Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

June 10, 2014 3 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 18 ★★★

Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer ArmentroutDon't Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 15, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

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?

three-stars

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout is a quick don’t put me down kind of read!  I enjoyed this book and breezed through it.  A whodunnit suspenseful story with EVERYONE being a suspect. Samantha, called Sammy or Sam or Insanity Sam, is found wondering around with complete amnesia. Her best friend, Cassie is also missing. Samantha starts learning about herself, and she doesn’t really love what she is discovering. She has a wonderful boyfriend who she doesn’t feel a connection with, an old friend who she does feel one with, and unsettling memories or possible hallucinations leaking through. Sam is working hard to find out what happened to her, and she grapples with the question of whether she wants to become the girl she was before or stay true to her current inner feelings and maybe have a nicer future.

The nature vs. nurture element in Don’t Look Back is my favorite element of this story.  If you had complete amnesia and were able to start over tabla rasa, what changes would you make? Would you again bow to pressure to conform, or would you allow your inner self to flourish. In this story, Sam is a good girl who acted mean because of outside pressures. After a trauma, everyone goes through a period of soul searching.  Sam is able to do this without any obligations, anger and pressures from the past bubbling up due to her amnesia. Except for a possible killer who doesn’t want her to remember anything, she is desperately trying to figure out why she acted the way she did.  This recreation of her own past is an interesting journey.

Don’t Look Back is a fun read. The characters, places and events are all pretty real feeling.  It is a little over the top with the stratification of the classes, rich vs. poor. But this is absolutely not something I have encountered in my middle class suburbia so it may be absolutely true. It is nice reading about the 1%, anyway.  It is also nice to think that we are basically good inside, and outside pressure is what brings out the worst in us, even murder. As Sam felt nothing for the missing girl Cassie, I too felt nothing towards her except sadness for her family.  Sam’s boyfriend Del, or Del the Dick, is also a conundrum. He seemed to be working so hard to make their relationship work, and it just never made sense. Feeling an instinctual passion for someone, like Sam does for Carson, is a gift and I am glad she appreciated him and his hotness. The good people are angelic in this story (poor), and the bad ones are evil (rich).  There is not much variety, but for a one-off story it is cleaner.  The “wow!” moment was good, and only slightly foreshadowed.  Overall, give it a go!  Reading prom stories makes me nostalgic and a little dreamy, hopefully you feel the same.  I would also call this a girls book.  Sorry guys!

*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

Maggie

Maggie

When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.
Maggie

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18 Responses to “Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout”

  1. Melliane

    Ah yes, I was really curious about this one but when the reviews came up they weren’t really good so I finally passed. I’m sorry it was the same for you. I should though try more Armintrout books because I only read one years ago.
    Melliane recently posted…Aces Wild by Amanda Carlson + GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I’ve only read one Armentrout book, and at the time I wasn’t a huge fan of her writing style, but that was years ago. I could use a good girl’s book. And, it’s about time that I gave this author a second chance. Thanks for the recommendation!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Awaken by Skye MaloneMy Profile

  3. Kirsty-Marie

    The main reason why I wanted to read it in the first place was because of the amnesia, it’s a flytrap to me. See it…have to read it. I wasn’t disappointed with it, I really did love it, and like you said, it’s a don’t put me down read. I loved that you couldn’t trust anyone (even Sam herself), and I didn’t guess who it was, either, so that was a plus. It was just a fun, quick read. So glad you enjoyed it, even if you didn’t love it. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Trust GamesMy Profile

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Haven’t read this one yet but I do like that everyone’s a suspect (which makes it hard for me to figure out because a detective I am not…even with a bunch of clues. I’m pretty useless.). But I’m fascinated with the nature vs. nurture premise. It’s a chicken-or-egg debate for the centuries!
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: TANGLED INNOCENCE by Carrie Ann RyanMy Profile

  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    The nature vs nurture element is what really draws me to this book too. I don’t know why I’m such a sucker for that kind of thing, but I am–whichever Sookie book it was that dealt with an amnesiac Eric Northman was one of my favorites–and I’ll even put up with a bit of OTT class separations for it. And hey, forewarned is forearmed 😉 Great review, Maggie!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: The Queen of the TearlingMy Profile

  6. Kel

    I’ve heard good things about this book, though I’m not a big contemporary reader. Sounds like it raises some interesting issues, though the black and white distinctions between rich and poor and the corresponding good/evil delineations may stretch my suspension of disbelief. Thanks for the great review!