17 April 2014

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout [REVIEW & GIVEAWAY]

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: No
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: April 10th 2014
Source: Bought

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?

Don't Look Back is a book I was impatiently anticipating ever since I heard about it because it's a Jennifer L. Armentrout book and I seriously love every single book of hers I've read so far. So, when I heard about Don't Look Back and saw that it was a contemporary thriller, I was super excited because it's so different from everything else she's written. And honestly, I just really wanted to get my hands on it.

Don't Look Back follows 17 year old Samantha who disappeared one night with her best friend, Cassie, and then resurfaces with no memories or recollection of what happened to her. As Sam tries to fit back into her old life, she realises that she doesn't want any part of it. The old Sam was such a horrible person, and Sam doesn't want to be like that anymore. Since Sam has no memories she feels like she's getting a second chance. She's also falling hard for Carson, an old childhood friend, but the old Sam treated him like shit. Although Sam has returned, Cassie is still missing. Someone knows what happened that night and it trying to keep Sam quiet. But Sam is determined to unlock her memories and find out what really happened. But Sam's amnesia might be the only thing keeping her alive.

As soon as I started Don't Look Back I was hooked. We pick up with Sam walking down a road and a police car pulling up in front of her. She has no idea who she is or where she is and that immediately drew me in. I wanted to know why she had no memory of who she was and what had happened to her since she was covered in bruises, scrapes and blood.

Samantha was a character that I really admired. She did her best to stay strong and try to adapt to a life she has no memory of. Sam has basically went through a complete personality change. No one believes her at first and they think she's just recovering, but Sam is no longer the bitch she used to be, she changed into a sweet, caring, thoughtful and friendly character. Not everyone is willing to accept the new Sam and a lot of people in school still treat her like the old Sam. But everyone close to her notices the change and I have to say, I loved the new Sam. We were given glimpses of the old Sam when something triggered a memory, and the old Sam was really horrible. I also admired her determination to not give up on Cassie. No matter how many people told her that Cassie was a horrible person and that not a lot of people would miss her, Sam wouldn't give up on her. She felt she owed it to Cassie.

Carson Oritz is definitely JLA's most swoon-worthy guy yet. Honestly, I didn't think anyone would be able to beat Daemon (Lux), but Car was just perfection right from the start. OK, sure, he may have been a jerk to Sam at the beginning, but he had a valid reason. Samantha had been a complete bitch to him for the past couple of years, so obviously he wasn't going to believe that her whole personality had changed basically overnight. Carson is the son of one of the workers Samantha's dad has hired, so Sam's mother doesn't approve of him being around her children because he's not of their class. But Carson doesn't care. Carson is the sweetest, loveliest, most caring, charming and most adorable guy I've ever read about. I literally fell head over heels for him, just like Sam did.

There were quite a few secondary characters as well. We had Sam's friends e.g. Veronica, Candy, etc. who were all complete bitches. I honestly couldn't believe Sam used to be friends with them and used to basically be their leader. She was so different from them and I couldn't wrap my head around it. There was also Scott - who is Sam's brother. From what I could gather, Sam and Scott hadn't been very close before, but they grew extremely close as the book went on. Scott was always there for Sam, and he always had her back. He was a fantastic brother. We also had Julie - Scott's girlfriend and one of Sam's ex-BFF's. Honestly, we never really found out the real reason of what went down between those two that cause Sam to break off the friendship, but I'm so glad they got a second chance to be friends. Julie is such a lovely character and I loved seeing her and Sam bond again. And then we had Del - Sam's boyfriend. Right from the start I wasn't sold on Del. He was really creeping me out and it was so obvious that he was completely lying to Sam, but she never questioned him. I never warmed up to him. 

