Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around
by Michelle Gagnon
Published: August 28, 2012

In Michelle Gagnon’s debut YA thriller, Don’t Turn Around, computer hacker Noa Torson is as smart, tough, and complex as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

The first in a trilogy, Don’t Turn Around’s intricate plot and heart-pounding action will leave readers desperate for book two.

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.

The word hacker was enough to make me notice this book AGAIN. I have no idea what made me forget this was in my TBR but I sure as hell didn't know it was about hackers the first time. Nope, I am not a hacker. Wouldn't it be cool, though, if I am one?

Don't Turn Around started immediately with the main female protagonist Noa waking up "on a table in a warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there". Then comes the action when she made her escape but the men who are hunting her would stop at nothing to get her back. Now she's trying her best using her skills in hacking to hide herself and at the same time figure out what those people did to her in that warehouse.

The /ALLIANCE/ is this online community of hackers led by Peter. Its purpose is to defend those who are bullied on the internet and Noa is one of the best members of that group. When Peter accidentally found a secret project funded by his parents, his life was threatened so he asked Noa's help and Noa, desperate to find money she needed to escape, accepted.

It's action-packed and fast paced. I liked the idea of the book. When Noa is on the run, she receives this anonymous help from someone who clearly knows what's going on. It was interesting and suspenseful. I liked that this book is refreshingly different with characters that you might actually think is on the run right this moment in the real world. The plot, however, hasn't much enough going on with it. It's pretty simple but I'm afraid the book came out as a little too technical that there wasn't much connection you can develop with the characters. Don't get me wrong. I liked Noa and Peter. They're smart. But I would have loved it if I knew more of them than just their biodata. There's also romance but not between the two main characters which is a thumbs-up. I always think it's better if there is no romance at all than put something that's likely to ruin a good story.

All in all, I really enjoyed Don't Turn Around. Though it didn't put me into gushing mode, it was still a good read and I recommend this to everyone who loves a great action and would-be-an-awesome-movie kind of books.

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