Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

Book Title: Damage Done
Author: Amanda Panitch
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
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. . . .

Disclaimer: I received this book from Random House Books For Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

Holy mother of God. This book was beyond my expectations. I started it Tuesday morning and before I knew it, I had read half of the book in one sitting and had been treated to a roller coaster of craziness, only half of which I had guessed ahead of time.

It was the kind of book that I just wanted to forget all of my adult responsibilities and just read. I had to know what happened. I had to know more about Ryan and his twin sister. I had to know the truth because I suspected Julia/Lucy knew more than she was letting on about what had happened.

This book reminded me a lot of Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, both in the writing and in the twists and turns. And I enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed Complicit.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew that since it was a YA thriller, I had to read it. YA thrillers are my jam and books that are total mind-fucks are even more my thing. I love not really knowing what is going on in a book. I love books that keep me guessing all the way though. And this one did that in a really big way.

Sociopathy has always been very fascinating to me, so when I first read the synopsis for this book, I knew her brother had to be a sociopath. It was the only thing that made sense to me. By the time I was only 10% into it, I knew I was going to love this book. It was the kind of crazy that I LOVE. It was the kind of crazy, topsy-turvy ride that makes for an awesome thriller.

I liked Lucy as a character a lot. She was trying to put the past behind her and focus on rebuilding her life. After something like what her brother did, can you really blame her? She surrounded herself with two good people Alane and Michael. Alane was a good friend to her and I could tell that Lucy needed a good friend. She needed someone who wasn’t afraid of her. Michael was a sweet guy, albeit a bit boring for me, but maybe boring is what Lucy needed at the time.

Ryan was captivating and I really wanted to know more about him. More than we already were told through Dr. Spence’s notes. Sidenote: I LOVED Dr. Spence’s notes. It felt like we were getting more of an idea of who these twins were though his notes. It was unique and it worked for me.

There is so much more that I want to talk about, but I can’t because of spoilers. So I’m just going to say that if you love YA thrillers, you need to pick this one up ASAP. I loved this book and I am giving it 5 stars.

Review: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Book Title: Return to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Horror
Series: Book 2 in Dark House duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

Disclaimer: Library book.

I don’t know if you guys remember, but I really enjoyed Welcome to the Dark House so when I heard that it was getting a sequel, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to dive back into this world.

Guys, the wait was so worth it!

They added an element to the story that made it even scarier and I actually loved that. This time, it wasn’t the Nightmare Elf that scared the ever loving hell out of me. It was this mysterious E. W and the boy called Ricky. The origin of these boys took this story down a path that I was not expecting.

I think the thing I was most excited about was that we got to meet Taylor this time around. She had been the girl who had left before things had even really begun. I knew after finishing Welcome to the Dark House, that she probably was important to the story. I was really curious to see what her part was in all of this.

This book was even more terrifying than the first book in this series. I would love to talk about certain things, but I don’t want to spoil you guys, so I’ll just say, READ IT. If you haven’t read the first book, then binge-read both books, one right after the other. If you enjoy horror books, you will not be sorry. 5 stars to this utterly terrifying but at the same time, captivating book.

Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Book Title: Paperweight
Author: Meg Haston
Published Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

Disclaimer #1: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Disclaimer #2: Trigger warnings: Self Harm, Eating Disorders.

Every once and awhile, there’s a book that changes your life. It had been a very long time since this had happened. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It was one of the hardest books I had ever read in my life. It was a book that I know will stay in my mind for a very long time, probably forever.

When we meet Stevie, she is completely against any kind of treatment. It isn’t necessary in her opinion. She plans on ending her own life. She believes that she was responsible for her brother, Josh’s death. She wants to be with Josh again, and she believes that killing herself can absolve her of guilt.

She developed the eating disorder prior to her brother’s death and after her mother walked out on her, Josh and their dad. Yet, it was when Eden came into her life, that things shifted once again. Stevie found Eden intoxicating. Josh also was captivated by her. Stevie feels jealous that Josh and Eden were involved. Stevie develops feelings for Eden, which complicates things between her and Josh.

When first started at the treatment center, she was very against just being there. She looks at the girls who’ve made progress and ridicules them for not having willpower. This was the thing that irked me. I mean I understand why she would think that given where she was in her recovery, but I really didn’t like her in the beginning.

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book, that Stevie really started to grow on me. I liked how she was warming up to Ashlee, Cate and Tegen by the ending. I loved her story arc. It was inspiring and emotional. I wasn’t sure if I would ever end up liking her, but I did end up loving her.

Watching Stevie become more aware of how toxic Eden was, was totally awesome and unexpected. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she came to the realization that Eden never really cared about her and that Eden wan’t good for her in any way. Someone who would not inquire as to how someone was doing, was not a friend. Knowing that Eden hadn’t even asked how Stevie was doing with Josh’s death or even the eating disorder.

I fell in love with this book unexpectedly, but damn this book is so, so important. I cannot wait to own a finished copy of this gorgeous book with great character development. I am giving this book 5 stars and I recommend this book very highly.