Sunday, April 6, 2014

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 had resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened 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 and 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 when the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night aren't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory- someone else she 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. 

Non-Spoiler Review

I think that this is one of, if not the, best book Jennifer L. Armentrout has written. It was a perfect mix of romance and mystery. I gave this book basically five stars because I thought everything about it was perfect: the plot, the characters, the romance. This book is about a girl, Samantha, who has lost her memories during an accident. She was told she had been with her best friend, Cassie, who is still not found. The book follows Sam as she tries to not only uncover the memories of her life, but also what happened to Cassie. That's about the briefest summary I can give without giving away anything, I seriously recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery! 

Spoiler-Filled Review

If it wasn't already completely obvious. I absolutely loved this book. From the first chapter I was hooked in and I couldn't stop reading it. Since I was reading most of this book at night, I was literally crying during some of the scenes because so much of it was so creepy. 
I loved all of the characters. They were all so relatable and each of them had their own reasons and backstory to their actions. My favorite character was definitely Scott. He seemed like the best big brother and he was just a likable guy. Him and Julie have the cutest relationship ever. I liked Carson a lot too, although there was one part in the book where he bothered me the slightest bit (which I'll mention later).

Being inside Sam's head was probably the scariest thing ever. One of the scariest scenes was when she went up to the cliff alone to see if she remembered anything. When she was walking back, there was a figure dressed in black and blue following her, which in itself was scary. Then she got to the car and there was a note, alright a little bit scarier. Then, she saw the faceless figure in the back of her car, which honestly scared the crap out of me. It gives me the shudders just thinking about it. 
There were a few thing about Sam's situation that were really cool. The first was how her subconscious was basically talking to her and warning her. Not knowing the notes gave the message a really creepy tone but once we found out that she wrote them to herself, I saw that they were more encouragement than anything. Another thing that I thought was really cool was the fact that she got a second chance at living her life. Although it wasn't easy, she was able to create a new reputation for herself and become a better person.

The only reason I didn't give it a complete 5 was because they never really explained exactly what caused such a personality change in Sam. I think it might just have been the idea of being "cool" and fitting in with the popular group, but it never was confirmed.

Throughout most of the book, I suspected that Del had something to do with Cassie's murder, however, at one point he became too obvious an option, and then I started panicking that Carson would be guilty, because every time I like a hot guy in a book, he's usually evil. Thankfully it wasn't Carson, and I can genuinely say that the end surprised me. I predicted that Cassie and Sam would end up being sisters but I didn't think that Sam's dad could have been the one to kill Cassie and injure Sam, simply because he didn't want his affair to leak so he could keep his job and the money. For me, it's just hard to think that a parent could be that selfish and insensitive.

One theme that's really prevalent in this book is the idea of reputation and social status. So many actions of so many questions are guided by the fact that certain characters had to uphold a certain reputation in front of the rest of society. That's why Sam's mother kept forcing Del and Sam together, rather than Carson and Sam, simply because Del was of the proper social class. It didn't matter what Del had done in the past, but because he was of money too, Sam should date him. From the mother's point of view, I don't think it was entirely dependent on social status, but she knew that her situation with her husband sucked and she didn't want Sam to go through that as well. 
I don't think the mother knew what the father did, but she definitely sensed something was wrong. By applying her own situation to Sam's life, she didn't want Sam to pick a husband that was so completely dependent on her for money or anything that he would have to go to extremes to remain wealthy. 

I really, really enjoyed this book! All of the stories were intertwined so perfectly that it was so easy to get into and read. I got this book as an ARC from my library, but the hardcover version will be released April 15th, be sure to pick up a copy, it's definitely worth the read!