Don’t Look Back is a stand alone contemporary/mystery/thriller by Jennifer L/ Armentrout. I absolutely loved it! It’s perfect for fans of The Lying Game by Sara Shepard, and I give it ten stars.
Summary (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 “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?
Non spoiler review: Anyone who watches (or read!) Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game needs to run to the bookstore and pick this one up right now. A compelling, suspenseful page-turner, this is one of my favorites. The characters (especially the protagonist) were all interesting to read about and discover, and I found myself wondering about the mystery aspect of the book even when I wasn’t reading (and I couldn’t wait to keep reading it!). I thought carefully about all of the characters and I still did not see the plot twist coming! Warning: It is most definitely not horror, but it does have creepy elements to it. This must be red by everyone who enjoys a good mystery, and even by people who have an interest in psychology and how memory effects us as people.
The firs thing I have to talk about is that ending.
Who saw the father coming?
I had absolutely no idea. I thought about Scott, even Carson (even though I really didn’t want it to be Carson because Carson and Sam are my OTP). I really tried to think about the characters you wouldn’t normally think of. But the father? I didn’t think that far. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense, but who would think of something like that? I need to take this moment to applaud Jennifer L. Armentrout, who thought about something like that.
There are some questions, though, that I wish she would have gotten into more. Like how did Sam know Dell cheated on her with Cassie (who texted her)? What was up with Tray, and why was there so much mystery about him that we never really got into (his relationship with Cassie and Candy)? And when it comes to Sam being a bitch and then befriending Cassie, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
But I shouldn’t complain. This book was absolutely amazing!
One of my favorite things about it was seeing how different Sam was without her memories. It really shows how much memories define who we are, and what she could have been. It makes you wonder, though, if this is who she was naturally without Cassie or did she change when she was eleven and naturally find her sister, who was just like her. Who knows.
I loved seeing her thrown back into her old life. Everything we know about the characters are things she’s learned with us, which is an interesting way of reading. I thought her family and friends could have been more understanding towards her condition, that she is a different person. I felt what she felt when her parents were taking her from the hospital – who are these people and how can they just take her? Dell and her friends should have given her time to adjust before pouncing her like nothing ever happened, because something did happen. She needed to learn to love them again, and she didn’t. They didn’t understand, as much as they claimed to. Ironically, the person who understood the most was Tray, and he wasn’t even really her friend. Maybe that’s why he was so understanding; he didn’t expect much from her in the first place.
The last thing I need to say is how intriguing the mystery was. It was really built well; the notes were compelling, as were the memories and the shadowy figures. I loved every second of it.