Don't Look Back [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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Don't Look Back

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Overview

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?
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 7–10—From the very first page, readers are thrust into the mind of confused amnesiac Samantha, who finds herself at the center of the mysterious disappearance of her best friend, Cassie. The protagonist was the last person known to see Cassie alive; the problem is that the teen remembers nothing of their last night together and, for that matter, nothing of her life at all. With the help of her brother and the compelling and handsome Carson Ortiz, Samantha figures out that the old Sam, the one she can't remember, might be one that's worth forgetting. Popular, powerful, and mean, she and her best frenemy Cassie had ruled the school and put down anyone in their path. In the search for someone who would have wanted to cause the two of them harm, she realizes that the list could be a long one. Someone clearly knows things no one else could about that night and leaves threatening notes telling the narrator to stop searching for the truth. Readers are led to wonder if Samantha's gnawing suspicion that she might be the culprit herself is right or perhaps if her developing romance with Carson is really a romance with Cassie's killer. The action-filled plot and the shocking revelation of the murderer's true identity will leave fans of suspense and mystery thoroughly satisfied.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423187738
  • Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Sold by: DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE -EBKS
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 14,137
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 663 KB

Meet the Author

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. When she's not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2014

    OMG All I can say is this book was Amazing!! Make sure you have

    OMG All I can say is this book was Amazing!! Make sure you have a lot of free time before you start reading this book cause you're not going to be able to stop once you start!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2014

    Is there anything Jennifer L Armentrout can't right? Heck no. Do

    Is there anything Jennifer L Armentrout can't right? Heck no. Don't Look Back was AMAZING! Though I don't read a lot of it, I love the YA thriller genre. Also, Jennifer is a book-making machine! She has something like fifteen books coming out this year, two of which I've already read! Don't Look Back was a creepy, fun ride that I couldn't put down!




    The main character is Samantha, Sam for short. She reappears four days after she went missing with no memory, she doesn't even know her own name, but without the girl she disappeared with, her supposed 'best friend' Cassie. Sam learns that before she went missing, she took mean girl to the extreme. Sam realizes that the life she was living before is not one for her, and that she honestly doesn't like who she was before. Sam is a likable character that I wish I could read more of, but I believe this is a standalone. I loved Sam's twin brother Scott. He was simply adorable. It was really interesting seeing Sam reunite with some friends and see the truth about others.




    While I had some suspicions about how it would go down, I was not prepared for the full extent. I had a few guesses about characters that were involved in some way, but whoa! I definitely did NOT see that end coming! Thank Jennifer for an amazing, surprising ending! The writing was very well done. I feel that it could have used a bit more world-building, especially with her brother Scott and friend Julie, but can be forgiving due to the fact that Sam doesn't have her memory to help out the readers. If you haven't already, run out to the store and get this book immediately! It was SO good! Also, I want to note that this is Jennifer's first book in hardback, at least in YA. I give Don't Look Back a fat five stars!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to read Don't Look Back because I love Jennifer Ar


    I wanted to read Don't Look Back because I love Jennifer Armentrout as an author, and pretty much anything YA and NA she writes goes automatically on my wishlist. (I can't speak for adult stuff, since I haven't for whatever reason tried them yet.) While the mystery feel isn't always my favorite as far as genre, I would be intrigued by the synopsis even if it wasn't JLA because the memory loss is always a topic that catches my eye, and especially more so that she wakes up and discovers the life that she lead she didn't much like. I wanted to put together the pieces of what made her change from the Sam she used to be into one that was a mean girl and seemed to contradict her natural sense of how to treat people.
    I got caught up in her story, like her trying to make her and her best friend's disappearance make sense, as well as the obvious different of the Sam that wakes up with no memory of the past and the one who was there before the accident. Her family is super surprised along with her friends and boyfriend at how differently she is looking at life, treating others, and it brings her and her brother Scott closer, as well as his friend Carson. We realize that they have a history together, and there is obvious chemistry and attraction between them. It is the only kind of semi cheating that I can deal with because I never got a good feeling with Del, and it is almost like two different Samanthas.
    I had my suspicions about what happened to Samantha and Cassie, some of them were affirmed by the pieces of memory and also visions that Sam keeps having and others seem to lead me away from my thoughts. But Jennifer always manages to throw in things that I didn't seem coming. Really, she had me suspecting everyone from Sam herself to the mailman (not really, but I think that I suspected everyone in the book at some point.) To have such a confused narrator, everything is thrown into question and with such a personality change, it also ostracized not only herself but the other characters.
    She keeps me so entertained from her snarky wit to her flawed but relatable characters, smoking hot guys that have a deeper level than just the looks and charm, and her fast paced stories. The romance was great and I liked the friendship aspect that they built as children and the complicating factor was the middle time where she was a mean girl.
    The ending took me by surprise but I appreciate that it showed that the truth came out, character growth in Sam, promise of hope in the future for healing, moving on, but still remembering a hurting girl who died too soon.

    Bottom Line: Great mystery from an unreliable narrator. Throw in some humor, hot romance and flashbacks you have this amazing book by Jennifer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Samantha doesn't remember anything about the 4 days she and her

    Samantha doesn't remember anything about the 4 days she and her best friend were missing. In fact she doesn't remember anything at all!! She doesn't know her name nor where she lives. She is told that Cassie is still missing but no matter how hard she tries to remember, she cant. Strangers turn up at the hospital saying they are her parents but she doesn't recognise them. What happened to her and why? 

    One good thing for Sam though is that as she learns what she was like before, she doesn't like what she hears and now has a chance to change. She was a total b**ch before and cant believe how bad she was. She has a second chance at life and tries to grab it but with Cassie missing she cant seem to let it go. As flashes come to her she starts finding notes left for her warning her "Dont look back. You wont like what you find" Who is leaving the notes and is she in danger if her memories are coming back?

    This is my first Jennifer L Armentrout book and it definitely wont be my last!! Her style of writing just about blew me away. She packed so much into the book without it being too much. 

    Samantha was your typical mean little rich girl before the accident. She was spoiled, nasty to everyone and an overall horrible person. When she is found with no memories I loved seeing her real character emerge. She cringed everytime she was told what she was like before and to her, her so called friends are worse. She cant figure out why she was such good friends with Cassie because it seems like both of them were always fighting. I loved the idea that she could start over and this time do it right. I also loved her struggle trying to remember. We are left trying to figure out if Sam is sane or not and if what she is seeing really happened. 

    My favourite character was Carson. With all her other friends acting weird, and her so called boyfriend acting weirder Sam doesn't have anyone to rely on. That is until Carson. They were best friends growing up but once Sam met Cassie all that changed. He went from being her best friend to being the son of the hired help. She gave him such a hard time as the Sam of before!! He was weary at first that Sam was putting the act on but as he realises that she actually cant remember he is there for her fully. He was so sweet and kind and he captured a piece of my heart!! 

    I loved everything about this book! From the very first page I was completely hooked. While I had some things figured out the author still managed to throw a few curve balls that would leave you speechless. This was an absolute rollercoaster and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens! The mystery and suspense was breathtaking and the whole way through you never know whats going to happen. I thought at times I had the bad guy figured out, I had the main suspect right, but with the way the author told the story I was constantly second guessing myself. 

    With amazing characters and an intriguing plot, Dont Look Back was a fantastic, action packed, edge of your seat, breathtaking mystery and Id highly recommend. You will not be sorry!! I think this is one of my favourite reads this year and I will definitely check out more from Jennifer L Armentrout. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    Armentrout is quickly proving to be one of my ¿go-to¿ authors¿ev

    Armentrout is quickly proving to be one of my “go-to” authors—everything I’ve read of hers over the past two months has been riveting, and I’ve really enjoyed them all, Don’t Look Back included.

    I loved the suspense of this novel. Though Amnesia stories seems to be cropping up more and more in the YA genre, I found Don’t Look Back to be different enough that it really sparked my interest… plus, Armentrout is just an all around great writer. I could feel Sam’s fear, disdain, and confusion as I read, and the fact that I was able to connect with her made it all the more fun.

    The characterization was amazing, and I loved watching Sam struggle to fit in, but ultimately deciding against it—choosing to make waves and change for the better instead. I also really liked the mystery involved in the disappearance of Cassie, especially because Armentrout opens up many doors in terms of what might have happened and whether a murder even occurred at all… and I really enjoyed the suspense of it all. I never suspected the ending, though I thought I had it pegged at least three times. Truth be told, I never saw the revelation coming until it was upon me, and by that point I was overwhelmed with tension! You think you know a person…

    If you’re a fan of suspense novels, if you’ve enjoyed any novels that deal with amnesia stories lately, then I think you’ll really love Don’t Look Back. It has just the right amount of creepy and it definitely keeps you guessing, especially in terms of whether or not Sam is truly insane.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    Great and Thrilling

    This book had me constantly guessing and caught me by surprise at the end. I read the whole thing in a matter of hours, great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Armentrout has done it again. Proven she can tackle a completely

    Armentrout has done it again. Proven she can tackle a completely different genre (contemporary mystery) and still manage to make it an addicting, mysterious, head scratch inducing, romantic, and favorite read. I devoured Don’t Look Back in a day because I read it everywhere. I couldn’t guess the mystery and I thought the main protagonist has a really good voice. 
    So Samantha finds herself walking in the middle of the road, the cops stop her, identify her and she finds out she has been missing for some time.. and not just her, but also her best friend. Samantha doesn’t remember a single thing a couple of weeks before her missing period as well as her missing period. We know nothing, and I just found the way the mystery was introduced to be so addicting. So her best friend is missing and everyone has hope once again that they might find her. However, Samantha discovers some weird things about her old self, for one she’s the meanest of the mean girls, treats her family like crap, and parties hard, the clichéd rich kid wrecking their car because she was drinking, and right down to having fake best friends. So yea, if you’re not intrigued now, maybe the next part will make you want to pick it up? 
    Enter Carson Ortiz, Samantha’s brother’s friend and the help’s son. Of course she used to treat him like crap, including her parents. As soon as Samantha sees him, she gets that feeling when you see a guy and you immediately crush on him? He is of course wary of her because of how she treated him. Still, Samantha starts to become super aware of Carson even with her constant reminding that she already has a boyfriend that she’s been with for several years. I just thought the romance was deliciously done and I really really love Carson. He is filed under “Guys that allow me to have hope for our male species”. He was a friend she really needed and was very honest and truthful and was always there for her even when no one else believed her. Their relationship was one I was rooting for from the start. Also, I liked Samantha’s brother and how protective he was of his sister. I feel there are a ton of secondary characters worth mentioning but it’ll end up being too long of a review. This proves how talented JLA is because I read this book over a month ago but I still remember everything. 
    The mystery aspect of the novel was also magnificently written. I honestly couldn’t guess who the perpetrator was at all. It came as such a big shock when it was revealed. I had a lot of theories and I am usually good at predicting them but for this one I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out. I really really recommend this novel so hard for contemporary mystery fans.. even just contemporary fans or just YA fans in general. I was blown away by Don’t Look Back and I am really excited to read any new book she writes in this genre.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

    I was very surprised with Jennifer Armentrout coming out with a

    I was very surprised with Jennifer Armentrout coming out with a young adult suspense book! I will always read her stuff, but this one was interesting in the best possible way! It had the suspense and the romance and the incredible twist at the end! The only thing that sort of bugged me was how long it took for Sam to recover her memories. That caused the book to have a slight drag in it. Overall, I was very engrossed in the book and would definitely recommend it to any of her fans!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    After reading Frigid, another thriller of Armentrout's I added t

    After reading Frigid, another thriller of Armentrout's I added this to my TBR way before I even read the synopsis. I loved it and I just knew I would love this one as well. And of course, I did. One can never go wrong with her writing. It can cure any book slump and will make you swoon, make you laugh, and in this particular one will send your heart racing.<br />
    Starting with the mystery, this one was a doozie. I can normally come up with my theories about halfway through, but this one took me until about 75% through. And by then I had about 3 going on. I never did come up with one exact one, BUT, one of my many theories did end up being correct. But the story that went along with it? Yeah definitely was not expecting that. It was crazy and something I never would've expected. <br />
    Then there were the characters. Let's just say Sammy is one strong MF. She went through A LOT and she was still there trying to make sure everything was solved. She could've waited until all her memories came back but she stuck it out until the end. Then of course there was Scott. I really loved him. Although &quot;before&quot; Sammy wasn't the easiest to get along with, from the very beginning he was always there for her. I know it wasn't easy because siblings are supposed to despise each other lol But he still made it work for her. Then of course there's Carson. He was so incredibly sweet and super forgiving. He knew the Sammy that had always been inside her and had the patience to help coax her back out. And one last question... Was &quot;Sammy&quot; and &quot;Winchester&quot; a shout out to Supernatural? lol <br />
    The only thing I didn't like was the thriller part I guess. Frigid made my heart speed up and I was naturally scared. In this one. my heart didn't speed up until the very end and I was a little upset by that. I wasn't really scared when I read it and I really wanted to be. But in the end it did get my heart racing to stroke territory, but by then we were already about to find out who the killer was. I guess I just wanted to be more scared throughout the entire book. <br />
    Although I wasn't as scared as I had wanted to be, it was still an enjoyable read. The characters and the NEED to find out who the killer really was had the book stuck to my hand!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    There are no do overs in life, or is there. This book is





    There are no do overs in life, or is there.




    This book is full of the wit and charm that I have come to expect from Jennifer's books, but it also has a lot of mysterious elements added. The mystery and suspense really had me guessing throughout the book. There was also a great deal of growing up from the characters in this book. I really liked the premise of this book and the idea of a second chance at life and becoming a different person is very interesting. 




    Samantha was strong and interesting character. She is very human and makes human mistakes, but she is also willing to learn from them and try to turn her life around. I really admired this about her because lots of people want to be different, but it takes a strong person to really change. I also liked how she tried to be a better person even when she could have gone back to what some believed was her perfect life. 




    My second favorite character was definitely Carson. He was such a great guy. Not many people would have stayed around to help someone who treated them like garbage, but he did. He is so sweet, understanding, and all around adorable. In fact I can't believe she didn't fall in love with him even with her past personality. He is the kind of guy that everyone should have around and never lets you down.




    This story was one of the most fascinating ones I have read in a while. I really enjoyed seeing Sam grab hold of her fractured life and start to better herself even if  it was an uphill battle. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a heart pounding thriller and a dash of romance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2014

    (Source: I was able to view a digital galley of this book for fr

    (Source: I was able to view a digital galley of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hodder &amp; Stoughton and Netgalley.)
    17-year-old Samantha wakes up covered in blood and not knowing who she is. When she is eventually reunited with her family she finds that she has been missing for 4 days, and that her best friend Cassie is still missing.
    What happened to Sam? And what happened to Cassie?


    This was an okay mystery story, but the answers were a long time coming.

    Sam was an okay character, and it wasn’t nice for her the way she lost her memory. I don’t think I’d have liked the person she was before the amnesia though.

    The storyline in this was okay, but it did start to drag after a while. The mystery of what had really happened took a long time to surface, and it wasn’t always an entertaining journey finding out what happened.
    There was some romance, but it was a little odd. I didn’t really like either of the boys that Sam was with, and she seemed to go from like to love very quickly.
    The ending to this was okay, and I didn’t guess who the killer was. I had lost interest a bit by the end though as I just wanted to know who the killer was, and was fed up with not knowing.
    Overall; okay murder/mystery story, but it dragged a bit.
    6.5 out of 10.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Another amazing book!

    Ms. Armentrout has out done herself yet again. While being different than herbother books, she certainly didn't have any problems capturing my attention and keep it on the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

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  • Posted June 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I will honestly say that I as pretty hesitant to read Don¿t Look

    I will honestly say that I as pretty hesitant to read Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Let me rephrase that… When I first saw this book, I was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to read this book.  The cover alone had me curious about it.  And not to mention that it is written by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  With me being a huge fan of her Wait for Me books, writing under the name J. Lynn, and with Gabby being a huge fan of the Lux series, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to read this one!  But when other readers’ thoughts and reviews started coming up, some of them were enough to have me question whether or not I was going to enjoy this one… Well folks, I absolutely loved it!  I’ve heard people say that it reads like your typical amnesia type books, etc. etc.  Well I guess lucky for me, I haven’t read any (or don’t remember anyways) and was extremely please with Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

    Can you imagine waking up in the hospital and not remembering anything?  Nothing at all.  Not even the parents who are instantly there the minute you open your eyes…complete strangers to you.  Not remembering who your friends were (or even why you were friends with them to begin with).  Not even remembering who your boyfriend is and why you fell for him in the first place (except for the fact that he’s hella hot and all the girls in your school want him).  Not even remembering how you got to where you are now?  You’re only memory being the moments you were found wandering down the road dirty, bloody, and confused…

    Unfortunately for Samantha (Sam), this is exactly what happened to her.  No matter how much she tries to remember she just can’t!  The doctor’s tell her that her memories may trickle back, or all come back at once, or may never come back at all.  Downside…how is she supposed to go back to the way her life was before she disappeared with her best friend Cassie?  Upside…can you say second chance?  As Samantha tries to make things normal for her again, her old life isn’t one that seems to feel right to her.  Things that the old Sam would find normal, she finds repulsive and can’t even bring herself to act like how she’s “supposed” to.

    Her boyfriends is completely foreign to her and she seems to have feelings for her brother’s best friend, Carson, with whom she has history with…apparently.  Sam feels lost, and can’t shake the terrible feeling that almost everyone around her is lying to her, or hiding something from her.  When bits and pieces of her memory start to come back, Sam finds herself in danger and doesn’t know who to trust.  Mysterious notes are appearing out of nowhere, and she feels as though she is being constantly watched and followed.  Everyone is a suspect…but if Sam gets all her memories back, will she wake up in her own death bed?

    What I loved most about reading Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout was that you don’t find out who the bad guy is until the end.  I was kept guessing right through to the end, and yes, I was shocked to find out the secrets riddled in the book.  People that I was so sure would be the culprit were the wrong ones, and my head was spinning trying to figure things out.

    Sure I had my suspicions, but the way in which the author lays out the plot and diverts your attention from one individual to another was what made this book a really fun read.

    Fans of mystery/thriller reads will really enjoy Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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  • Posted June 8, 2014

    A perfectly executed YA romantic suspense novel!!!  It was anoth

    A perfectly executed YA romantic suspense novel!!! 
    It was another fantastic novel by JLA.
    She always brings it no matter what the genre is.
    I now have to officially crown her as my #1 favorite fiction writer.
    Her versatility is amazing and her plot ideas are always so well executed.

    Since I chose to read the hardback version of this novel, I simply couldn't mark it up.
    Instead I created a 3-page word document that lists all of my favorite quotes and moments.
    I also posted my Good Reads comments all throughout this read so that I could avoid doing a spoiler review.
     
    Simply put, this is absolutely a must-read if you enjoy romantic suspense at all and are curious to see if it works on a YA level.
    It so does. 

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    'Don't Look Back' is a taut and completely gripping young adult

    'Don't Look Back' is a taut and completely gripping young adult thriller that had me hooked from the very beginning. I am a huge fan of this genre and I really can never find enough books that leave an impression on me. This one did just that - and then some. Everything about this novel - from the plot and characters to the writing style and the setting - was perfect. The characters were well written and easy to identify with - especially our main character Samantha. She was a fantastic leading lady - smart, determined, and brave - yet she still had her flaws, which I believe made her all the more realistic. The other characters in the book were well rounded too, which made slipping into the story alongside Sam even easier.

    The plot was full of unexpected twists and turns - ones that you definitely don't see coming and then are left with your mouth hanging open in surprise. With this genre, I love trying to piece together the mystery and figure things out before the main character does, but I have to admit that I failed to do that when it came to this book. That alone is enough to impress me and shows the amount of talent the author has. Add to that the depth of the story line - there's so much more going on than you think - and you have one of the best YA thrillers I've read in a very long time. The descriptions were incredibly detailed with vivid imagery and a fast pace - all of which came together to create a truly compelling novel. I honestly can't say enough good things about this book to do it justice, so I'll simply end by saying that this was one wicked thrill ride that will leave you devouring the pages to find out what happens. I very highly recommend this for fans of mystery, thrillers, and suspense fiction!!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted May 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I want to thank Disney Hyperion for providing me with an copy of

    I want to thank Disney Hyperion for providing me with an copy of this book to provide an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.




    Blurb From Goodreads:
    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 &quot;mean girl&quot; 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?




    I love a good thriller. So when I heard that Jennifer Armentrout was writing one, well, you can imagine I was all over reading it. And, while I really am not a huge fan of the cover (even though I understand it) I jumped right in when I got a copy of this! Murder? YES! Mystery? YES! Romance? YES! it's the trifecta of awesomeness! And a plot line that seems to be going in one direction, but takes you somewhere you totally different think it would? YES! YES! YES!




    Sammie has no idea who she is. I love this concept. She has amnesia and can't remember anything at all about her life. She slowly learns about all the people who were in her life, and who she is/was. But she has a different outlook now that she doesn't remember. It's like she's been given a chance to start over again. To rebuild her life and be someone she wasn't before. She makes amends and realizes that she didn't like the person she was before, or at least doesn't like that person now. And, despite her not being able to remember anything, she is strong and self-preserving. But she is also weary of anyone and everyone in her life. She wants so much to help figure out what happened to her best friend, Cassie, but she fears that all those around who she trusted before might be involved.




    Carson is the boy next door. Except he's poor, and Sammie usually hangs with the rich crowd. He's always been considered below her, yet as a child they were best friends. So what changed? Cassie came into her life and tore her away from all she knew, including the sweet and loving Car. He's so committed to Sammie, willing to pretty much do anything for her, despite the fact that she's treated him like dirt for much of their recent past. He knows that beneath her shell there's a different person, someone who cares. But they haven't gotten along for so long, it's hard for him to think she might be capable of change. From the start, I loved his character. He's fiercely loyal and he is willing to take a chance on Sammie, despite their past.




    Scott, Sammie's brother, is a great character. He's the complete opposite of what Sammie has come to be in the past, before her amnesia. He's smart and funny and down to earth while Sammie has been a stuck up snot for many of the last few years. What I love most about Scott is he's not afraid to tell Sammie who she was before, how much he didn't like her, even though he's her twin. They could not have been more opposite.




    The secondary characters add great depth to this book. Sammie's snuck up and snobby friends who basically name her Insanity Sam because she's changed so much they have no idea who she is and they think she's crazy. Her parents, who don't know their daughter anymore, but see that the changes may be better for her, especially her father. They add so much to the story without inundating it with annoying characters you don't care about. You hate the friends because they are &quot;mean girls&quot; but you want to love the others, like Scott's girlfriend Julie, who was one of Sammie's best friends at one point before Cassie entered the picture.




    I think the best part of this book is that Jennifer really keeps you guessing throughout. I kept having my doubts about so many of the characters. But there was never concrete evidence that made me feel it was one person or the other. Then I got to the 85% mark and I kind of figured it out and BOOM, Jennifer threw another wrench in the mix! WOW! I love a psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes and this one certainly fits that bill!




    This is a bit of a departure from what I know of Armentrout's previous writing. But just like her other stuff, she does this so well. Her characters are really relatable. And while I didn't know &quot;mean girls&quot; when I went to school, I have heard things from my friends and family that make me understand high-school can really be like Jennifer has described it! I love the plot line for this book and I love how Jennifer writes. Together they make for a great read! She makes it complex and twisty, which keeps you riveted to the plot.




    I can honestly say that when I read the blurb, I wasn't totally thrilled with what it presented. I wasn't sure I would like this. But I wanted to give it a chance because I have really enjoyed Armentrout's other books and I'm so glad I did. So, if you are into mystery and psychological thrillers would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It will keep you interested from beginning to end. You will not know what hit you. Pick it up, read it, love it! You won't be sorry!

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  • Posted April 15, 2014

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Don't Look B

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Publication Date: April 15, 2014
    Rating: 5 stars
    Source: ARC sent by the publisher




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    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 &quot;mean girl&quot; 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?




    What I Liked:




    Ahhh, what a great book! I'm so glad that I liked it. Usually when I want to read a book SO BADLY, for what seems like FOREVER, I get so afraid of reading it, and then I don't read it, or keep waiting to read it even after I get a copy, or end up not reading it. Terrible, I know, but that's what &quot;self-hype&quot; does (hyping up a book for yourself?). Of course, this book had a lot of hype surrounding it, from the publisher, other reviewers, and the fact that it's JLA. So. I'm really glad I liked it.




    This is a whodunit book with a twist. Honestly, at first, it was so much like Far From You by Tess Sharpe (a fellow Disney-Hyperion April 2014 release). I just read that book last week, so it was still fresh. Both books start with the aftermath, and both heroines are very, very confused. In Far From You, the protagonist remembers though. In this book, Samantha can't even remember her own name.




