Sunday, June 1, 2014

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

Name: Don't Look Back
Authors: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Format: ARC copy
Buy the book on Amazon
384 pages

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?


My Review:

I know that summer just started, but I can safely say that this is one of my favorite books of the summer! I usually imagine JLA books as either hardcore New Adult romance (like Wait for You) or paranormal romance (like the Lux series). However, Don't Look Back did not fit into any of those categories; and that was one of my favorite parts about it. For once, the romance aspect of the book was not number one on JLA's to-do list, and while I usually love her romances, I have to say that she can really write a hell of a plot and character driven book that keeps me even more intrigued than her other books have in the past.

I read this book in one sitting; I was completely unable to put it down! I'm not going to say that the plot was predictable, but it wasn't entirely unpredictable, either. I had a few guesses about who-dunnit, and it took some time for me to narrow my predictions down to the one character who actually did do it. That being said, there weren't too many characters in the book to choose from, and so guessing the victim far in advanced wasn't too hard. However, my knowing (or guessing, really) who the real "villain" was took nothing away from my enjoyment of the story. It was a quick paced book and I flipped pages more quickly than I do most books, simply because I genuinely couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Sam post-accident was a truly likable character. Even more impressively, she was a real character: she had faults, obvious ones, but she continually tried to do what she thought was best in every situation possible. I find it a bit hard to believe that post-accident Sam could become so passive and nice when compared with the horrific bully that was pre-accident Sam, but much of her back story as a kid proved that she really did have a nice side to her. In addition to Sam, there were a whole host of characters that I truly enjoyed reading about: Carson, Sam's childhood friend, Del, her rich boyfriend, and Scott, her twin brother. I loved seeing the difference between the interactions of this characters with pre-accident Sam and post-accident Sam, which was mainly shown as Sam recalled old memories and when they first ran into her post-accident.

In general, I thought that this was a really well-crafted story. It reminded me a bit of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, if Oliver included a bit more mystery and suspense. I loved the way Armentrout crafted Sam's life before and after the accident, and I truly enjoyed trying to figure out what would happen next. I found that amnesia element was not only helpful for adding the mystery aspect, but also created a more complex and fascinating main character; after all, nobody can trust the mental stability of an amnesiac, especially the amnesiac herself. I absolutely loved Don't Look Back, and I would highly recommend it to any Young Adult, contemporary, or mystery fan out there!

My Rating:

1 comment:

  1. I've had my eye on this book since it came out. I've never read anything by JLA, but I've heard only amazing things. This book is right up my alley and I think a great place to start reading JLA books. I like your comparison to Oliver's Before I Fall, I thought it was a great book. So, a little of Before I Fall and some mystery I'm totally in. Thanks for the great review!


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