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Damage Hardcover – October 16, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1st edition (October 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060290994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060290993
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,814,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written in the second-person, Jenkins's (Breaking Boxes) engaging novel depicts a high school senior and football star who is afraid to let anyone know he's depressed and suicidal. Austin Reid's small town life, which involved drinking beer in the back of his pickup and dating pretty girls, now makes him want to "slide down to the floor, lay [his] head down on the white tile and just quit feeling, totally." These vulnerabilities contrast sharply with the cruel drills of his militant football coach, successfully demonstrating just how intolerant male culture can be of weakness. Readers will know that the 17-year-old's present outlook has something to do with losing his father to cancer when he was a child, but they might be confused as to when the depression actually began. Still, Jenkins handles the heavy subject matter sensitively with memorable scenes such as the one in which his mother shares a bittersweet memory from his childhood, or when he finally opens up to the best friend and neighbor who's shown his loyalty and concern all along. Readers will be riveted by the second-person narrative voice, which effectively conveys the hero's distance from himself and others, and the pacing will keep even reluctant readers glued to the book. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-High school senior Austin Reid is a star of the Parkersville Panthers football team and dates the prettiest girl in the school. Everything would seem to be going great for him; yet, at its core, this novel is about Austin's depression. Jenkins brilliantly reveals it with a subtle, deft touch, dropping small clues to the state of the protagonist's mental health throughout the book. The most striking feature of the novel, however, is that it is told in the second person: "Last year, you scored fifteen touchdowns. After each you were so pumped you almost danced off the ground, raising your arms and yelling with the crowd." This unusual technique succeeds, giving the book energy and immediacy. This bold stylistic choice is helped along by dialogue that perfectly captures present-day teen speech patterns and by a skilled rendering of small-town life and the sometimes-brutal world of high school football. Austin's relationship with his girlfriend, Heather, is also handled with skill and subtlety, although some readers may be startled by the graphic descriptions of their sexual relationship. Appropriately, the book's ending is somewhat ambiguous, with Austin just beginning to understand his fragile mental state. A brave, truthful, stylistically stunning young adult novel.

Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

DAMAGE tells it like it is, and in so doing, gives readers a way to understand.
Nancy Werlin
This novel is a great book because Jenkins wrote this story exactly how some students really feel and think.
celloplayer
I'll be sure to read all of her other books; I just hope they're half as good as "Damage".
Meaghan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't know why I picked this book up, but I'm glad I did. This has to be the most intense book I've ever read. Don't let the fact that it's written in second person (y'know, like "You get up and you put on your shoes") scare you off. That only makes you feel like you are right there in Austin's head, looking out. Except Austin is trying to get away from himself, so he has to think of what's happening as happening to someone else, not to him. Lot's of other great characters like Austin's best friend Curtis and his girlfriend Heather who is obsessed with keeping the surface of her life perfect and when she finds out Austin isn't the perfect guy she thought he was, he doesn't fit into her plans. Read this book! I promise you won't be able to put it down.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Meaghan on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Having finished "Damage", I can only conclude that the author must have been severely depressed at one point in her life. Nobody could write about the illness so realistically unless she experienced it herself. I know, because I've been there.
It looks like everything's going for Austin. He's a football star. He's good-looking and has good friends. He just got a beautiful new girlfriend. But Austin has a secret -- he's depressed. So depressed it's difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. He lies there and stares out the window and thinks about suicide. But he's afraid to tell anyone about his problem, not even his girlfriend Heather, whose father killed himself when she was little.
The author never gives a main reason for Austin's depression, which I like, because in my experience depression never has a single cause. You get hints about his dead father, but that's it. Many people might be annoyed by this, but I am not.
I like the ending too: Austin tried to tell Heather his problem, but she freaked out, and he ended up opening up to somebody else who had been concerned for him since the very beginning. You get the feeling that Austin's friend is going to help him, and he'll start rising out of the black pit he's in.
An excellent novel. A. M. Jenkins tells it like is. I'll be sure to read all of her other books; I just hope they're half as good as "Damage".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reading Teacher on December 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a middle school Reading teacher who has read Damage and since you implored parents, teachers and professionals to respond, I am doing so. I realize where you are coming from with some of your concerns, but I feel some of your comments are rather extreme and are broad generalizations. For example, "Parents are to blame for the condition of this world and the youth of today", that is a rather broad statement, one in which you include yourself? Are there not other factors that influence our youth? I wonder whether or not you read the book in its entirety before you judged it and also find it interesting that you state "I'm sure [any other] book by this author [isn't] showing the youth anything but trouble." Have you in fact read any other books by A.M. Jenkins? I think you missed the entire point of Jenkins' book. Nowhere in her book is the message sent that she condones underage drinking, sex or mental depression in teens. As you are the parent of three teens/young adult boys you surely are well aware that Jenkins is merely capturing the tone and language of today's youth. Even the most well-bred, church-going young man is susceptible of sexual thoughts in regards to young woman. This book isn't overtly sexual or graphic. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong, underage drinking and sex occurs on a daily basis. Shielding our youth from discussion about it only makes it that much more desirable or appealing...the "Forbidden Fruit" syndrome. By bringing it out into the open and educating our youth we impower them to make the right desicions for themselves. You said yourself that you had to go through the issues this book discusses yourself the "hard way"; I believe Jenkins hope is that teens will read this and understand that they needn't do it the "hard way"...there are options.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this novel, Austin Reid is the "Pride of the Panthers" on his football team. Ever since his father died of cancer when he was three, he has been secretly suicidal and depressed. He has always been good with the ladies, but now he's finally got the attention of the prettiest girl in town, Heather. Every day after football practice he takes Heather home. But when he starts to wonder about his relationship with his father, things get a little crazy. The cruel drills of his militant football coach don't help either; successfully demonstrating just how intolerant a male can be of weakness. I enjoyed that the book was written in the second person, as it was more interesting that way. I also enjoyed Austin's best friend Curtis, because he knew all along about Heather --- he was good with people. I enjoyed that once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down.
I didn't like that the book didn't really have a main event and it just went on and on about Austin's life. I also didn't like that the book mostly took place in his house or at football practice. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It grasps your mind and you feel like all events are actually taking place in your life. This is a must-read novel.
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