Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

Don't Look Back

Synopsis from Good Reads:

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?

When I read a mystery/thriller I want to be surprised, but I also want to figure it out. I want for it not to be obvious right away, but I don’t want the end coming out of left field, either. I had about three big suspects throughout most of the book: Sam’s boyfriend, Del, her childhood friend, Carson, and her dad. At different times I leaned heavily into one of these three, only to change my mind soon after. Once I became positive of who it was, I was wrong about the motivation at first. It took a couple more chapters for me to figure it all out, but after that everything else that happened until the big reveal seemed a little like filler to me. However overall, I think it was written really well.

Sam was a likable character, but I didn’t like that her loss of memory changed her whole personality. I mean, it’s an improvement, but it felt too easy that she didn’t have to really take responsibility for her mean girl past. I would’ve liked a little more of the brief glances of memory we see of her past life, just to round out her character a little more. I also would’ve liked more of those memories to involve Cassie. We barely get anything about her.

I really liked Sam’s brother, Scott, and would’ve liked more of him. I mostly liked Carson, but he’s not my favorite Armentrout Guy by a long shot. Sam’s parents, friends – old and new – and boyfriend all could have been developed a little more for me, as well.

Overall, I did enjoy Don’t Look Back. It was a good mystery with twists and turns with an ending that made sense. Sam’s story as she tries to piece together her old life and figure out what happened the night she disappeared, while beginning to question her own sanity kept me up late into the night.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Average: 3.5 stars


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