Welcome to Spotlight Saturday where I shine the spotlight on an Australian book that I think is worth the read. Today I am shining the spotlight on the thrilling ‘Sweet Damage’ by Rebecca James. This is the sixth book I’ve read for the Australian women writers challenge.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I still dream about Anna London’s house. In my dreams it’s as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn’t the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage …’
When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it.
A thrilling rollercoaster of a story – read it with the lights on!
4. 5 out of 5 stars.
First off, this is being pushed as a YA but I think it would be better classed as new adult. I read a lot of YA and I just felt like the characters, who were around 20, were too mature. To me it had that NA vibe.
Anyway, I loved this book and devoured it in two days. Rebecca James is a fantastic author, she takes you on a suspenseful, spine-tingling ride that will leave you gasping and guessing the whole way through.
I was wondering if this book would live up to Beautiful Malice, Rebecca’s first novel that was an international sensation. Beautiful Malice was an outstanding book which I absolutely loved, and Sweet Damage had a lot to live up to. I needn’t have worried, being the brilliant writer that she is, James has written another nail biting hit.
There are plenty of tantalizing twist and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, but it is the characters in this book that really hooked me and reeled me in. Once you meet the anxiety filled, timid, agoraphobic Anna, you will be reading in a desperate rush to find out what her story is, what was so terrible in her past that she turned into the mess she is.
Tim is just coasting through life, enjoying the freedom of working the night shift at his father’s restaurant, surfing during the day, and not worrying about his future. He can’t believe his luck in finding a cheap room in a gigantic house close to work and the beach. He doesn’t care that the rent is so cheap because his landlord and room mate suffers from Agoraphobia and needs him to buy the groceries. Although Anna is hard to communicate with, Tim is kind to her, tries not to be too judgemental, and even tries to help her.
Lilla is Tim’s ex, who he still has feelings for. She has a loud personality and likes all the attention on her self. I didn’t like her, she really got under my skin. Tim can’t seem to let her go, and she is quiet happy to string him along. Lilla doesn’t like Anna, thinks she’s crazy, weak, a spoilt rich girl. Tim becomes defensive of Anna, and when Anna starts showing glimpses of her true self, Tim starts forgetting Lilla and the pain she causes him.
Anna is fragile, broken by her past and imprisoned by her own fears.
I loved Anna, my heart broke for her. I could relate to Anna, and I almost felt protective of her. I loved the development of her character through the book, it was like watching a butterfly emerge out of its chrysalis. I adored the delicate manner in which Tim treated her, even when he suspected her of doing crazy things he was still nice to her. I loved both Anna and Tim and the slow relationship that developed between them.
The book is told from Tim’s point of view, in first person, and I think James has captured the male voice well. There are also chapters weaved through out told from Anna’s POV in 3rd person, which brings a nice balance to the story and really lets you see inside Anna’s head.
You will be rattling your brain trying to guess who is behind the strange incidents that keep occurring at night. You’ll think it is one person, and then second guess that guess. As it got closer to the end I was leaning toward a certain someone, and I was right 🙂
Some parts were downright chilling and had me freaked, listen to the blurb when it says to read it with the lights on. Or if your easily scared, like I am, read it during the day.
Sweet Damage is a thrilling, heart pounding read that you will be unable to put down. I highly recommend it. I would not call myself a fan of the thriller genre but I loved both Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage. I will certainly be reading Rebecca James’ next book.
*This book is for the mature teen and up. It does contain swearing and mild sex scenes.
You can add it to your Goodreads here