Saturday, July 18, 2015

Damage Done -- Amanda Panitch

Damage Done is a YA mystery novel that proves to me how much has changed since I was a YA.  Back in those days of the early Pleistocene, this book would have been considered not fit for YA consumption, involving as it does mass murder and other equally unsavory activities.  

Lucy Black, the book's narrator, might seem on the outside to be a normal high school student, but she's most certainly not.  Her real name is Julia Vann, and she's living as someone else because her parents have elected to leave her hometown and change their names because of a mass murder in the school band hall.  One of those who was shot was Julia/Lucy's brother.  He shot himself.  Only Julia walked out of the band hall.

So far the story seems rather straightforward, but after this, all bets are off.  Amanda Panitch reveals secrets a bit at a time.  You're never quite sure what will happen next, but you're bound to keep reading to find out.  I can't say anymore about it because that would spoil things.  All I can say is that if Jim Thompson ever wrote a YA novel, this might be something like what he'd write.  The ending leaves room for a sequel.  That would be quite a trick to pull off.


Deb said...

Yeah, there's some really dark YA out there now. Just finished Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT about social breakdown after a massive comet collides with the moon. Although the ending is somewhat upbeat, I understand that further books in the series are a lot darker.

/Glad I'm not a YA today. Perhaps there was something to be said for the Betty Cavana books I read in my youth.

Unknown said...

I must admit that I really liked Henry Gregor Felsen's books when I was a youngster. In the ones I read, people came to bad endings, which I thought at the time was just great. Having seen too many bad endings in real life now, I prefer the sunnier stuff.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Well this one doesn't sound too sunny.

Jackie says: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE is the one she remembers.


Don Coffin said...

I read a lot of William Campbell Gault (did all those guys use all three of their names for a reason? To distinguish themselves from the other Felsens and Gaults writing books aimed at teenage boys? Here's some stuff about Gault I had not known:

"Gault won the 1953 Edgar Award for Best First Novel for his crime fiction novel, Don't Cry for Me (1952).[ He won the Shamus Award for Best P.I. Paperback Original in 1983 for The Cana Diversion and was awarded The Eye in 1984 for Lifetime Achievement, both by The Private Eye Writers of America. In 1991, he was presented Bouchercon's Lifetime Achievement Award." (wikipeda)

Mostly I read Gault's racing books (which, as I grew up in Indianapolis, seems appropriate). I remember almost nothing about any of it at a distance of 50+ years, but I do remember these titles:

Road-Race Rookie
Rough Road to Glory
Speedway Challenge
Sunday's Dust
Thunder Road
Two-Wheeled Thunder

Felsen also wrote a bunch of racing fiction. I remember that I read the following, but nothing beyond the titles:

Hot Rod
Street Rod
Crash Club

Unknown said...

Bill Gault was a great guy, and I've read all his crime novels, some of them more than once. The Henry Gregor Felsen novels you mentioned are the ones I read, and they bring pretty good prices on eBay these days. I think that in at least two of them, things don't end well at all.