Hodder Paperbacks – Published April 15th 2014.
What if you had the chance to start again…but only if you promised never to look back? Samantha is popular, rich, and seemed to have it all…until the night she and her best ‘frenemy’ Cassie disappeared and only Sammy resurfaced, with no recollection of who she is or what happened. Sammy’s a stranger in her own life – a life she no longer wants any part of. Losing her memory is a chance to start again. Then Sammy begins receiving mysterious notes warning her about that night, urging her to not look back. But she can’t let it go. As she starts poking around in her past she begins to remember…and something sinister begins to surface.
First off, let me say that I wish I had gotten the other cover. The one with the music box is so much prettier than this one with a picture of Cassie on it. Anyway, don’t judge a book by its cover right? Moving on…
I started this book already knowing ‘whodunnit’ which I thought might impact my enjoyment, thankfully I was wrong. I have never read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout before but I have heard great things through the booktube community. Happily, I was not disappointed with ‘Don’t Look Back’. Even knowing the culprit Armentrout had me on edge whilst reading. She had me suspecting all sorts of people even though I knew it couldn’t possibly be them. Suffice to say, if you didn’t know already, you probably wouldn’t be able to point the finger at one person. The author keeps you guessing.
Usually, I find myself rolling my eyes at any romance in a YA book. However the romance between Sam and Carson was very nicely done. Although at first it seems rushed, you find out later that they have history. There are no corny moments and it’s both believable and sweet.
The reader is kept on edge along with Sam in her journey to discover what has actually happened to her and Cassie. I think the amnesia was very well handled (obviously never having experienced it, I can’t be certain…) with information coming back to Sam in flashbacks and hallucinations, both of which she naturally finds disturbing. The letters were a nice touch and the twist involving them was unexpected and shocking.
My only issue with ‘Don’t Look Back’ is I would have liked to know a little more of Sam’s mothers back-story. I was left wondering what made her so distant as there seemed to be more going on than the fear of what her socialite friends would think. She makes several remarks hinting at her regret at marrying Sam’s father but doesn’t give any information as to why. A little explanation as to why she behaves like she does with Sam would have possibly made her a more likable character.
All in all I think that this thriller is very appropriate to the YA audience it is aimed at. The quality of writing shines through and I was never left wishing the pace would pick up. I would recommend this book to all fans of thrillers but especially if you are new to this particular genre. Armentrouts writing will leave you wanting more and I am eyeing the copy of ‘Cursed’ on my bookshelf as we speak.
I’m going to discuss the book a little more now but if you haven’t read it yet I suggest you stop here.
The twist involving Cassie being Sam’s sister could be guessed pretty early on in the story. When Sam first saw a picture of Cassie and her together, saying something along the lines of ‘we look so similar, we could be sisters’, I guessed it straight away and if that hadn’t given it away then their having matching music boxes certainly would have. Even so, I think this was an excellent addition and helped to explain why Cassie was so intent on having everything that Sam had.
The notes being written by Sam as a way of her subconscious trying to get through to her was genius! I would have sworn that it was Scott as he was one of the only ones with access to her bedroom.
I wouldn’t have suspected her Dad until well towards the end of the novel if I didn’t know it was him to begin with. Although he seemed shady all the way through the book, I didn’t think he was capable of that. I was torn between Scott or Del.
Who did you suspect?