Sunday, August 11, 2013

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Don't Look Now by Michelle Gagnon

The jaw-dropping sequel to breakout YA thriller Don't Turn Around, which Kirkus Reviews named a Best Book of the Year, calling it "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, a surefire hit"
Noa Torsen is on the run. Having outsmarted the sinister corporation Pike & Dolan, Noa and her friend Zeke now move stealthily across the country, protecting runaways before they become test subjects for P&D's horrific experiments. Noa knows all too well what that feels like: Whatever they did to her has left her exhausted and scared.
Back in Boston, Peter anxiously follows Noa's movements from his computer, using his hacker skills to feed her the information she needs to stay alive. But he's desperate to do something more, especially when he learns what P&D has done to his ex-girlfriend Amanda.
Then, in an explosive confrontation, Noa and her team are trapped in the one place they thought was safe. It will take everything Noa and Peter have to bring down the corporation before it gets them first. And with no one to trust and enemies hiding at every turn, they may be the only people alive who can.

This stunning second book in the critically acclaimed Don't Turn Around trilogy raises the stakes to their absolute limit and will leave readers begging for the exciting conclusion, Don't Let Go.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 336
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

I. Love. These. Books. 

My initial reaction to the sequel was that it did not compare to Don't Turn Around. It was slower, there were too many new characters, new love interests, Noa and Peter weren't together, etc. But after the first few chapters, I was hooked! 

At first, the time lapse between book one and two was a little confusing. I was sulking because I really just liked when it was Peter and Noa. And the beginning was semi-slowish, with a lot of catch-up information. However, now that I've read two of these books I can safely say that they take a little bit to get into, but once you're invested in the story and the characters there's no going back. 

And really, by page 60 what had me hooked was the characters and the high-stakes environment each of them live in. Noa is now on the West Coast, raiding Pike & Dolan warehouses to save kidnapped children from the streets who are being inhumanely tested to find a cure for PEMA, a deadly disease infecting teens across the nation. She is with a new team, which there are four of all throughout the U.S., called Persefone's Army, after Pike & Dolan's coverup called Project Persephone. Peter is now the brains behind the operations, still living at home and going to school, but handling all the surveillance for the armies with his amazing hacking skills. 

That's one of the reasons this book is so cool--filled with badass, teenage hackers! 

Amanda, Peter's ex-girlfriend, gets more of a point of view in this book and is doing her own secretive things to save the homeless children who are in danger. Meanwhile a new character is introduced, Teo, who is saved by Noa's ragtag army and recruited. His development from the beginning of the book to the end of the book is uplifting and impactful. I was so rooting for him the entire time! 

Also--and this could be seen as a plus or a minus--many new love interests crop up. Teo and Daisy, Zeke and Noa...possibly Peter and Amanda? At first, I did not like Zeke simply because he wasn't Peter, but halfway through the book I could tell that Noa and him were perfect for each other. I absolutely loved their back-burner romance. To see Noa, who is so emotionless and hardcore, fall for Zeke and care for him so deeply was heart-warming. I thought it was both cute and cool how they were sort of the 'parents' of the army.

Speaking of Noa, she is tough-to-the-core and badass. She's the most intense main character I've ever read, and still I could relate to her so much. She was my favorite and more than anything I believed in her and wanted her to succeed. She was always the one to go back for the kids even when a raid became too dangerous. And Peter still cracked me up--he's such a genuine, lovable character. 

So, despite the amazing characters--all of the main ones having unique attributes and faults--the plot of this book was also very impressive. It was intricate, with many different layers that kept the book suspenseful and mysterious to some degree nonstop. You had a couple evil characters who seemed good; good characters who seemed bad; secrets galore; Noa's own illness coming to light; if Pike & Dolan have found the cure; trouble with Amanda; who's at fault for what; romance trouble; people dying, etc. There's just so much goodness! 

However, the most impressive part of the book was the climax. It was incredibly suspenseful not only of what was happening but also because absolutely no characters are safe. The bad guys are just as smart as the good guys. People I thought that would never die, do die, or are captured. It's sad and I almost cried at one part. However, the book does end with a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Having said all that nice stuff about the climax, there was one thing that happened that bugged the crap out of me--and still does. I can't talk about it without spilling major spoilers, but I just did not agree with the way one character ended. (GRRR). 

And lastly, there was only one other thing that annoyed me but totally wasn't a big deal at all. The texting they used was not up-to-date. They used abbreviations that aren't used presently because we almost all have full key-boards now! I just thought hackers would be current on that stuff, but maybe not! 

Overall, despite this book's one major fault (in my opinion only) I loved it and had a fun, kickass time reading it. It's a unique storyline that both girls and boys would enjoy for different reasons. Highly recommended if you like action-packed, techno-thriller novels! 

This book is on sale September of 2013! 

Buy Hardcover | $17.99


a Rafflecopter giveaway Happy reading! 

Rachel, age 17


  1. I tend to not read action/thriller books but I really enjoy those types of movies! I definitely want to read Don't Turn Around!

    1. I enjoy those types of movies as well! I hope you like Don't Turn Around!!

  2. My only Michelle Gagnon experience was with Strangelets for the tour... I didn't really enjoy it. It was an excellent attempt at post-apocalyptic thriller goodness, but I felt like it fell short throughout, and definitely at the climax. Rachel, I'm really glad you are enjoying this series! For me, the multiple love interests would be a hugehugehuge minus. I'm glad you loved the protagonist!

    I can't see myself reading another Gagnon book, but for what it's worth, this one does sound like something I *might* read :)

    Awesome, well-written review, Rachel!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Gah! I wrote this super long comment and internet went out :/

      Anywho! I agree that the love triangle-ish but not thing totally is a minus for me. That's part of the huge bone I have to pick with this book. It just rubs me the wrong way! But besides that huge problem, from a holistic view this book was fantastic. It hit the spot for me and it's a little something different than your average YA book.

      If you DO read it, I hope you enjoy it more than Strangelets, which I have not read before!

  3. I LOVED the first book and am so excited for this one! I'm kind of disappointed to hear that Noa and Peter don't get together.... I love them!
    This book does sound awesome though and I can't wait to read it!
    I agree that when people don't use current texting talk.... It feels like people should always be up to date on that!
    Awesome review!!! So excited for this book!!!

    1. I totally agree with you! That was my initial reaction and then I fell for was just a whole mess! That's the *one* part of the book I strongly disliked, but the rest is awesome! If you read this, please let me know what you thought!!! Especially about Zeke and Peter....

  4. I don't know that I have a favorite thriller, but I definitely loved Don't Turn Around, and after reading your review I can't wait to read this one : )

  5. I really enjoyed The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. They are action-packed for sure, although they really don't fit the thriller category.

    I recently red Ten by Gretchen McNeil as well and that book kept me on my toes to the very end.

    I haven't read Don't Turn Around yet, but it is on my list!

    1. I'm glad you liked TMI and TID because we have some awesome swag to giveaway soon if you're interested!

  6. I really like Elizabeth Norris series Unbreakable, Unraveling.


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