Quick review for a somewhat quick read (at least when I wasn’t mega book hopping and in-between trying to get this book off reserve at my library – it was very popular). “Don’t Look Back” might be one of my favorite titles in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s bibliography. I love mystery/suspense/psychological thriller, so I knew this book would be up my alley. It’s an apt mystery, centered on a young woman named Sam who has lost her memory after a night of horrible events. When she’s found by an officer wandering around a park- she doesn’t remember who she is or how she got there, and Cassie – her purported best friend – is said to have gone missing with her for four days.
The narrative does a great job of letting you get a chance to know the surrounding cast and following Sam’s social insecurities and internal struggles with trying to get her memory back. I definitely found myself feeling for her, even when I found myself cringing alongside her when figuring out the person she used to be. Sam was something of a queen bee at her school – constantly asserting her power and undermining others who didn’t come from the same status and position of privilege that she had. Part of it had to do with her relationship with Cassie, and I’ll admit it felt great when Sam decided to take charge and make her own decisions as to who would be in her life versus relying simply on the memories/labels that others fed to her. When Cassie’s fate was revealed, I wasn’t surprised, but I was intrigued to see who might’ve been the culprit behind the whole thing and the incident that happened that fatal night with Sam being caught in the mix.
There’s a bit of instalust as the narrative explores Sam’s relationship with Carson, but on the whole, I liked watching Sam and Carson’s relationship develop over the course of the narrative. I also liked Sam’s relationship with her twin brother and how much he was willing to stick up for his sister (and it felt so satisfying to see him punch a certain character in the face in the course of the narrative. It was much deserved.)
The final march towards the end threw a few curveballs, but in the end, the conclusion to the mystery was a satisfying one, as well as the ending. I had guessed it in part, but I didn’t really know the details as to the why, and I thought that was done well. Overall, it was an entertaining read, and certainly a title that stood out to me in its respective genre in YA.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.