Review Blog

Feb 03 2015

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Disney-Hyperion, 2014. ISBN 9781423175124
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Mystery and suspense. Romance. Samantha is found by the side of the road, scratches over her arms and legs and her clothes torn. When she wakes up in hospital, after having been missing for four days, she discovers that she has lost her memory and that her best friend, Cassie has disappeared. Sam is determined to regain her memory, and she is desperate to find out what has happened to Cassie after her body was recovered from the lake.
Armentrout keeps up the tension and suspense and Sam narrates her story in the first person. Going back to school with no memories of what she was like proves to be a trial for Sam. Was she really as nasty as the mean girls who were supposed to be her friends? What were the secrets that her so called boyfriend Del was keeping from her? Why was she with him when Carson was gorgeous and seemed to understand her so well? But most of all what had happened between her and Cassie. Could she be the person who murdered her?
In Don't look back, Sam has the opportunity to remake the person that she has been. She is given a second chance and can try to be a better person, choosing friends who care for her and a boyfriend who wouldn't hurt her by showing totally inappropriate pictures of her on the internet. She can begin to value people for their actions and not their wealth. However she is stubborn about trying to find who killed Cassie, even though her family and counsellors advise her against putting herself through the agony of reliving what has happened to her.
There are enough twists and turns and unexpected events to keep even the experienced reader of mysteries happy and the narrative flows along smoothly, exposing the characters' flaws and strengths as the pressure builds to a climax. A sex scene and references to sexual activity may make it more suitable for older teens.
Pat Pledger

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