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young adult book reviews & more

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Ever since her parents died, Noa has been a victim of the system, shuffled in and out of foster care. Now sixteen, she’s finally found a way to beat the system by using her hacker skills to create herself a quiet and comfortable life. But whatever sense of calm Noa had built up for herself shatters when she wakes up on an operating table in a warehouse and no memory of how she could have gotten there. On the run from an enemy she doesn’t even know, Noa crosses paths with Peter, a fellow hacker. He needs her help digging up info on a mysterious corporation that seems to be after him, and, though she doesn’t realize it at first, she needs his help too. It turns out that both have unwittingly become embroiled in a terrible plot involving disappearing kids and controversial human experimentation—and their enemies will stop at nothing to keep their deadly secrets from being exposed.

When I picked up Don’t Turn Around, I was hoping for a lot of great action, and thankfully, that’s what I got. The plot of this book is absolutely packed full of serious threats, desperate chases, fights, escapes, and close calls, which makes reading all of it certainly a thrilling experience. Noa’s and Peter’s hacking efforts added another layer of excitement to this story, and I found that the mystery and investigation aspect of the plot was quite smart and well structured as well. So overall, the action-packed plot most definitely lived up to my expectations. However, I did find myself distracted at times while reading because some of the exposition and descriptions were awkwardly integrated into the story; while I did enjoy learning these little details about various characters, more often than not they weren’t necessary to the plot and caused the pacing in these instances to lag a bit. Despite this, I was thoroughly entertained by Don’t Turn Around and look forward to seeing where Noa’s and Peter’s paths will take them next.

Don’t Turn Around will be enjoyed by readers who also liked The Lab by Jack Heath, A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan, Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein, and Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher HarperCollins

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