Don’t Look Back
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 truth 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?
I was stuck in a life I didn’t remember, squeezed into the shell of this girl – this Samantha Joe Franco – and the more I learned about her, the more I was starting to hate her.
It’s always a challenge when you read a book from one of your favorite authors, especially when you’ve constantly given their books 4-5 star ratings. It places a lot of expectations on the next book. It makes you wonder if this will be the book that breaks the high rating streak. I was indeed nervous about Don’t Look Back because I have loved all the JLA books I’ve read before. I was worried that I wouldn’t like this one as much, especially since it was contemporary and I was used to reading fantasy and science fiction from JLA. However, after the first couple of chapters, it was clear that I didn’t have anything to worry about. JLA always had the ability to transport me to the world she writes but Don’t Look Back was different. It was like I was the main character. It left me in more suspense than I could have imagined. Guys, I am beyond serious. There were moments were I was living each day as Samantha, that I was about to have panic attacks. I was worried I actually was going to start hallucinating! I was sweating, anxious and panicking. My heart rate was incredibly fast and it was just a wild ride.
Sammy, the new Sammy, was very likeable. I think that it would have been different had we met her before her amnesia. It was crazy because you sort of feel this disconnect between the Sam she was now and the mean, bullying Sam she was before. I liked how bold and confident she was. She went through a very traumatic experience and she came out strong. If I was in her place, I know I’d be a mess. I’d be crying all day and not wanting to face the school, the world. Sammy was a terrible bully before and honestly, if we met her at that state, she probably would not be a likeable character. Since we met her after the incident, she kind of gets a clean slate. What I love about her is that when she remembered how terrible she was, she was regretful and she wanted to change.
Scott, her twin brother, is just amazing. I am in love with him. I love how supportive he was and it seems like he was always supportive of Sammy, even when she was a monstrous person. I love protective he was over his sister without being overbearing. I loved his relationship with Julie and I love how he wasn’t like the other “rich” and “snobby” kids in school, including his past sister. Carson, Scott’s best friend, was also incredible. Even from the beginning, you could tell that he didn’t have the best relationship with Sammy yet he still gave her a second chance at redeeming herself. He is a total sweetheart and I loved every part that he was in. As for Del the Dick, Sammy’s boyfriend, well … he’s given that nickname in the book for a reason. Wow. I honestly hate his guts. As for Cassie, we’re only told about her through Sammy’s memories and from other’s opinion of her and let’s just say she wasn’t popular for being sweet. She’s pretty much the most hated person in the school so the suspects weren’t exactly a short list.
Other than the characters, the writing really shined for me. I love the way JLA wrote the book and how she paced it. She made it more suspenseful and I love that you don’t expect what is coming next. She made it so mysterious and it definitely helped me love the book even more. The plot twist in the end was just surprising! It was a real shocker. I had a couple of suspects along the way but I just didn’t have anything to stick it to this person. It was just really surprising! I felt like I was Sammy, I couldn’t trust anyone because I didn’t know who to trust. Overall, the book automatically became a favorite of mine and I’ve been doing nothing but recommending it to all my friends!