Publication Date:April 15th, 2014
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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?
Hey, look, another JLA book. So of course when my drug dealer(the postman) delivered my crack and like any good addict there was no waiting before I devoured this book. Especially because it was a new genre for JLA. We know her for her awesome paranormal romances and new adult. This one my friends is a stand-alone thriller. And man does it pack in the suspense. But don't worry, there's a hot guy too. I think it's literally impossible for JLA to write a book not packed full of swoon.
Our MC is Samantha and she's just turned up after 5 days missing with amnesia. So pretty much we get right into the mystery. Samantha and her best friend Cassie went missing and then Sam is the only one to turn up. What happened? Where is Cassie? Where were they? With Sam not remembering anything, not her name, family, life, etc... and the fact that she returned without Cassie has left her in a very shady situation. Her family and friends are just relieved to have her back. But you can tell the cops are a little weary of her supposed amnesia.
We quickly start to realize what kind of person Sam was before she disappeared. A mean girl. And the top mean girl at that. She was absolutely horrible to everyone even her twin brother. Apparently she wasn't always like that. She started to turn into an outright bitch when she started hanging out with Cassie before starting high school. But because she doesn't remember her past self she's shocked to learn that she's now acting differently. Her brother and parents keep saying how weird it is having her being nice to them. Her friends are weary with how she's dressing(very casually instead of the high end). And she's sticking up for classmates she previously would have been the first to shot down with a nasty comment or remark. That's what I love about the after Sam, she's realized she has a second chance and she's taking full advantage of that. She's being who she wants to be, talking and hanging out with who she wants to and she has no qualms or second thoughts about telling someone that is being rude or racist where to shove it.
But after Sam comes with some problems too. She's having sudden flashes of the night she disappeared. Not full memories necessarily, just images to begin with. She's receiving notes with warnings. And she's got the feeling that someone is watching her or even following her. Sam's scared and doesn't know what to do. The police are all over her, she's falling out with her supposed friends and boyfriend and her brother has told her to ignore it. Maybe she's going crazy? That's how everyone is making her feel anyhow. So she ends up turning to her childhood friend, Carson.
Oh, Carson. When JLA said he was her most swoon-worthy guy so far she wasn't lying. Car is near perfect. *dies of swoon* Car is the son of the "help". He and his father live in the guest house of Sam's families estate. His father takes care of a lot of the household maintenance and such. Car and Sam used to be best friends until she started hanging out with Cassie and then she was an absolute terror to him like she was to everyone else. But Car remained best friends with her brother. It's obvious he never stopped caring for her, he clearly always hoped she'd return to her old self at some point. And now that Sam has, Car is the first one to be by her side helping her through everything. He's adorable, trusting and caring. And the only one to believe everything Sam says is happening to her. God, I love him. It's obvious Sam does too. Well, at least their attraction is just screaming between them.
JLA does her job brilliantly when she wrote Don't Look Back. I was absolutely suspicious of EVERYONE. At some point throughout reading, I was 100% sure it was one person or another. My mind was changed every few pages. I even thought it was Car at one point. And well there might have been booking throwing involved when I got there. How dare JLA put me in a position to suspect Car! That's just mean.
There are secrets at every turn as well. There was not one character carrying some big secret that had Sam(and me) thinking "what the hell?". There was always someone hiding something or lying to Sam when she thought she was getting somewhere with Cassie's disappearance. She'd have a flashback and someone would ask her what she remembered with a look of total desperation on their face. And she'd tell them it was nothing really, and you could just see them deflate with relief. It was just another way JLA would have you suspecting someone.
If you are a little weary of picking up Don't Look Back because it's something totally new from JLA. Don't be. JLA packs in the suspense, secrets, and swoon. She always knows where to hit her reader and it's one the reasons she's quickly become one of my favourite authors. The only downside to reading this book is that it's a stand alone. I sure could go for some more Sam and Car. Hopefully, JLA has a little something more hidden up her selves. A few extra scenes she's like to share. Please!