Review Detail

Don't Look Back FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 7271
Don't Miss It!
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Liked:
Jennifer L. Armentrout is one of the few super popular YA authors I’d actually never read. Actually, I was a little scared (okay, a lot scared) to try her books, because I wasn’t sure if they would be my thing. Then Don’t Look Back showed up on my doorstep as part of the Summer of Chills marketing campaign. Even though I was doubly skeptical about liking it, since I also am not much of a mystery reader, I decided to give it a try, because why not right? Reading a few chapters won’t hurt me. Turns out, I had a whole lot of fun reading Don’t Look Back. Well, played Disney-Hyperion.

The reason I’m not generally much of a mystery reader is that they tend to be more plot-driven than character-driven. Mystery readers like the whodunit and the howdunit. There’s nothing wrong with being into that, but I happen not to be. Don’t Look Back is definitely character-driven. The plot was highly entertaining to me, but I’m a bit skeptical as to the resolution satisfying people in it for the mystery element, based on the fact that I cackled madly through the ending.

The hook of Don’t Look Back is pretty awesome though. Sam comes to as she’s walking all covered in cuts, and has no memory of anything before that. In the hospital, she’s introduced to parents she doesn’t know and asked about the whereabouts of her best friend, Cassie, who she doesn’t remember. Needless to say, amnesia under such circumstances is overwhelming.

The largest conflict of the book isn’t really the murder mystery so much as the conflict between who Sam was before and who she is now. Sam’s having to deal with the fact that the person she was isn’t someone that the her now would have liked. Sam treated people execrably. Everyone tells Sam that she’s acting more like she did as a child, and opinions are split on whether this is a good thing or not. The reader’s opinion will not be split though; amnesia is clearly the best thing to ever happen to Sam.

What made me such a fan of this book is how many typical YA tropes it not only side-steps but subtly face-punches. There’s a POC love interest (he’s latino), but he never speaks in Spanish. There is one use of “exotic” as a descriptor, but that’s the worst trespass. When one of Sam’s friends from before calls him Española, Sam calls the girl out for not calling him by his name and for being “freaking rude, like, on a disgusting level.” Though Sam used to be just like that girl, the new Sam is the kind of person who calls people out for bullying. She does something similar to defend a girl who one of her former friends called fat. I wanted to high five her constantly.

The other big difference is how slowly the romance progressed. There was definite chemistry, but Sam and Carson were actually fairly logical about jumping into anything. On some levels it was too easy, but I liked that they weren’t totally driven by hormones. When her ex-besties told Sam some rumors, Sam actually confronted him about them, rather than just judging him by slander which might not be true. Also, Carson refused to start anything until Sam dealt with her boyfriend from before the amnesia. She actually takes the time to see if she and Del could have anything, giving her past self a chance.

Throughout everything she’s dealing with, Sam is honest with Carson. She keeps him in the loop. It’s AMAZING. This basically never happens in fiction, with conflict driven by all the things people don’t tell one another. She trusts him enough to tell him she thinks she may be going crazy. She makes some mistakes and jumps to some conclusions, but she’s always up front about things, which I loved about her. Also, I thought it was awesome that she was determined to find the truth, even though she was afraid it would implicate her. The new Sam is such an honest and direct person. It was really refreshing.

What Left Me Wanting More:
The resolution of the mystery.

The Final Verdict:
Don’t Look Back was greatly entertaining and had enough suspense to keep me turning the pages, even if I didn’t love the resolution of the mystery. I’m definitely more curious to check out Armentrout’s other b
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

We are Together
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The power of love and friendship is celebrated in this...
The Order of Time
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
“If you’re into secret societies, time-travel, dangerous artifacts, deadly assassins,...
Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Learn about the life of Thomas Edison in this early...
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A reassuring bedtime story about the special bond between a...
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories: Includes 12 Cozy Stories!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Pete the Cat for 12 groovy, cozy stories perfect...
Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been...
Ty's Travels: All Aboard!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty's Travels: All...
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A stunning non-fiction picture book about the origins of the...
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As in Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" and...
Ghost Wood Song
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)
Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie...
My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The other kids may laugh, but I always feel safe...
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love...
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming story with a message as big as an...
The State of Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Dre and Dean have got my vote!"—Adib Khorram, award-winning...

Latest Member Reviews

We Are Together
 
4.0
"WE ARE TOGETHER is a book about activism and teamwork. In the form of a rhyming poem, the book stresses..."
The Order of Time
 
3.0
"THE ORDER OF TIME by Scott P. Southall is a Middle Grade Sci-Fi Fantasy novel. The story follows two twins,..."
That's Not What Happened
 
4.7
"WHAT I LOVED: There have been countless school shootings in the United States and hundreds if not thousands of..."
Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way
 
5.0
"'Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way,' an I Can Read book by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Gustavo Mazali, is a..."
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
 
4.0
"CUDDLE CLOSE, LITTLE KOALA is a sweet story of the special connection between mother and child. Little Koala is lost..."
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories: Includes 12 Cozy Stories!
 
5.0
"'Pete the Cat 5-Minute Bedtime Stories' by Kimberly and James Dean is an adorable storybook that any lover of children's..."
Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
"RAGE AND RUIN is a fantastic sequel in THE HARBINGER series. Picking up where the first book left off, we..."
Ty's Travels: All Aboard!
 
5.0
"'Ty's Travels: All Aboard!' by Kelly Starling Lyons, pictures by Nina Mata, is an adorable story of Ty and his..."
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
 
5.0
"'Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From' by Patrick Skipworth, illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson, is a creative book that..."
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
"'Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm' by Bella Kuligowska Zucker is an incredibly moving tale of the author's search..."
Ghost Wood Song
 
4.0
"Shady Grove inherited her father's talent to play a fiddler to call the dead. He used a special fiddle to..."
The Path We Take
 
4.5
"'The Path We Take' by Kylie Key shows how the choices we make and the things we think we want..."
Inebriated
 
5.0
"'Inebriated' by Katey Taylor is a hauntingly real look at the power of intoxication, whether it be in the form..."
A Dreadful Dream
 
4.0
"13 is a hard age. Josh experiences so much change in his early teens, he's barely making it. I like..."
Escaping to Freedom
 
5.0
"The story keeps you guessing what'll happen next. The main character is an average 16 year-old. Her world is thrown..."
My Love is All Around
 
4.5
"MY LOVE IS ALL AROUND is a sweet book about love between parent and child and the many ways in..."
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
"I'M NOT A MOUSE! is a cute picture book about nicknames. Olivia's mother always calls her mouse, and she doesn't..."
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
"MY PANDA SWEATER is a lovely book about the way that clothes can affect us. A young girl loves her..."
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
"ONE DAY ON OUR BLUE PLANET... IN THE OUTBACK is a picture book that follows a red kangaroo joey through..."
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
"MRS BIBI'S ELEPHANT is a sweet story about the special place we have in our hearts for our pets. Mrs...."