Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around

Publisher: HarperCollins

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms.

But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour the story of Noa, a teen soul mate to Lisbeth Salander.

This is said to be a book that feels similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but for teens, and I’d have to agree. It has a similar flow and style, and the two main characters have a slightly similar aesthetic as Lisbeth and Mikael. That being said if you have read Tattoo then don’t expect a carbon copy and the similarities are vague enough that it is certainly its own story.

I’d say the overall premise of this one is what caught my eye, it’s not everyday that I run across a book that’s heavy on the more technological aspect of the present day. So I was curious to see how well a YA novel could pull off explaining the intricacies and complexity of hacking and not make it sound like a computer manual, and I’d have to say that Gagnon pulled it off. You can tell she did some serious research and while not all of it may be true, it certainly felt that way. There is also the heavy topic of kids in social care and how easy it is for them to be pushed to the side, which Gagnon highlights by adding the seriously creepy threat of kids being abducted and used as laboratory rats. AMRF is a rather shadowy figure in the book and while their presence is mostly certainly felt the entire time, you don’t actually learn a whole lot about them. The reasoning behind their shady dealings is revealed in part but I can’t help but feel there is much more to it, and I’m hoping the second book touch on that.

Noa is one tough cookie and I liked her depth. She has a lot of emotional scarring from her past and she’s put up a sort of protective barrier around her, but at the same time throughout the book you get these wonderful glimpses of her true feelings. I liked that even though she’s capable of doing some incredibly brave things, she’s capable of feeling fear and uncertainty. Peter took a while for me to like because I kind of typed cast him as the rich kid of with too much time on his hands, but as his story unfolds you find that the kid has a real heart and all of the work his done is extraordinary for one so young (and privileged). The relationship between Peter and Noa was one that moves from being tense to one of friendship, with more slowly budding under the surface. It’s nice to see a relationship in a YA novel that doesn’t immediately spring forth, I like the added tension and the earned trust. It makes the relationship worth my time.

The way the novel tied up really left me wanting more, because there are some questions left unanswered and Gagnon really opened up the reader (and the characters) to how big this whole AMRF thing is. I’ll certainly be looking forward to continuing this series.

You can purchase Don’t Turn Around on Amazon:

Don’t Turn Around

Other books by Michelle Gagnon:

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2013) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

  1. Melody says:

    This book has been on my shelf for awhile and the more reviews I read, the more excited I am to get to it! Great review!

  2. Christy @ Love of Books says:

    Noa sounds like a character I’d really like. Well, I haven’t read or watch TGWTDT, so no worries from me about comparing. lol. Great review, Michele!

  3. *facepalm* i own the Dragon Tattoo series and still haven’t read them. Nora sounds cool , i really want to read this awesome review!

  4. jeneaw0716 says:

    Sounds fantastic. Hopefully I can get it from my library. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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