Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: April 15, 2014
Hardcover, 369 pages
5 Gold Stars

(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 "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 fi
nally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

 This is my first Armentrout book and it blew me away! I was hooked from the first page, the mystery of what happened to Sam suddenly clouding my mind and I couldn't think about anything but this book until I found out what happened to her. Samantha wakes up on the side of road, bloodied and not remembering a thing. She soon realizes she doesn't remember anything any about her life, not even her name. As her family returns her home, she starts to learn things about herself that she's not happy with. She was little miss popular and treated a lot of people badly, one of those guys being Carson, her parents's yard guy's son. Coming back home also means facing the fact that her best friend Cassie, who disappeared the same night as Sam, is still missing and it looks like Sam is the only one who knows what happened, except she can't remember.

I'm a sucker for amnesia books. I know a lot of people are tired of reading them, but I love the mystery and the steps that the narrator has to take to get back to their old life. Along the way, they tend to realize that they didn't like who they used to be and are glad for the second chance. Redemption stories are my favourite, and this one tops them all. Samantha was a great character, a girl who fell for the thrill of popularity and didn't care who she took down along the way. Her friendship with Cassie wasn't healthy at all and I'm glad Sam realizes this throughout the novel. Her so called boyfriend isn't the  best guy either and I love that Sam had more feelings for Carson, someone she couldn't stand before, than her boyfriend (who was a major jerk!) Sam's post traumatic stress is written beautifully and so believable. When she starts to see Cassie in places it scared the crap out of me. And the closer we got to finding out what really happened, the scarier it got. And the ending was so unexpected I almost threw my book. I couldn't believe how it all played out and there's no way I could have called that. The best part of a mystery is not being able to guess the outcome, and this book left me guessing until the end. 

Armentrout is known for writing swoon worthy guys and this book is no different. Carson is a sweet guy who is giving Sam a second chance after she treated him badly throughout the years. Sam is immediately attracted to him and I love how their friendship turns into something else so easily, since they've known each other all their lives. Sam has reverted back to how she used to be before Cassie came along and Carson sees this. It's sweet and romantic and he's the kind of guy any girl could ask for. Every  character is unique and plays an important part in the story. Everything fit together so perfectly and there were scenes that came into play later as the mystery unravelled. Also, can we just talk about this cover? It's so beautiful and it plays into the story so perfectly. I love the sweet ballerina with the cracked glass. Everything about this book is perfection and I think everyone should read it, even if you're done with these kinds of books. This one stands out among the rest.

“Money doesn't buy taste, personality, or common decency.” 

“I’m not sure I want to go to prom. I’m not sure I want to share you with anyone.”

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