Sydney. He wa
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Sophie Masson
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim Ellison is an amiable and unambitious young man at a loose end, whose gentle-paced days consist of surfing and helping out his father in the family restaurant in Manly. He's been avoiding the question of what to do with his life when his volatile ex-girlfriend Lilla, with whom he's been uncomfortably sharing quarters, turfs him out, and he's offered what looks like an amazing opportunity--a cheap room in a strange, rambling old mansion called Fairview. The mansion's strange but then so is it ...more
Amra Pajalic
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loveozya
I read Rebecca James' debut novel Beautiful Malice and absolutely loved it. I've had her follow up novel Sweet Damage sitting on my shelf for a while because it required a special reading day. I was determined I would read it from cover to cover, and I did, and it was fabulous.

James excels at writing thrillers that are surprising and chilling. Best of all she excels at red herrings so there is this absolutely fabulous moment when you reach the climax and just sigh with satisfaction.
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Emily Mead
My main problems with this book were:
1) It wasn't scary. Like, at all. Most of it just seemed like an NA contemporary.
2) All the answers came in a rush, right at the end. There was no gradual reveal, nothing we could even GUESS. It was just all in one go.

BUT it was great and easy to read writing, and I really liked Tim. And Anna! Anna is lovely once you get to know her.
Lala
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
SPOILER ALERT SUMMARY: scroll to end of Spoiler to not be ...spoiled.

Tim Ellison feels lucky when he finds a cheap place to rent in his dream location, close to the restaurant where he works as a chef, and even closer to his favorite surf spot at Sydney’s popular Manly Beach. But the cavernous house is infused with a sense of foreboding, and his furnished room there comes with a condition: He must look after the mansion’s mysterious owner.

Anna London is withdrawn and frail, a
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Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book was one of those books that builds up slowly and cleverly with the tension and plot, gently pulling you in towards the grand finale. A haunting book strongly focused on the characters that also provided a suitably chilling slightly gothic feel backdrop. An intriguing read.

Tim Ellison feels lucky when he finds a cheap place to rent in his dream location, close to the restaurant where he works as a chef, and even closer to his favorite surf spot at Sydney’s popular Manly Beach. But the
...more
Sabrina
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: something, 2015
Shoutout to Veronika from The Regal Critiques for reviewing this book and therefore encouraging me to pick it up!

This is my second Rebecca James book (I reviewed Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead earlier this year) and I have to say that I am impressed! I should mention that in both cases though, the books haven't been quite as scary or thrilling as their blurbs suggest. I mean, there were some creepy scenes, but nothing "spine tingling".

The characters were really what made the
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Emma
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Beth

Bringing the modern gothic to the YA genre (not for the first time) this twisting and turning novel was a huge surprise, in a good way. It begins slowly, when we meet Tim and nothing much seems to be happening, nothing much seems to matter except he needs to get out of his ex’s house and move on with his life. He finds his new home in Fairview, which turns out to be a brooding, 19th century mansion.
The room in the mansion comes with one precursor though, and it’s
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Melody
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heaveyheavey
Holy hell. Did not expect this book to be so freaking loaded! I can't even tell if the writing was stimulating or if the mentally and emotionally astounding events that transpire are the cause for the immense brain-smush I am experiencing at the moment. I gave this book 5 stars, but it could equally have been 1 star. The characters are described with a lot of precision - which I loved. The love interest, Tim, is definitely attractive, fun, infinitely lovable and kind, but I only started liking t ...more
Cheryl
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-adult, netgalley
I was given this book by Netgalley for my honest opinion.

This is the first book I have read by Rebecca James. I am a fan! As soon as I started reading this book it had me in its clutches. I love Tim. He's a free spirited, caring, honest and best of all good looking surfer guy. He's in love with Lilla, who I had a love hate relationship with. Tim works at his dad's restaurant, he doesn't have much ambition and therefore, not a lot of money so he moves into a rented room in one of the
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Rebecca James is the author of BEAUTIFUL MALICE, SWEET DAMAGE and the forthcoming COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD. She has worked as a waitress, a kitchen designer, an English teacher in both Indonesia and Japan, a barmaid, and (most memorably) a mini-cab telephone-operator in London. Rebecca lives in Canberra, Australia, with her partner and their four sons.
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