13455542Reviewed by Carrie Ardoin

Noa is a 16 year old girl who was thrown into the foster system after the death of her parents, but has since “escaped” to live on her own. By living alone and creating a virtual family through her hacking skills, she’s managed to stay off the grid and keep herself afloat. But she soon learns that living this way has negative consequences; Noa wakes up on an operating room table with no memory of how she got there. When she manages to escape, she discovers that she’s lost three weeks and no one noticed.

Peter’s life is vastly different from Noa’s, with two rich but emotionally distant parents who seem to not care about him at all. When Peter, who’s also a skilled hacker, breaks into his father’s company files, his door gets kicked in and he is warned. Soon, he’s on the run as well. What Noa and Peter uncover is disturbing and goes deeper than they ever imagined. They are now in the crosshairs of some seriously dangerous people, and their hacking habits could lead to deadly repercussions.

The beginning of Don’t Turn Around starts out with a bang and brings you straight into the lonely life of Noa. At times the story reads like a Bourne movie, and at others it’s a little slow. There is some talk of hacking and computer terminology, but nothing too complicated and difficult to follow.

The book opens with Noa escaping from some sort of facility where she wakes up with an IV in her arm and no memory of how or why she’s there. We quickly learn that Noa is smart, resourceful, and a quick thinker. Her parents died when she was young, and cycling in and out of the foster system left her more than a little jaded. Luckily, the lifestyle she’s accustomed to becomes an asset when she’s running from those trying to catch her.

Peter is the other main character in the story. Since the death of his older brother to a mysterious disease, his parents have scarcely paid attention to him at all. But he never expected them to side with those who busted into his front door and held him at gunpoint. Soon, his parents have kicked him out, his girlfriend’s broken his heart, and he has nowhere to go.

When Peter and Noa meet up, sparks don’t immediately fly. Noa is guarded and not used to having help from anyone. Peter, however, sees through her tough exterior. One thing I absolutely loved about this book is that there’s no romance. Peter and Noa get to know each other as colleagues first. There is some flirting, but under the circumstances neither of them takes it further. I’m very excited to see how their relationship progresses as the series goes further.

There were only a couple of moments that I found a little predictable, but overall this novel left me breathless and shocked. I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a break from the shallow world of teen romance.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable. 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper Collins. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.