Book Review: Don’t Look Back

Book Review: Don’t Look BackDon't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Published by Disney Electronic Content on 2014-04-15
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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?
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This was quite different from what I’ve read from JLA. Her writing is so solid, so even though it was different, it was still great. The tone was different, the characters were different…this may sound like an obvious thing to most of you, but writing such completely different stories is harder than it sounds. JLA has written an insane amount of books in the past few years; most authors are lucky to get a series or two picked up. All of JLA’s books are distinct and her work spans genres.

 

When Sam wakes up, she has blood on her hands, and she doesn’t remember a thing. Not one. Not even that her name is Sam. Her family and her friends try to help her remember her life, but Sam quickly learns that she was, for lack of a better word, a total bitch. She wants to turn over a new leaf, a decision which her brother and her old friends support. Unfortunately, her supposedly best friend Cassie went missing the same night Sam did, only the police didn’t find her. Now Sam feels like she’s responsible for finding Cassie, and she’s going to do everything she can to get her memories back, no matter how much her new crush Carson (whom she has known forever but has been really horrible to for the past few years) wants to keep the new her around. But he stands by her, willing to help even if she turns back into Regina George when she gets her memories back.

This is a great fun whodunnit. Or completely terrifying. I was reading a review that was saying the villain is obvious. I have to disagree. Maybe I’m just oblivious when I read mysteries, but I was actually surprised by the ending of this book.

Sam’s family plays an important role in this book. Families in YA are usually relegated to parents setting down annoying rules, and the only time they are mentioned is “oh hey, my parents aren’t home, hot boy can come up to my room.” This is not the case in Armentrout’s writing. And this isn’t the only book of hers to be that way. Instead of ignoring families, JLA incorporates them into the plot (since most of us have them and interact with them on a daily basis, this decision makes perfect sense).

 

The love triangle was interesting.

 

I know. I’m usually all “DOWN WITH THE LOVE TRIANGLE”. I think I just fangirl so much over JLA that I feel she can do no wrong.

So this love triangle. Sam’s boyfriend is this annoying guy named Del, who is like, “hey, lets make out and see if that brings back memories”. SURPRISE. It doesn’t. It only makes Sam uncomfortable, but she feels like she owes it to Del to keep trying even though she is a wee bit grossed out.

On the other side of this triangle, you have Carson. Carson, who stands by her and does everything he can to help, no matter what the consequences are, even though she was horrible to him before she lost her memory. Their relationship is sweet; it may start out insta-love ish but it grows into a believable relationship.

I really enjoyed this book. The mystery is great, and the suspense is LITERALLY killing people.

 

If you enjoyed Don’t Look Back, you will probably also like: Ten Tiny Breaths, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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