by Dave Amaditz &
Welcome to November’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.
This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Amanda Panitch and her novel, Damage Done. Julia Vann’s brother goes on a shooting spree killing everyone in her music class but her. She starts a new school in a new place as Lucy Black. With a fresh start all goes well for a while, but she cannot run from her darkest secrets.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Dave – In this scene, Lucy is talking with her friend, Michael, a boy who has treated her well and one with whom she actually feels she might be able to love. I think the choice of words gives us, as a reader, the idea of the internal struggles that Lucy faces.
I’d enjoy watching him try to make me whole. It wouldn’t work-I was a jigsaw puzzle with a piece long lost under the couch. There’d forever be that empty space in the stretch of blue that might have been a bird or a plane or a bomb.
Marcy – Lucy’s parents assume she would not be interested in pursuing band again given the trauma of her brother’s killing spree in the band room. Her reaction shows her development in the story when she tells them she wants to continue to play in the band.
“Well, as usual, they were wrong. I couldn’t be any more traumatized than I already was. If anything, the band room was a sanctuary. Sure, it had music stands identical to the one I’d hid behind. But it also had music, complicated music that took all my focus to stay on top of. It didn’t give me time to think about anything else.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - I chose this one sentence, this one line that occurred during a conversation with her former psychologist, Dr. Spence, because it was the bombshell I’d been waiting for as a reader, and without spoiling the story I’ll simply say…… Has something to do with her brother, the shooter, who had put a gun to his own head and fired the weapon.
“He said to tell you he loved you.”
Marcy – The narrator is a somewhat unreliable one. Up until this point in the story, the reader assumes that Julia’s (a.k.a – Lucy’s) brother is dead until this powerful chapter ending.
“I had lied to her. I had lied to myself. My brother wasn’t dead.”
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave – I would have to say that Michael is my favorite secondary character. He is such a nice guy and has fallen for Lucy. I worried for him throughout, however, because I was afraid that he would be blinded by his love and do something that would eventually lead to him being hurt, both physically and emotionally.
Marcy - I would have to say that Alane is my favorite character. She is such a great friend to Lucy and cheers her on every step of the way, especially when it comes to encouraging Lucy to talk to Michael like in the line below.
“How do you expect to fall deeply in love and have his babies if you won’t even talk to him?” she said, pouting.
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave – I picked this short segment because I believe it says so much about how Lucy was raised, and how that may or may have not affected how she turned out in later life. Lucy is with her friend Alane, who is comforting her with a massage.
She rubbed circles into my back the way her mother would do. Not my mother, of course, but maybe a different mother, to a different child.
Marcy – Lucy sees Michael as a fixer, but she thinks he can’t fix her.
“I’d enjoy watching him try to make me whole. It wouldn’t work – I was a jigsaw puzzle with a piece long lost under the couch. There’d forever be that empty stretch of blue that might have been a bird or a plane or a bomb.”
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave – Lucy is talking with her friend Michael. She is in band and he is a swimmer. He is waiting for her outside the band room with his eyes closed.
“Did we bore you that badly?”
His eyes flew open. “I was listening,” he said indignantly. “Trying to hear your… um…”
I worked an eyebrow. “This is a clarinet.”
“Exactly. The clarinet is my favorite instrument,” he said.
Marcy – Lucy had dinner with Michael’s family. Michael’s mom is concerned because it’s late.
“You should get home, Lucy,” she said. “I’m sure your parents are worried sick.”
I didn’t say, sure if by worried sick you mean having no idea I’m even gone. “Yeah,” I said instead.
To read more about Amanda Panich and her debut novel, Damage Done, please go to: