Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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

  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

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?

My Thoughts

Being a huge fan of this author, I was really looking forward to this book. It's different from her other stuff, but I still really enjoyed it. I loved the characters and the story. It was great to see Sam discovering herself, the real her. The one that she hid under her mean girl personality. I also loved getting to know the other characters. They were all well developed and interesting. I found myself outraged at Sam's old friends, and wondered why she would have ever wanted to be the leader of them. We discover her life and family and get insight onto why things are the way they are, and what Sam is going to do to change it. I admit that though I had some guesses as to what really happened to Cassie, it was very late in the book before I knew for sure. That is a definite win when a book can keep me guessing for that long.

Sam has no memory at all of her life before she went missing. As people tell her how she was, and she is around her "friends", she thinks that maybe losing her memory is a good thing. She doesn't like hearing how awful of a person she was. Even though she can't remember Cassie, she still feels like she needs to get to the bottom of what happened to her. She decides that this is her second chance, a chance to be the girl that she wants to be. She doesn't want to be who she is expected to be anymore. Her friends and family lie to her about things, about how her life was. Everyone seems suspicious and she doesn't know who to trust. All she knows is that she needs to figure out what really happened that night, and she doesn't want to become who she once was.

Carson was fantastic. Yes, he's kind of a jerk to Sam, but it made sense because of how she treated him before. He is also one of the only people who wants to help her. He is best friends with her brother and used to be really close to her when they were kids. When Cassie came into the picture, that is when Sam changed. She acted like a rich brat who was too good for everyone except those that were of the same status. He still never stopped caring though. He knew that the real Sam was still there somewhere. How Sam is now reminds him of when they were kids. Of how they used to be together. He wants to help her, but is also afraid of her becoming the mean Sam again. He is a great person though, and is willing to risk that to help her.

I loved the mystery aspect of this. It almost seems like it should be obvious what's going on, but it made me suspect everyone. Besides that, I really loved getting to know Sam as she got to know herself. The family aspect was there too which I love. Yes, her mom is a bit much, but her brother is amazing! There were so many secrets and things that unfold that it kept me needing to know what was going to happen next and where it was going. I was expecting Sam to remember everything suddenly, but was glad that she didn't. Another fabulous book from one of my favorite authors!!

*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.


  1. I've struggled with this author's YA books, but I think I'm going to give this one a shot because everyone claims it's different from her other books. Sam sounds like a great character although I can tell I'm going to be bad at her for acting like a rich brat. I can't wait to meet Carson!
    Great review, Amy!

  2. I really loved this one too. You're so right on the mystery of it. I did keep jumping from person to person to blame. I loved how Sam was able to strip away the peer pressure with her memory loss - find the real her. Great review.

  3. I also loved Carson and I knew there was a reason he was acting like a jerk at first - I mean she was a total bitch to him before. I didn't love this one as much as I'd hoped but I still liked it overall. The mystery aspect was a lot of fun, but mostly I loved the character arcs of her whole personality having changed but still the same person at the core. It was kind of thought provoking. Great review, honeybuns!

  4. I have this book in my tbr pile. Looking forward to reading it. Lovely review!

  5. I was hoping you'd love the heck out of this book, but glad you still enjoyed it. I thought Jen tackled the mystery/thriller genre pretty well for a YA book. Great review!

  6. Mean girl??! Oh, OH, I might have to invest in this book!!

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