Monday, 7 April 2014

Review: Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: April 10, 2014      

What cover do you prefer?



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?

 I actually really love both covers, they give the creepy atmosphere it deserves and they both fit the story perfectly.

Two disappear. Only one comes back.
Don't Look Back was one of my most anticipated of 2014 for multiple reasons, psychological thrillers are my type of book. I just love everything about them and of course, Don't Look Back delivered, and let's be honest,  Jennifer L Armentrout never disappoints.
Sam doesn't remember the night she and her supposed best friend disappeared. She just knows something terrible had happened. She doesn't know who she is, what her name is, her parents, her twin brother, her friends, her boyfriend. All those memories gone. Dissociative amnesia is not to get mixed up with Selective amnesia,  though it is similar and can be faked. It's also not to get mixed up with Dissociative Identity Disorder, because while it's in the same Dissociative Disorder family of mental illnesses, it is not exactly the same thing. And while Now Sam is a completely different person to Before Sam, she is not an Alter.
Dissociative amnesia happens when someone's under duress stress or/and a traumatic event, they block out whatever transpires, and while selective amnesia blocks out that event, with Dissociative amnesia, it runs a lot deeper than just that event being blocked out. Personal information, names, people, simple things about yourself, your family are in your brain somewhere, you just simply cannot  access them, you may or may not ever access them. Imagine that, something terrible has happened and you can't remember, you want to remember, but you can't. It's one of the most horrific things, besides that, you can't remember anything about yourself or the person you're surrounded by. But, they can be triggered by your surroundings, of that night, or just something personal of yours.
You might feel a little disconnected to Sam at first, because after all, if she doesn't know who she is, how are you supposed to get a feel for who she is? But honestly, I connected with her instantly. She's a little lost and she may not know who she is, but as she slowly finds out, she knows who she morally wants to be, and that's nothing like Before Sam. The Before Sam though, had that in her, there was just so much pressure on her that she just didn't fight for herself. Forgetting everything, she kind's of a blank slate, and she doesn't waste it.
The atmosphere itself is creepy, and you know how I like creepy.  I think in Don't Look Back that's more because we get to know things while Sam does, and because of her condition we don't know who to trust, we have misleading clues, misleading characters,  so we're going in blind ourselves, and it's so much more fun that way. And guess what? I didn't guess correctly. Bonus points.
So, the romance was...let's put it this way. Electric and sexy. AND NO LOVE TRIANGLE. Not really, not in a way it counted, anyway. And really, there was no competition at all. Carson is the good guy, but in a completely rough way. He's is not perfect, but he's a strong character, and though he tries to hide it, he's completely in love with Sam, even when she was Before Sam. He's protective of her, and you can really tell how much he just wants to help her and he quickly becomes her best friend again.
The love triangle that doesn't really count? Includes Del, the boyfriend she can't remember. The boyfriend that's supposed to love her and be that person that Carson wants to be, and Del is. just. not. Of course Sam doesn't remember him, or what she felt about him, whereas she get's feelings and senses with Carson, there's just nothing there with Del. It's also called intuition. Now, the only thing I'll say about Del is 'Del the dick' is nicknamed very well. Very, very well. We also get to know why he's nicknamed Deal the Dick. Really, irony at its finest, since it involves his...Yeah, I went there.
With creepy, goose bump induced scenes, Don't Look Back is a mystery with loveable and hateable characters,  full on Mean Girls characters, sexy romance and a psychological aspect that'll keep you guessing until the end.

~A proof copy was provided  by Hodder Childrens in exchange for an honest review~ Thanks to the Chapter 5 team!~

 Rating: 5/5