Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon | Book Review #150


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 hacking skills to stay anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in a 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 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.”
Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, Guns & Gun Violence, Rape Mention, Death

Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon is:

  • first in a trilogy
  • Young Adult Sci-Fi Thriller/Mystery
  • 336 pages (paperback)

When I first found this book, I was browsing through the library. I like this particular library because they have quite a few books in paperback, and I find library paperbacks such a breeze to read. Anyway. I found Don’t Turn Around and saw that the front cover has “OFF THE GRID. ON THE RUN.” on it. I was drew in by that, because, hey, that in itself sound interesting. And then I flip the book over to read the synopsis of the book and what sticks out most is: “Don’t tell your secrets. A whisper can betray you. Don’t trust anyone. Not even yourself.

The synopsis on the back of the book as to what it is on Goodreads. The synopsis on the back reads:

“Sixteen-year-old Noa wakes up on a table with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there. A computer hacker who’s been living off the grid. Noa needs help to discover who’s hunting her and why. Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. But what they both 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.”

When I read that, I thought that Peter, the leader of the hacker alliance, kidnapped Noa and such. But no, the book versus my initial thoughts on what actually happens are so vastly different, it’s almost funny.

I managed to read Don’t Turn Back in one sitting, and didn’t really take any notes. So I’m doing my best as it is to recap everything that went down, and how I found the story to be.

There are two point’s of view in Don’t Turn Around. The first belongs to Noa, the second, Peter. I like Noa’s character way better than I did Peter. Noa just has this aura about her that feels like she could -and would- gladly take on the world. While Peter had this I’m-above-you aura to him that just pissed me off, but soon enough Peter’s walls came down and we get to know him a little more personally.

I like Noa. She’s tough, and yeah, she’s got a past that haunts her, but who wouldn’t be haunted with a past like hers?! Aside from that, Noa has great instincts that have been sharpened over the years and she’s learned to trust her instincts. Which is great, because they’ve saved her a few times in this book, and I have no doubt that they’ll save her in the next books as well.

I was a little irked by Peter in the beginning. His character is so….preppy-rich-boy. And that just irks me that he acted the way he did, because he totally didn’t have to! Peter also has a stretched relationship with parents. Like, Peter and his parents are almost estranged from each other. They’re all under the same roof, his parents just don’t pay attention. Other than that, he can act a little cocky with his hacking abilities. He’s a good kid though.

I was a little annoyed in the beginning while reading, because the points of view between Noa and Peter kept flipping in the same chapter. Noa would get a like, two-and-a-half pages, and then Peter would get the remaining two-and-a-half pages, and then the chapter would end.

A while after that the shared chapters start, the chapters and points of view seem to sort themselves out. That, or I just got so immersed in this story that I stopped paying attention to where the chapters started and ended. I mean, it’s happened many, many, many times before. — I also didn’t like that there was another point of view that came into play almost halfway into the book. We don’t see much of this character, thankfully. – I really don’t like this character… But I just know that there’ll be more of this person in the next book. I’m hoping we don’t see much of them though.

What ticks me off in dystopian novels is that there’s always a loss in the first book that is so unnecessary! I wonder if this character knew there were going to die?? I mean, they knew it was a possibility, but it still hurts. I also wonder what this person  was thinking about when they knew that they would die. Also maybe how it went down. …I’m just super curious about that.

What I ended up liking about the novel is the way the story progressed. The book really does start with Noa on a table, with no idea where she is. And then from then on, the story is pretty much go-go-go, don’t stop. I don’t want to say much and end up spoiling the whole book though, so I’m leaving it at that.

I like what I read. I will indeed be reading the next book, and probably third book as well; depending on how the second book ends. I’m very interested in what happens next, because the ending of this first book was too good in my opinion. I can’t ignore it! Ahaha. Seriously though, I love those types of endings when the story is interesting enough, but could also be left at that. And you certainly could leave this book as a stand alone if you truly wanted to, but I don’t because the way that Don’t Turn Around ended had me on the edge of my seat ready for more action to be put into play.

That’s all I’ve got to say for now about Don’t Turn Around! Thank you so much for reading/checking out my review of this book.

Happy Reading!

2 thoughts on “Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon | Book Review #150

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