In DON'T LOOK BACK mean girl Samantha is found covered in blood wandering around in the woods. She has no idea how she got there, who she is and why she is there. When she gets home her family tells her that she isn't the only one who went missing:
Reminiscent of Mara Dyer- But Better
I love memory loss novels. This is exactly my niche. DON'T LOOK BACK has all the things I missed in THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER. Essentially the story lines are very similar: Girl is involved in an "accident", has no recollection of what happened, but is sure that she played a significant role.
In Mara Dyer, we obviously have a supernatural protagonist. In Sam, we just have an ordinary girl that is involved in some serious high school drama de luxe. I love novels about mean characters, about unlikeable, terrible people who have their reasons for being like this; Or who are maybe just bratty teenagers. It's insanely interesting to have her react to all the terrible things she did before the incident. There's nothing more entertaining to me than mean girls redeeming themselves.
The love interest Carson is just an overall cutie that is just the perfect guy next door. He's the son of their gardener and their romance is really adorable. Still, I'm not a fan of romance as a side plot and I would have preferred either having those two star in an all-romance novel instead of being hastily dealt with in a thriller.
I Didn't See That Ending Coming
Just as in every young adult novel we have a sloppy romance plot in here. I didn't like it the slightest bit and I thought it was extremely unnecessary. Even though the characters, from mean girls to servant's kids to Samantha's family, are all planned out very well, their relations to each other are very cliche. Armentrout obviously took the safe route and only paired stereotypical characters together:
Her brother with the old friend, the mean girls with someone else's boyfriends, the unhappily married unequal couples - the novel is full of things that I've read about dozens of times in literature. Not even once she seems to take a plunge and debut a new idea. In general, you can pretty much say that the novel is a mashup of all clichés in the genres that it combines.
BUT- this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. I did enjoy the novel and despite all the cliché characters, Armentrout manages to shock and produce a decent thriller. It's not scary or actually thrilling in the least, but it keeps you up on your toes. I wanted to know desperately how it ends.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
It's all that THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER couldn't be. This novel gives you the notion to be predictable read, but it really isn't. You will want to desperately continue and find out what happens next.
"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?"