Monday, April 14, 2014

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

Release Date: April 15, 2014
from Disney Hyperion

"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:

I have come to the conclusion that anything JLA writes I will love. I don’t normally pick up books like this, but because it was JLA of course I was going to give it a go, and honestly this may be my new favorite of hers. It is just so so different from her other books and it really stands out. It’s addictive and crazy and simply amazing. I stayed up late to finish this one and I can’t regret the lack of sleep.

Samantha is a very different kind of heroine. She is straightforward and determined. She is torn apart over the loss of her memories and determined to fill in the gaps. She wants to know what happened to her friend Cassie and how she lost her memories.  Where her situation may have broken others, Sam was determined to move on. She is clearly shaken and scared and doesn’t really know what to make of her life, but she is going to keep on living it.  The most important thing is that her memory loss gives her a second chance. She is appalled by the Before Samantha and honestly she was not a nice person. However, it takes a strong person to acknowledge that and try to make up for it; which is exactly what After Samantha does.

We then have Carson who is incredibly swoony; he is sweet and caring. He helps Samantha even though she was horrible to him. He stands by her side when everyone else she knew turns on her. He has faith in her when she lacks faith in herself. Carson always knows the perfect thing to say and is everything you want in a book boyfriend.

I loved though that the romance in this one was secondary to everything else. It was there and it was prominent, but the main factor was Samantha and the mystery surrounding her memory loss. The story is truly about Samantha coping with the after effects of that night and trying to unravel the fragments in her memory.

This book will keep you on your toes. It is so hard to put together the mystery. I swear, I changed my mind on the suspect pretty much every single chapter. I was able to put together some of the pieces, but I was never ever sure, I only had really strong guesses. No matter what I guessed or suspected I never had that moment where I went “yes that’s it” and I was 100% sure in my answer. I can’t even tell you how many times I changed my mind and when the moment with the big reveal came, I still hadn’t pieced it all together until Sam did.

Don’t Look Back is a highly addictive read and I dare you to put it down. JLA delivers again and continues to show how diverse she is with her writing. It delivers everything we have come to expect from her, but it also adds so much more and I seriously hope we get to read more contemporary thrillers from her.


  1. JLA sure knows how to write the swoon and I like her YA stuff better. I have this one coming up soon and I'm excited to read it!

  2. It's nice when a mystery is so well done that you don't immediately figure it out. It's no surprise you loved Don't Look Back!

  3. I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS ONE! AH! It just sounds like another amazing book by this amazing woman! I like that the heroine is different and I love the way the story sounds. And I know if you love it, well, I know I will as well! TERESA! I cannot wait for this one! (Though it does come out tomorrow) :D Loved your review to pieces!

  4. YAY! I was so surprised by this one! I knew JLA would rock it, but it's not my usual type of read! I was immediately drawn in and I couldn't put it down. I freaking loved Carson too!!! Sigh. He was amazing. And while the romance didn't take a front seat, it was still so perfectly put in! :) Great review lovely!

  5. Whoa! Your favorite JLA?? This must be one amazing read, Teresa! I can't wait to read it!

  6. I love everything about this -- from the cover and the synopsis to the mystery you describe in this awesome review. I am really looking forward to starting this book and trying to piece everything together! I also like that the romance is secondary and the mystery takes first place. I love these kinds of stories, and I love JLA so this is going to be fabulous. Wonderful review! *Squish*

  7. Yes, I love how determined Sam was. I like books with memory loss usually but not so much the mystery/murder angle, but really enjoyed it here

  8. I agree with your conclusion whole heartily. I wouldn't have picked this up without JLA being the author. If she writes, I will read it.

  9. Wow! Sam's story sounds awesome! I love that the story centered on romance, and Sam's character growth, but love that there was romance as well. Carson sounds swoon, and I love a good mystery that's hard to solve, and not predictable. Excellent Review Teresa! I agree, everything JLA sites is great!!!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  10. awesome review, I love a mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end

  11. So happy you loved this, but then again, was there ever any doubt?! Lol. Your review is def spot on and I loved how it was more about the mystery than the romance, too.

    1. Haha no there really wasn't any doubt! I mean, its JLA, everything she writes is awesome.


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