Thursday, April 24, 2014

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

Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Category:  Thriller/Suspense/ Romance
Genre: Young Adult 
Rating:  5 stars out of 5
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: 

Words, words escape me. I can’t really articulate just how much I really enjoyed Don’t Look Back. It really did blow me out to the water. Of course the writing style was brilliant; I was really able to get lost in the world Jennifer created.  But what I think was the aspect that really made me enjoy it so much was the thrilling twists, gripping characters, and a story-line I really didn’t see coming. Yeah, I was able to figure out a few of the plot twist, but that didn’t lessen the amazing factor of this book at all!
It wasn't okay--it was never going to be okay. I was stuck in this life I didn't remember, squeezed into the shell of this girl--this Samantha Jo Franco-- and the more I learned about her, the more I was starting to hate her.
Don’t Look Back is filled with some captivating characters. What I loved about Sam is that she isn’t the usual kind of heroine that Jennifer writes. Now, she definitely wasn’t a meek girl, she is very much headstrong and determined. That was something I really loved about her. When she gets thrown into this crazy mess and nothing adds up, plus her memories are a no show, it’s to be expected that one would be scared or fearful. Sam did show that fear, but it was her fear that also made her feel very much real. I also liked that she was determined, no matter the fears (and she had quite a few) stood in her way, Sam kept going.

Carson was another character I just couldn’t help but really fall for. Jennifer knows how to write some swoony boys. Carson was no exception. But what I enjoyed about him is the very complicated and intricate relationship with Sam. Through the book I definitely saw a lot between them, they had quite a past, and I loved watching them grow. Carson really helped Sam and I enjoyed that no matter what, even when she doubted herself, he never doubted her and stayed by her side.

There is quite a roundup of characters in this book. Each diverse and each have their own story. I definitely loved Sam’s brother and his girlfriend! Scott was interesting and I did enjoy seeing him in the story. He was a great aspect to it and a good character for Sam to have in her life. Now, not every character is who they seem, but that was the fun part in the book. Who is real and who isn’t. I enjoyed dissecting the characters and trying to figure out all the mysteries that kept building up, trying to figure out who really killed Cassie and hurt Sam.

The pacing was absolutely perfect in my opinion. It flowed perfectly with the series of events and everything happened gradually. The plot building was gripping and the twists just kept coming! Half the time I never even suspected them. Jennifer knows how to write a thriller, leaving you second guessing the theories you create and the characters.  I also loved watching the characters grow and develop; loved watching them slowly unravel the dangerous mysteries around them.

And the book wouldn't be a JLA book if there wasn't romance. What I loved about the romance in this one is that it wasn't the main factor of the book. But it was sweet and definitely pulled at my heartstrings.
Who was leaving these notes, and how much did they know?
I knew I was going to love this book, it's JLA for crying out loud, but I didn't think it would be so beyond epic! It was filled with a great amount of mystery, wonderful plot twists that had me on the edge of my sit, and a beautiful romance. Don't Look Back was such a great read and one that kept me glued to the pages. I definitely recommend this one to JLA lovers and to those who love a really good gripping thriller!



  1. *Fist Pump* Go JLA and her fabulous romances! She always does it right. I'm glad you liked this one, sounds like all the characters drew you in. I haven't grabbed this one yet, but I'm beginning to think I should. Awesome review Magen!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  2. Great review, Megan! JLA is one amazing author. I'm looking forward to reading Don't Look Back.

    Marilyn @ Marilyn's Mystery Blog

  3. Oh, i just can't wait to read this one. I am usually not a big fan of thrillers, but seeing as it is JLA writing it and there is a very definite promise of some sweet romance I most definitely will give it a try. JLA is not one to disappoint and I simply hope that I will love this book as much as I have loved all of her others!

  4. This book was made of awesome! Like you, I loved the mystery aspect and spent the entire book trying to figure out who it was and I kept changing my mind non stop! It was awesome! I loved the romance too! Carson is super swoony and I want to smoosh his face! Amazing review Magen *muggle huggles*

  5. I really enjoyed Carson and Sam in this one too.

  6. I have to say- this isn't my usual type of read, but I was so pleasantly surprised! I knew with it being JLA, it'd be amazing, but I had no idea I'd like it so much! I loved Carson to pieces and he and Sam's relationship really made this book even more special!

  7. Yay! So happy you enjoyed this book. Jen def did well for her 1st shot at the thriller/mystery genre. I liked that the romance wasn't the main thing, too. The suspense was killing me!

  8. Wow! Amazing Review Magen! I can tell how much you loved this book! I just bought it, and can't wait to read it! I'm a huge JLA fan! This sounds like such a great thriller! I love solving mysteries, especially when everything is not as it seems. Carson sounds very swoon, and I love that he never doubted Sam and always stayed by her side.

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  9. I need to read this! Loved your review :)

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

  10. Awesome review! I really need to read this book too! It's on my wish list.

  11. As if I wasn't already madly curious about this story -- those quotes pushed me over the edge!! I've been dying to get to this one, and the fact that you and Teresa both love it so much has me bumping it to the top of my list!! Your excitement is contagious, and I'm really looking forward to the perfect pace and flow! Wonderful review, sweets!!!


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