So, now on the the storyline. I will say, the whole book was a complete mind-fuck. I honestly had no idea what the hell was going to happen and I was basically suspicious of nearly every single character. There were actually times when I was reading the book with narrowed eyes trying to figure everything out. But straight off the bat the story hooked me in. A girl and her friend going missing and one of the girls showing up with no memory of what happened? Yeah, of course it hooked me in straight away. I loved unravelling everything with Sam and discovering more about it. It was such a great experience getting to learn about Sam along with her since she had no recollection of her life before or what she used to be like. I also really loved seeing the flashes of the Old Sam when her memory was triggered. She wasn't getting anything concrete to begin with, and then she started remembering full conversations or maybe just little things from when she was young, and they all helped me get to know Sam better. Finding out what had happened to Cassie was the main part of the storyline and I was just as desperate as Sam to find out what actually happened the night they both disappeared.

The ending was so freaking crazy. My jaw hit the floor when I worked out a split second before Sam did who had done it. Everyone in the book was a suspect in my eyes, but I was so shocked by who it was that I just kind of stared at my kindle for a bit. There'd been a moment a chapter or two before when I'd suspected someone else and I was so close to tears because I didn't want it to be them (which, thankfully, it wasn't) but I was so damn thrown by who it actually was. Jennifer L. Armentrout sure knows how to throw a curve ball. Honestly, I ended up in tears because of how emotional the ending was because we finally knew who had done it and what had really happened that night. And it was definitely shocking.

The epilogue at the end left me with a massive grin on my face. It was such a great way to end the book and I absolutely loved it. 

Overall, Don't Look Back has definitely been my favourite of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books so far. It was full of mystery and suspense, I had a massive list of suspects and I was kept on my toes until the very end. I completely loved it.

So, because Don't Look Back has became one of my all time favourite books, I've decided to host a giveaway and give one lucky person the chance to win a copy of the book!


1. The Giveaway is International (as long as the Book Depository ships to your country)
2. You must be 16 years or over to enter (Or have your parents permission if you're younger)
3. If the winner doesn't respond after 48 hours, I will pick another winner

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa. Just the finale of it. Ugh <3 haha

  2. I was really excited for Half Bad by Sally Green since I'd heard so much about it. And now I have it and haven't read it. ==' Awesome review for Don't Look Back! I haven't seen this cover before. I've been planning to read a JLA book for the longest time and still haven't gotten around to reading one. Maybe this will be my first? :D Thank you for hosting the giveaway!

  3. I agree that this was a complete page turner! I stayed up late at night to finish it cause I couldn't go to sleep till I was done with the book!
    And I agree, I was quite upset when I suspected a pair of character of being the bad guy, but who the actual bad guy was, I didn't suspect like till a page before Sam figures it out!
    Great review, Samantha!

  4. The book I am most excited to read is City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare !

  5. I am waiting for Isla and the Happily Ever After!

  6. I think it would be The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Although I can't wait to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

  7. I am dyyying for Isla and the happily ever after by Stephanie Perkins

  8. I'd dying to read On the Fence by Kasie West and Take Me On by Katie McGarry! :D By the way, great review! I'm looking forward to Don't Look Back!

  9. I am still waiting for Isla and the happily ever after to come out :D

  10. I am impatiently waiting for what feels like a million books this year. One of the biggest ones I am waiting for is for the final Mara Dyer book to finally come out. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  11. Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway, first and foremost :D Aside from this book, I am HIGHLY anticipating Heir of Fire (Book 3 of Throne of Glass) By Sarah J.Maas, To All the Boys I Have Loved Before By Jenny Han, and Take Me On By Katie McGarry :D

  12. I swear all Jennifer L. Armentrout's books are always amazing, I really need to get around to reading more of them! The books I'm looking forward to this year are City of Heavenly Fire, To All The Boys I've Loved Before and Everything Leads To You!

  13. It's great when a highly anticipated book delivers :D Mind-fuck books can be great, haha. I love it when a book makes me guess and confused.(as long as the book ends well, which seems to be the case here!)

  14. I am dying to read Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas. But there are so many other books as well I can't wait to read.

  15. Hmm... probably the retribution of Mara Dyer!

  16. I loved that it kept me guessing until the end!!!I really enjoyed the final outcome!!If you are looking for a mysterious,psychological thriller with captivating characters, this is what you need!!

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