Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Samantha has no memory of who she is or how she ended up bruised and battered. When she ends up in the hospital and her parents arrive, she doesn’t recognize them. As Sam tries to adjust to her unfamiliar life, the more she learns about who she is and it isn’t a pretty picture. Nobody seemed to understand the difficulty of trying to fall back into a life that doesn’t feel like her own. Her best friend Cassie is still missing, and somewhere locked away in Sam’s head are the answers to both girls’ disappearance. The only one who seems to understand her is her former childhood best friend Carson, a boy that she supposedly hated. When someone begins to leave Sam mysterious letters warning her that her memories if recovered spell danger, Sam must decide if finding the truth is worth the risk.
“Tucked halfway under the blanket was a piece of yellow paper folded into a triangle. Positive that it hadn’t been there this morning, I pulled the slip of paper out and slowly unfolded it.
My breath caught and I dropped the letter, scuttling back on the bed. Pulse racing, I closed my eyes, but I could still see the words.
Don’t look back. You won’t like what you find.”
What would you do if you couldn’t remember who you were, and the memories locked away in your subconscious could help solve another girl’s disappearance? This is what happens to Sam in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Don’t Look Back. What makes the protagonist’s story so compelling is the dissonance between Sam’s new personalty and her old one. According to everyone who knew her, she took great pleasure in other people’s misery. As Sam tries to decide whether or not she can reconcile relationships from her past with the person she is today, she finds the distance between her and those she was once close with growing. At the same time she discovers she has a better relationship with her brother and two former friends.
There are a few flat characters in this novel who don’t have much to contribute to the story besides reminding Sam of how awful she once was. There were also a couple of characters that I wanted to know more about but who were given very little page time. Sam’s mother for instance, I suppose she functions as a parental antagonist to Sam, but she floated in and out of the story, making it difficult to feel anything for her. When she did show up, you kind of just wanted to smack her. Some of what she said was so profoundly unrealistic and her lack of redeeming qualities, left me either hating her or wondering what to do with her. Sam’s friends Veronica and Candy, both the epitome of the mean girl, are also really flat characters. Then again the girl’s name is Candy. Is there really any hope there? Don’t even get me started on Sam’s boyfriend Del. Talk about a sleazeball.
The mystery rather than the characters in Don’t Look Back is what kept me interested in the story. It left me guessing and questioning the motives of those surrounding Sam and even Sam herself.