Friday, December 5, 2014

Damaged by Amy Reed Review

Title: Damaged
Author: Amy Reed
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

"'...Maybe that's how people get stuck in lives they don't want--assuming that their decisions must be permanent, that there are no do-overs. But what if life is really a series of lives, a series of reinventions? What if the best paths are made up of detours?'"

Kinsey Cole has just lost her best friend, Camille, in a violent, frightening car accident. It doesn't matter that Camille was drunk, nor does it matter that Camille's boyfriend, Hunter, also survived. All that matters is that Kinsey doesn't want to feel anything. Recklessly, she and Hunter decide to run away to San Francisco together, and in the process, realize that running may not be the solution after all.

This book--this book. It just struck me to the heart. Kinsey in particular I felt a kinship with--the young woman lost without her best friend--possibly her only friend. The pacing of this novel was breakneck, but not in the way you'd expect--the transformation of Hunter and Kinsey set the pace. What sold this novel for me was the way the characters were so incredibly raw. Both of them try to deal with Camille's death: Hunter through alcoholism, and Kinsey through desperation and denial. The various characters that the two meet throughout the book are also integral to the growth of Kinsey and Hunter.

 It is a surprisingly tender, and yet brutal, novel that explores the question: When we are lost, how is it that we find our way back? One of the things I love so much about contemporary novels is that they are another sort of escapism, but in almost a bad way, in the way that it is painful. It is unflinching in its stark, yet beautiful, prose, and I loved the way it reminded me of being a teenager, the beautiful and yet frightening idea that the world can be yours, if you only let yourself live. 

But this book wasn't perfect, not totally: At times, Kinsey's denial made the narrative confusing, almost so erratic that it was hard to follow. 

The bottom line: A beautiful, gorgeous book on life, love, and self-discovery. A few little quibbles, but definitely worth checking out for fans of Sarah Dessen.

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