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


Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Female
Genres & Themes: YA, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance, Secrets, Death, Family, High School.

BLURB:

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?

REVIEW:

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(My reaction when the moment for the revelation came.) Quite an interesting story. I kept reading, despite some flaws and insufficiency of originality here and there, because the plot just sucks you in and doesn’t let go. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books are addictive, that’s for sure. Any complaint for that? Not now, not ever.

This is the story of Samantha and her trying to find what happened to her best (dead) friend, Cassie. Sam is popular, rich, beautiful and has it all…or so it may seem at first glance. Perfect boyfriend, perfect friends, perfect family. But everything is not as it seems. So when she’s found wondering around not even knowing her name after having disappeared for four entire days, everything in her life takes on a new turn. She wants to know the truth, to remember it all. Who killed Cassie? Is her boyfriend hiding something? And what does Carson have to do with anything? It seems like she can’t get him out of her mind.

The premise to this book is great, the cover fabulous and the title well fitting. I thought about it and, sincerely, every one of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books look great at first sight. Good marketing and artist. So it’s definitely with grand pleasure that I’m saying how I was not disappointed by this standalone. Because it possesses many things to like; a heroine that is easy to connect to and appreciate, masculine characters (many of them) that are G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S (I mean, there always are in her books) and most of them are likable, secondary characters that are actually present and have a reason to be in the scenes attributed to them and a good writing + good pacing to wrap it all up. So, exteriorly, those weren’t the problem.

What was missing is really creativity. I mean, the plot is good and this whole easy and agreeable to read, but the characters were really banal. Briefly, if you read about them, they’re okay and you can see that they are at their right places in the story and having fantastic roles. What was missing was some originality in them. Sincerely, I think, main character excluded, that I’ve seen those kinds of personalities in hundred other books that I have read in the past. Plus, even though they have problems – for example her mother and father that don’t get along anymore – they still have this ‘I’m perfect and you know it’ vibe. Maybe because most of them are rich? But it’s probably something we’ll each interpret differently. Yeah, they were a bit shallow and underdeveloped too, but there being many of them and the latter not letting the main character got through everything alone did help to their case.

The mystery part – which is an important one – was well enough done. The romance did take a WAY too pre-eminent part in the plot above all elements, but it didn’t change that I felt hooked and wanted to know badly what happened to both girls and WHO did this. WHO killed Cassie and WHY. Those are questions I asked myself throughout the reading and it’s a good thing that, at the end, it’s along with the narration that I figured it all out. Nicely done.

This book and its atmosphere reminded me of the one in Dangerous Girls, a masterpiece that I will never forget. Both main characters are feared and thought to be crazy, murderers and in both cases it was the best girl friend that died. However, Sam did have much more support, less accusations and liberty in her actions at finding the truth. If you enjoyed that book though, you may very likely feel the same for this one too.

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24 thoughts on “Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

  1. Don’t Look Back has been on my TBR for ages but I’ve just never picked it up. I do agree that JLA’s book–while interesting–aren’t all that original so i’m going into the story expecting that but If I get just as hooked to the plot as you did i’m sure i’ll be fine.

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  2. This was my first J. L. Armentrout and for the mystery part I was very impressed. I didn’t find out who the killer is until it was revealed in the story which I really appreciate in mystery novels. I agree however that Armentrout’s books lack originality sometimes but they are super addictive and so fast-paced and yes! she writes amazing male characters hahahaha

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  3. Yes I think it’s what I saw in the reviews about this one… the creativity but well in a whole it sounds good too. I really need to go back to her books, it’s been many years since I’ve read one and everyone is loving the new ones.

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  4. If it reminds you of Dangerous Girls, I REALLY need to read it! Despite its lack of originality I think it’ll be a nice, although forgettable guilty-pleasure read.

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  5. *spoiler so don’t read is you haven’t read this!* I really enjoyed this book but Samantha was so naive! And the end- why would she even suspect Carson? He’s literally been nothing but nice to her. Who sleeps with someone and then accuses them of murder? I mean she’s been through a lot, but still!

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  6. This seems like a book with a very interesting plot and plot twist as well – but then not a very creative story to intrigue you enough. I really have to try something of JLA’s, but I don’t think I will quite start with this one.

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