Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

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 called AMRF 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.

Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour the story of Noa, a teen soul mate to Lisbeth Salander.
Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, bartender, dog walker, model, personal trainer, and Russian supper club performer. Her bestselling adult thrillers THE TUNNELS, BONEYARD, THE GATEKEEPER, and KIDNAP & RANSOM have been published in North America, France, Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Australia. BONEYARD was a finalist for a 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

In September 2012, her young adult debut novel DON'T TURN AROUND will be published by HarperCollins Teen. In May of 2013, her YA standalone STRANGELETS will be released by SoHo Teen.

Michelle lives in San Francisco.

Wow! Don't Turn Around is a nail-biting page-turner! Comparisons have been made between this novel and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series and I can see why. It is impossible to not think of the infamous Lisbeth Salander while reading about Noa's badass hacking techniques and her ability to outwit the bad guys at every turn with her impressive intellect. As a lover of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, I think this a huge plus for Don't Turn Around.
So, Noa is a streetwise orphan who has dodged the abusive (to her) foster care system for years. She is a loner whose only circle of friends exists on the internet in hacker groups and chat rooms. So, when she wakes up in a hospital after being abducted, drugged and operated on, she is truly on her own and if the bad guys have their way, she won't be missed.
Well, they have no concept of the brilliance of Noa's brain or her nerves of steel. Soon, she is on the run and the only "friend" she has in the world is a fellow hacker who has reached out to her on the internet. Turns out, he is having some troubles of his own with this dangerously pesky and persistent bunch of baddies.
Hijinks ensue and you will be page-turning until the wee hours of the morning trying to race to Don't Turn Around's conclusion. Although Don't Turn Around is the beginning of a series, Gagnon wraps Act 1 up nicely with just a hint of tease for the subsequent novels. I, for one, will be first in line!


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