Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Don't Look Back
    by: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed from Vi!
Page Count: 372 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars

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?

 

We all know how awesome Jennifer Armentrout is. The woman can WRITE and she is just so versatile! She can rock so many different genres and while thrillers and mysteries are not typically my favorites, I adored this one. Even though this is a mystery, she still provides just enough romance to make my heart flutter. I loved the way she unraveled this one even though I had my suspect pegged from the beginning.

Pacing: I was immediately pulled in. Jennifer's writing just does that to me though. I am always instantly engaged and find myself devouring her books in a short time span.

Storyline: I really enjoyed the storyline behind this one. Not only do we have a thriller/mystery on our hands, but I like that it is in a young adult setting. Sam is still in high school and that really plays a big role in this story. She cannot remember anything about her life. While that is scary- it actually ends up being a bit of a godsend. Sam was not the nicest person before- ok, she was downright awful to others, but this gave her a second chance at life and discovering who she really was. Things that were once important to her no longer are- she now looks at the bigger picture instead of an egocentric one. So many expectations were placed on her about who she was and who she was supposed to be. Naturally her boyfriend and friends are not happy about the fact that the old Sam is gone and in her place is a girl who is just trying to figure out what happened to her and her best friend Cassie. I also liked how the story unraveled and how Sam is trying to put the fragmented pieces of her memory back together. She needs answers and she can't help but examine and question everything she's told about her former life.

Characters: I liked Sam. I thought she was a great main character, even though I wish she would have cut ties to certain people way sooner than she did. I realize she's still searching for answers and that she feels like cutting those ties would be wrong, considering what she's being told, but still. I wanted her to go with her gut feelings. I liked seeing her embrace her new self. She really does get a clean slate and even though people still harbor hurt feelings over some of her old actions and words, she does feel genuinely sorry about how she treated people. Reality is a cold slap in the face for Sam, as she realizes that her life wasn't as great as certain people made it out to be.

I really loved Carson. Carson is a good friend and fellow teammate of Sam's brother Scott. Carson and Sam used to be inseparable as kids, but once Cassie entered the picture, she really dropped Carson and let their friendship deteriorate and dissolve. You can tell Carson still harbors hurt feelings over that rejection and he is not very friendly to her when she first gets back. Carson is a genuine, good guy and I do love those. He really cares for Sam and wants to be there for her. He doesn't brush her off as crazy, but instead listens to her and I really liked that about him.

I also really liked Sam's brother Scott and his girlfriend Julie. Julie and Sam also used to be friends, but stopped hanging out shortly after Julie and Scott started dating. It's nice to see them rekindle their friendship, as Sam really needs some people in her corner right now.

Sam's so-called 'friends' were absolutely awful. Veronica and Candy were the worst and it's hard to believe Sam used to act the same way they did. They are vapid and shallow and really took the whole mean girls to the extreme. Sam's boyfriend Del wasn't much better. He acts sweet and loving, but you can tell right off he's hiding things.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed Don't Look Back. I loved that it had some romance incorporated in it because the chemistry between Carson and Sam is off the charts. The mystery/thriller aspect of it was engaging and while I figured out who was to blame early on, it still didn't detract from the twists and turns that Armentrout included. I also liked seeing Sam transform into a different person. She is nowhere near the shallow, vapid girl she once was, but now she's gathering the courage to be who she wants and that is really inspiring. I highly recommend picking this one up- Armentrout will captivate you and keep you glued to the pages in anticipation of what's to come.
 

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16 comments

  1. It's odd to me that all the sudden, THIS is the new thing right now in YA. I have been curious to see how Jennifer does with this trope, and by your review, it's apparent she does it well.

    Great review lady :)

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    1. I know! This is the next big thing I guess! It's so not my type of genre, but JLA knocked it out of the park. She adds just enough romance to keep me interested and swooning.

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  2. I seriously LOVED this book! It may be my new favorite of hers just because it is so different from her other reads. Loved Carson and I loved Sam. Great review!

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    1. Yes! I agree! It's definitely a new favorite! Carson was amazing. I want him to be real and every high school girl to be able to have him.

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  3. Yes! Love your review. I agree, even though I liked Sam, I seriously needed her to get a clue faster and she seemed a bit weak/meek to me for much of the book. Loved Carson! This book was still awesome no matter what. Loved it! So glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Yeah, I didn't like that about Sam either. I was like... you don't remember these friends or boyfriend. But you know they're obviously not good. So ditch them! Thank you again chica for letting me have it! <3

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  4. First off Awesome Review! Oooh This reminds me of a different book I read last year and it was good!! JLA is like thebomb.com!!

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    1. Thanks Ria! :D She really is amazing!

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  5. A-MAZING review!! I am sooo freaking excited for this one, because despite being a paranormal reader/lover, I do loooove a good thriller/mystery and this one has all that in spades! Plus it's Jennifer Armentrout!! Sooo can't wait to read this one! Have it preordered and will be getting it Tuesday! Hoping to start it Wednesday since I won't have time to start it once I get home from work.

    But awesome review! All the reviews I've read just keep making me more and more excited for this next epic JLA read!

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    1. Yay! I hope you love it Jess! I don't typically read these, but wow am I glad I got it!

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  6. GAH! I can't wait to meet Carson and Sam and everybody else! I need to know what happens in this book! Thanks for getting me more excited, great review Jessica!!

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    1. Thanks Ally! I hope you love it as much as I did!

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  7. Whoa! It sounds like JLA has written another exciting and character driven story. Awesome review, Jessica! I can't wait to pick up this one!

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    1. Yes! JLA is just... I don't know. How she cranks out these amazing stories in such short periods of time I'll never know....

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  8. AH! I cannot WAIT to read this one! I just love everything about it! And of course, JLA wrote it. SO I know I will love it! And your review definitely has me excited as to what is going on and I do want to meet the characters! Awesome review!

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    1. Eeeeep! I can't wait to read your review Magen! I know you're going to love this to pieces!

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