Friday, April 11, 2014

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

Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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?
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Publishes in US: April 15th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Disney Hyperion for review
Series? No

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    I wanted to read Don't Look Back because I love Jennifer Armentrout as an author, and pretty much anything YA and NA she writes goes automatically on my wishlist. (I can't speak for adult stuff, since I haven't for whatever reason tried them yet.) While the mystery feel isn't always my favorite as far as genre, I would be intrigued by the synopsis even if it wasn't JLA because the memory loss is always a topic that catches my eye, and especially more so that she wakes up and discovers the life that she lead she didn't much like. I wanted to put together the pieces of what made her change from the Sam she used to be into one that was a mean girl and seemed to contradict her natural sense of how to treat people. 
    I got caught up in her story, like her trying to make her and her best friend's disappearance make sense, as well as the obvious different of the Sam that wakes up with no memory of the past and the one who was there before the accident. Her family is super surprised along with her friends and boyfriend at how differently she is looking at life, treating others, and it brings her and her brother Scott closer, as well as his friend Carson. We realize that they have a history together, and there is obvious chemistry and attraction between them. It is the only kind of semi cheating that I can deal with because I never got a good feeling with Del, and it is almost like two different Samanthas. 
     I had my suspicions about what happened to Samantha and Cassie, some of them were affirmed by the pieces of memory and also visions that Sam keeps having and others seem to lead me away from my thoughts. But Jennifer always manages to throw in things that I didn't seem coming. Really, she had me suspecting everyone from Sam herself to the mailman (not really, but I think that I suspected everyone in the book at some point.) To have such a confused narrator, everything is thrown into question and with such a personality change, it also ostracized not only herself but the other characters.
      She keeps me so entertained from her snarky wit to her flawed but relatable characters, smoking hot guys that have a deeper level than just the looks and charm, and her fast paced stories. The romance was great and I liked the friendship aspect that they built as children and the complicating factor was the middle time where she was a mean girl. 
      The ending took me by surprise but I appreciate that it showed that the truth came out, character growth in Sam, promise of hope in the future for healing, moving on, but still remembering a hurting girl who died too soon.
   
Bottom Line: Great mystery from an unreliable narrator. Throw in some humor, hot romance and flashbacks you have this amazing book by Jennifer.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think you could ever live a life you'd hate if you woke up with amnesia?
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34 comments:

  1. Great review! I am soooo excited to read this one! I love a good mystery. And add in the memory loss and of course that it's JLA writing, this definitely sounds like something I am going to enjoy! Can't wait to read it next week! Again, awesome review!

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    1. memory loss really intrigues me, so I would have been drawn even if not JLA. Hope oyu love it

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  2. Yep, I do love JLA's snarky and flawed yet relatable characters ;)

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  3. Nice review! I don't think I would be able to do that, but I might have to if it was my life. I could also see it as a way to start over.

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  4. I wasn't a fan of Armentrout's adult stuff; I'm thinking maybe I'll give her YA stuff a try instead because there seems to be way more positive reviews for them. So, that bodes well...

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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    1. I am the opposite and haven;t read the adult stuff. Did you do new adult or full out adult, because I have read new adult, and her ya stuff is similar just less hot.

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  5. I enjoyed this one as well, even if the plot and some elements of the story has been recycled many a times before. I guess I'm a sucker for this type of story arch. :)

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    1. That's true, it has been done before, but the characters make it different for me.

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  6. That's what I loved so much about it, I mean, I always love mysteries/thrillers/amnesia ones because they're always creepy and have the air of eerie, but the fact that I didn't guess correctly and that just when you think you have it sussed, it goes somewhere completely different, made me love it so much more. I also loved that you couldn't trust any of the characters or even Sam (at some point, I suspected her, too.) Besides that though, but the transition between Before Sam and After Sam, and the differences and why she acted like she did. I really couldn't hate her for that, even if I wanted to, especially as you find out what she had done. But ugh, Carson, oh how I loved him. <3 Glad you enjoyed it! :)

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

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    1. Carson was fifty kinds of amazing, but yes, I really thought it was Sam at one point because she isn't a reliable narrator and it is night and day the way she acted

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  7. Oh I enjoy unreliable narrators..this intrigues me and I am so glad you enjoyed it.

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  8. I like memory loss tropes too. And the unreliable narrator just adds an extra sense of mystery. I'm glad you enjoyed DLB!

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  9. I am really glad you enjoyed this one Brandi. I need to get back to JLA's books soon. Great review :)

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  10. I always like unreliable narrators. So far I am reading mixed reviews on this one and I really wanted to read it, now I am wavering.

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  11. I been wanting to read this one, but lately read too many mixed reviews and wasn't really sure. Glad to hear you find it enjoyable.

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  12. Nice review! I'm glad the mystery was done well.

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  13. I wanted to try JLA because you guys love her so much! I think this would be a great place to start because I love memory loss stories too plus the suspense sounds gripping. Happy Friday!

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    1. Its her first ya contemp, so kinda different than her normal story lines, but it still has her style and humor

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  14. I'm excited to read this, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I don't think I'd do very well with amnesia at all, I think I'd be super paranoid. :-) Lovely review!

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    1. I think that I would too esp if my anxiety and depression were still around

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  15. I can't wait to read this, Brandi. I'm with you in that anything from JLA goes on my wishlist. :) She really knows how to make relatable characters AND snark! Great review!

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    1. So many of them I feel like could be me.

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  17. I'm so excited now! It didn't sound like my kind of book at all but everything has been positive so far and the mystery and suspense sounds so great.

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    1. I normally don't do murder books, but the memory loss and JLA makes it enough to intrigue me and I liked it.

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  18. I'm curious about this one. I tend to stay away from amnesia themed novels because they tend to be a little predictable. But we shall see.

    Thanks for the review!

    ~Sara @ Just Another Story

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    1. I can never guess who did it, so am not one to speak if this one was predictable.

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  19. Great review, I love J. Armentrout ;) I don't know about the amnesia, it depends on the means you have at your disposition for changing ?...

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  20. I love stories with amnesia. It usually reveals a lot of things a character didn't know. Looking forward to reading this. Great review!

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  21. I haven't read anything by JLA yet, but I own Obsidian and I've heard such great things about her books, so I need to get to that! And this one sounds so good! I love unreliable narrators when they're done well, and this one sounds like it's done really well. Great review!

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  22. If I woke up with amnesia and saw I hated my life but couldn't remember the reason I'd stayed previously? I probably couldn't do it, but I would stick around long enough to see why I bothered staying... and see if that reason is still worth it, although most emotional ties would be broken!

    I've been reading many reviews of this book, and I am looking forwards to when I can finally get my hands on it!

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/04/a-whole-lot-of-questions-tag.html

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