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August 27, 2012

Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon - Juhina

Don't Turn Around
Title: Don't Turn Around (PERSEFoNE #1)
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Publication date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre(s): Young Adult (Thriller/Dystopian)
Challenges: Debut
Source: Edelweiss
Format: Digital ARC
Pages: 310
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 computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty 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. 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.

Filled with action, suspense, and romance, this first book in a new trilogy offers readers nonstop thrills.
Don’t Turn Around is a thrilling novel that is told from two POVs. We’ve got the 16-year-old girl who has been in the foster system all her life but recently ranaway and set up a fake foster family and got a high paying online job as a work at home man. Then we’ve got the other side of the story, Peter. A rich kid who is also good with computers to the point of creating an online hacking hub known as //ALLIANCE//. They end up getting entangled in a very deep and dangerous organization and that’s when the excitement begins.

In all honesty throughout reading Don’t Turn Around I was holding on hope for something spectacular to happen. The novel had a ton of chases and Noa used her brainy and hacking skills to get away out of every slippery situation. She was headstrong and truly independent. I mean she hacked into the foster system, created a foster family out of thin air and added herself as a foster child to them, updated the system as if social workers came for regular check ups and enlisted herself to be home schooled. However I just kept on waiting for that thing that would render me speechless or mind blown. Unfortunately it never came. I liked the plot, and how there is a bit of a post-apocalyptic feel to it with the PEMA disease. But what didn’t keep me 100% invested in this novel is my emotional detachment to the characters and their eventual teaming up to fight against the forces of evil.

The plot was fantastic, the characters were super smart, but I just needed more out of it. Since this novel was all about hacking, I hoped we would see more of it. We only get the word hacking thrown in every couple of pages but you don’t get to sit in with them, biting your nails, tying to break through firewalls and escape IP detection systems. If you’ve seen Nikita, then you know what I mean. However, even if I was left a bit disappointed due to my high expectations, Don’t Turn Around was still a pleasant read and I did enjoy it. I think young adult readers who want a novel with a bit more mystery and excitement they should check out Don’t Turn Around. Fans of Cold Fury by T. M. Goeglein would highly enjoy it.


  1. I love the premise of having two people who need each other in dystopian societies. It sounds a lot like Legend by Marie Lu. Definitely going to check this one out, but I am little disappointed with lack of adventurous hacking.

    Angie @YA Novelties

  2. Ah well, I'm going into this one with zero expectations so hopefully I'll enjoy it a little more than you did! Awesome review :)

  3. I've seen a lot of reviews having the same issues about this book. Too bad the premise sounds very interesting. Hacking is supposed to be really kick-ass. Glad to know that you still enjoyed the overall though. Brilliant review, Maji! :)

    Eunice @ Book Overdose

  4. I don't know how I totally missed this book but thanks for bringing it to my attention! It sounds like an interesting plot but I think I would have all the same issues with it as you did. If the books two main characters are both computer hackers I would expect there to be a lot of details about it. I'm still going to give it a try but now I'll know exactly what to expect =)

  5. Hmmm sounds like I'd be disappointed with the lack of actual hacking scenes, too... But I'm willing to give it a try, since it sounds really good!! Thanks for your honest review! :D

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  6. I have to say, not a huge fan of the cover, but hacking and chasing? Worth checking out, maybe (especially since I'm a huge Nikita fan!)

    Great review!