Friday, 18 April 2014

Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Format: eBook
Pages: 374

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Don't Look Back is so different from any JLA book I've read before! I love mystery/thriller novels, and I was so stoked when I found out Jennifer was writing one. And now I can say that JLA can write literally anything. This was an awesome novel with great characters, and I was quite satisfied with the tension and creepiness I was expecting.

Sam stumbles back into her life with no memories of herself at all. Weird, right? She's diagnosed with amnesia, since she can't remember anything personal about her life at all. She slowly begins to try and piece everything back together, but when cryptic notes start popping up, it's clear someone doesn't want her to remember. But she knows she needs to find out what happened the night she disappeared and what happened to her supposed best friend, Cassie. Though Sam doesn't realize how dangerous digging into her past could be.

Sam is very different from Jennifer's previous protagonists. The signature snark is missing, and the badass attitude as well. But I thought that was a nice change. I found myself really liking Sam. The girl she used to be was a total bitch, and Sam's realizing that as she talks to her family and her 'friends'. But the new Sam is sweet and kind, and impossible to dislike. She also has this stubbornness and raw honesty to her that I really liked.

Carson was Sam's best childhood friend, but in the past couple of years she's been a real bitch to him and they obviously aren't close anymore. But the Sam that returns isn't the Sam that left, and she begins growing close to Carson again. I adore that guy - he's not rich and privileged like Sam and her friends, but he's got a strong and kind heart, and he's always cared for her despite her less-than-pleasant attitude towards him. He's really protective of her, and it's really sweet seeing him show that in the book.

Another character I loved is Scott, Sam's twin brother. They weren't too close before she disappeared, again on account of her being the queen of mean. But he's a great pillar for her to lean on when she comes back. He's not pretentious in any way even though their family's old money could rival that of Tom Buchanan from The Great Gatsby. Scott's also really protective of his sister, and his actions really had me wishing for a brother like him.

The mystery aspect was done really well throughout. Nothing really makes sense until the end, where a lot of things are revealed. I loved that several plot threads of this are unpredictable, including the biggest one, the whodunit. There's a sense of danger infused throughout the book, and that made it all the more riveting.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed - I would have liked a bit more closure with everything, and I still have a couple of unanswered questions. But overall I loved this book, especially Sam and Carson. And I would love to see more YA thriller from Jennifer! Don't Look Back is a can't-miss for all you JLA fans, and also anyone who loves this genre.

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. Arrggh I still haven't gotten to read Half-Blood (I can't even remember if that's the title) by JLA. But I will soon! I want to binge read all her books if I have time. But then again, Don't Look Back is a mystery? Which I didn't know before but really glad I do now. I think I might read this one sooner because it's hard to find a good mystery! Thank you so much for sharing! And I hope you enjoy your Easter. :)


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