Monday, April 13, 2015

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Source: Library
Pages: 384
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Buy

SummarySamantha 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?

Review: I've heard many great things about Jennifer L. Armentrout, but this is the first of her books that I've read. What drew me in at first was the cover. It looked eerie, unnerving, and all kinds of creepy. So obviously, I had to take a look, and the summary made me want to start reading immediately. 

This book was really interesting for me because it dwells on a few very serious subject matters while simultaneously tackling some seemingly lesser ones. Yet this book really opened my eyes in that while some things may seem superficial or insignificant, oftentimes, they interconnect with the more heavy topics. 

Sam's character was fascinating. Her odd behavior and extreme circumstances left her peers wondering how they should act. The portrayal of her new self and old self had me reeling with interest and confusion. I didn't know how to react to learning about her old self and learning about how drastically different her new self was. Funny how things work though. That confusion is precisely what made me so interested. It just goes to show that no matter what happens, it's never too late to become a better person. And although this isn't exactly what happens in the book, since in Sam's case, it's not exactly a change she had a choice in, her character shows that taking everything that happens in stride and learning more about yourself every step of the way, is something that can be both a rude awakening as well as a pleasant surprise. 

The relationships Sam has had in the past in the platonic, romantic, and family categories were very different compared to the ones that she builds after her memory loss. I really liked how she found new interests and developed new feelings because of her newfound personality. Also, her transformation from a ruthless mean girl to a caring and compassionate human being was really refreshing to read. Seeing Sam develop in every possible aspect is one of the many things that made this book so wonderful.

And the plot... holy smokes. There were so many twists and turns and just, wow. I have to say that when I read, I can sometimes jump to conclusions. During this book, I was reading one thing all the while thinking that so and so did this and so and so did that, and isn't it all just so obvious?! Except obviously I was wrong every single time I assumed something because every single time, something extremely unexpected happened, and well, it's sufficient to say that I was wrong. So completely and cluelessly wrong. And I've got to say that I kind of liked that? I mean, being wrong is one thing, because hopes and expectations have been built up, but in this case, I really enjoyed it... being wrong that is. That's because the reality of what was unraveling in the book hit me even harder and I was just completely blown away from all the amazingness, and I loved it.

Don't Look Back definitely had some hard to like moments, because for me, it's tough to sympathize with mean people. But there were so many amazing finding yourself moments as well, and those definitely outweighed the not as enjoyable parts of the book. Plus, there's so much suspense, drama, action, unexpectedness (the kind that makes you enjoy being wrong of course), and, let's not forget, fantastically crafted creepiness. I'm so glad that I can finally say that I have read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book because wowzers, she does not disappoint. I'm definitely going to be reading this again, because it's so creepy that it's fantastic.

Really enjoyed

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