Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction
Paperback $9.95 (288 pages, FLUX)
There was a time when I prayed for Rachel to be real—it ended the night she tried to kill me.
When Dani was eight, she fell from a building. No one believed her claim that she was pushed by Rachel, her imaginary friend. It took years of therapy to convince Dani that Rachel was a product of her own mind.
Now fifteen, Dani wants to make it as a dancer. But a deadly freak accident sends her a terrifying message: Rachel is back, she's real, and she'll stop at nothing to kill Dani. Complicating matters is Jesse, the school bad boy who's being stalked by his own invisible childhood monster.
When Dani and Jesse join forces to learn why their tormenters are back, their investigation leads to a horrifying discovery—and the secret that binds them to each other.
Author Site: anyaparrish.com
Homicidal Imaginary Friends? Yes please! (4 stars)
Alright so here's the deal... I can't offer my own special summarization of DAMAGE because if I do I'm going to spoil everything. It's one of those stories that starts throwing exciting possibilities at you from the first few pages. You'll be guessing and guessing and biting your nails waiting to find out if you've got it figured out. Fortunately this means that most of the time the pacing is pretty brisk. Occasionally there are what I think of as talky-breaks, scenes where the characters do an awful lot of trying to decide what to do and I want them to get back to the action but these are really well tempered and suitably timed.
Nothing comes too easily for Dani or Jesse. More than once I thought it was dreadful these kids were being faced with not only a really scary situation to be in but without the resources adults have. It was both frustrating and yet I found that element in its basic form extremely relatable. I think readers who have ever had to make very adult decisions or have been put in situations far beyond their emotional maturity level will agree.
My only issue I had with the storyline is the relationship between Jesse and Dani. While I feel like it suits the targeted teen audience, adult readers might find it a little well... ridiculous. I'm too much of a cynic when it comes to love and the budding romance between these two happens so quickly and is expressed to be at such a deep level I found it just a little eyeroll inducing. Think the sort of romances we see in movies where the hero and heroine escape some serious scary life-or-death situation where it seems like maybe they latched onto one another through a shared tramatic experience, not a true passion for each other. Just my personal take on it.
DAMAGE definitely kept me guessing and more than once made me flinch and cringe with the danger Dani and Jesse face. The concept of Rachel and where/what she stems from will appeal to readers who love dark superhero storylines. I don't want to be at all spoilery but let me just say that if you enjoy Marvel's Runaways or any of the X-Men comics or films this is right up your alley as far as action, adventure, and teens with issues go. I really geek on that kind of thing and think it's an apt comparison.
Overall, aside from the puppy-love not quite being sold on me I really enjoyed DAMAGE. Parrish's writing is reminiscent of some of my favorite YA authors in the paranormal genre. While it's much more of a thriller than a paranormal I think it has great cross-genre appeal. If adult readers can get past the romance in bloom I think many would find the storyline a quick and intense read. I would definitely encourage readers looking for something a little different from the paranormal and dystopian stuff but not straight up contemporary teen fic or pure romance. Will definitely be looking forward to more of Parrish's work in the future.
(if you've reviewed this one let me know!)
Notes: Purchased paperback at Amazon.
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