Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Don't Look Back
by: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
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
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.