A great story, but left me on the fence…
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Mystery
No. of pages: 384
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 truth 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?
This was a quick read. Mysterious. And the type of well written narrative I’ve come to expect from Jennifer L. Armentrout. A welcome change from the long, intimate and angsty titles she also writes.
I’ve been in the middle of three other books for a while, and though they are interesting and I’m enjoying them, my progress was sputtering and needed a novel that I could get through quickly, fast paced, and a story to keep me hooked – ‘Don’t Look Back’ was all that. And thank goodness, staved off the possibility of falling into a reading slump.
I liked the aspect with memory loss, how Sam, our protagonist, was a blank slate and able to re-invent herself, leaving the mean girl she was behind. Her love interest, Carson is also another great excuse to indulge in ‘Don’t Look Back,’ gorgeous, loyal, and a voice of reason.
I was frustrated for much of the book, though, as Sam struggled to fill in the gaps of her missing memories. I’m kind of over the whole I have amnesia plot line. It’s overdone. To compound my dissatisfaction, Sam was a little dumb. She dismissed clues too easily, didn’t push and ask questions, and ignored her instincts most of the time. It was infuriating. I was so close to screaming at the book for her to wake up and do something. So I guess Sam engaged me really well – even if it wasn’t in the best way possible. And to that effect, I did not relate to her all that easily, but I loved the mystery she was trying to puzzle out.
The other thing that irked me is that I had guessed the entire plot very early on in the book. It was like I’d already read a summary somewhere. I don’t know if I picked up on the clues without difficulty, or if the narrative did a poor job at setting up the story, but it was difficult to really immerse myself in the novel when the plot was so glaringly obvious.
But I have a soft spot for Jennifer L. Armentrout. I have fallen in love with so many of her other books. I love her writing style – it has an easy tenor, and she manages to round out the cast members, giving them fantastic back stories. She is an expert at building tension and angst and always has a hunky love interest.
‘Don’t Look Back’ had shades of the television series ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘The Lying Game’ so if you enjoyed those – this will be right up your alley. I’m on the fence if I’d recommend it though. It’s written in a tone for younger audiences, so possibly tweens would get much more out of it than I did.
Overall feeling: pretty good.
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