Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
From the publisher:
"Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?"

Don't Look Back was amazingly gripping - I read it in one day because I literally couldn't put it down. There was intensity of emotion, there was heart-pounding intrigue, there was pathos and sympathy inducing drama. My heart was wrenched by the main character and her situation. I loved to see the changes she made in her life and I cheered her on in her progress. This could have been an absolutely fabulous book.
(Takes a deep breath)
There was awful teenage behavior throughout this book. Intense bullying, horrible language, drinking, partying, hooking up with one person and then another, posting of pornographic pictures of a girlfriend on social media, parents who are encouraging bad behavior. Guh - why, why, why?! This book could have been so amazing without all of the disgusting-ness. Granted, the plot needed the main character to make a big change, but much of what was in this is so inappropriate for middle school, let alone for me. 
I also felt like we were left with some major plot holes. I never did understand why Del was acting the way he was. What was driving his great desire to stay with Samantha? It certainly wasn't love. I also never felt like I understood why Cassie had such a hold on Samantha to begin with. 
(Big sigh)
Oh how I wish all of the bad content had been left out of this or perhaps not described so graphically. I can't recommend it because of that.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 7-10
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 14+
School Library Journal - Grades 7-10
(Those grades 7-10 suggestions are the reason I purchased this one for the library.  However, I very much disagree with that suggestion.)

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