    This is one thing that Armentrout portrays beautifully - Samantha's amnesia. It feels so very real throughout the book. This book is part real, part psychological, and Armentrout nailed both, but especially the psychological aspect. This book gets twisted and creepy, in terms of what Samantha sees (and eventually, what she thinks she sees).




    It's interesting how radical Samantha's personality change is, but I believe it. Brain injuries and amnesia are tough, as well as shock and stress to a person's system. I would have HATED Samantha's old personality (who LIKES those types of girls? No one.), but I admired her new personality. She is NOT like 99% of Armentrout's other heroines - overly feisty/snarky, somewhat forced into that fiery nature. New Samantha is a little more subdued and quietly determined. I like this, and I REALLY like that Armentrout finally decided to give her heroine a new personality. Because in all seriousness, if you took away the names of Armentrout's heroines, they would all sound THE SAME. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Samantha seems different though, so that's good.




    This story is quite different from Armentrout's other stories, which is nice. Instead of something paranormal- or romance-based, we have a psychological and mysterious type of plot. Who killed Cassie and hurt Samantha? Is what Samantha seeing real, or hallucination? It's interesting to see those two plots at work. There is also Samantha's assimilation at school - it's very different, because everyone still thinks she is a horrible, cruel person, but now everyone thinks she is crazy, and that she had something to do with Cassie's death. 




    So that's one of the reasons why I REALLY liked this book - it's complex, and not in a we-must-save-the-town/world way, like all of Armentrout's paranormal/supernatural books have been. It's also not a sexy-male-quiet-but-spunky-female-who-is-messed-up-let's-have-sex kind of a book, like all of Armentrout's romance books have been. It's different, more original.




    The hero (male protagonist) is different as well. Apparently, Old Samantha treated Carson Ortiz like crap, but when they were younger, they were friends. Then Samantha changed and became friends with Cassie, and basically kicked Carson to the curb. So their relationship isn't a heated I-hate-you-but-love-you angry type, but it's also not the smoldering lusty one either. They have a beautiful history, and great chemistry, but that isn't something primary in this book. It also doesn't &quot;happen&quot; until late in the story.




    But back to Carson. He isn't your alpha male. He isn't a mouthy, dirty-joking-cracking wise-a** who could also double as a jerk. He isn't a &quot;bad boy&quot;. Basically, he isn't ANY of Armentrout's male characters. I had the same problem with her male characters - take away their names, and compare them. They're all glorified sexy jerks, right? Except maybe Jase (Be With Me). But Carson is down to earth, kind, and patient. He isn't rude or arrogant or &quot;bad&quot;. He is quite sexy though, but in a less typical-Armentrout-male-protagonist way.




    I already touched on the romance a little - how it is not the at forefront of the plot, and that it doesn't really &quot;happen&quot; until late in the book. I like this. It *works*, in terms of what Samantha and Carson are like, and the nature of their friendship and relationship. And definitely when it comes to all that Samantha is struggling with.




    So, the climax, the wrap-up? I won't give anything away, but it's pretty crazy. Things get messy as the book goes along, but the very end of the book is INSANE. I like that Armentrout wraps up everything, and I wasn't left with any questions. This is how a standalone novel should be - especially a mystery. Bravo, Armentrout! You've broken out of several molds - this is good.




    What I Did Not Like:




    I honestly can't think of anything specific that I didn't like, which makes writing this section really easy. But, as always, if I think of anything, I'll edit my review and add it.




    Would I Recommend It:




    I would highly recommend this book! It is so much more original than most of JLA's other books, if that helps convince anyone. I know I've complained a lot about her heroines and heroes being extremely cookie-cutter similar, and their relationships being formulaic, but I'm glad to see the change in this book. ENTIRELY in this book. Like, the boy isn't some mouthy sexy smoldering jerk, and the heroine isn't some snarky feisty hot female. Yay for a more original story and characters! And this book was great - ignoring JLA's other works. I really enjoyed this book.




    Rating:




    5 stars. This is probably my new favorite JLA book (followed by White Hot Kiss). I feel like up until these two books (and the prequel novella for White Hot Kiss), I didn't absolutely LOVE JLA's books. I enjoyed them, or really liked them (Obsidian, Onyx), or maybe didn't like them at all, but this one and the Dark Elements books are quality. More original.

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    Posted April 18, 2014

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    Posted June 7, 2014

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