Book & Audiobook Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around
PERSEFoNE Trilogy #1
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Science Fiction
Released: August 28th 2012
Review Source: Harper Teen
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) 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.

As readers we are always searching for the hidden gem in the sea of books available. A book that is unique and leaves the reader satisfied, with all the books out there, is sometimes hard to find. That’s why I’m glad I had this book sent to me. Michelle Gagnon’s first young adult novel is a fantastic debut to the genre. With well-developed characters and an interesting storyline this new series has the potential to be something very big.

In Don’t Turn Around the main protagonists are teenagers Peter and Noa. Peter is a funny and witty guy whose seemingly posh life isn’t as it appears. Noa is a girl whose led a harsh life and has had to care for herself. The meeting between these two is initially kicked off by Noa awakening to find herself in a strange lab leading to an intense adventure like no other. Dealing with a mysterious disease that is consuming teenagers and a company’s sketchy dealings with cops and the government, Don’t Turn Around is a great thriller. Gagnon writes in a modern style allowing the action to flow seamlessly with the times of peace. The characters each have a personality that I’m sure any reader can relate to. The development of the characters were not forced and came together nicely. Certainty a book that leaves a lot of room for a sequel, Don’t Turn Around is a new addition to the must read list for the year.

Don't Turn Around
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Reader: Merritt Hicks
Run-time: 8 hours 31 mins
Review Source: Harper Audio
Available: Amazon

So not what I was expecting. I really enjoyed listening to Noa’s story. It starts out in the middle of her story with Noa on a medical table. She doesn’t know how she got there but she does know that what the doctors are telling her is not right. The journey begins.

Noa is all alone since her parents died in a car crash and she has jumped from foster home to foster home until she finds a way to survive without a real foster family. Noa is one of the best hackers out there and keeping corporations computer systems safe from hackers like her is what she gets paid to do. Her employers have no idea who she is or even that she is a “she”. Since her work is all computer based, she can work from anywhere without ever stepping foot into a client’s office which allows her to stay off the grid. She is also part of a very secret hacker community called Alliance. Alliance was started by Peter.

Peter is a teenage boy that comes from a wealthy family. His Mom is a Lawyer and his father is a very well off business man. Peter was snooping around in his father’s home office one day when he came across a folder with the name AMRF on it. He decided he was going to look into AMRF so he popped open his laptop and started digging. 5 minutes later his front door was kicked in and he was surrounded by goons who had a strange interest in his laptop. They gave him a message for his parents and took his laptop.

Now the excitement starts. Peter & Noa spend the rest of the story on a constant run. Planning and strategizing to find out 1. Who is chasing them and why? 2. Why she feels so strange since waking up 3 weeks after her last memory? 3. Why does she have a new scar and? 4. How are Peter’s parents connected with all of this?

Merritt Hicks narrated this story and she did an amazing job. I found myself thinking out loud, “one person is really doing all of these voices?” She really sounds like a dude when the story calls for it and she really sounds sweet, girly and innocent when the story calls for it. The only thing that was strange for me was with a name like Noa sometimes it sounded like it was pronounced (NO) and sometimes it sounded like it was pronounced (NOAH). Other than that I really enjoyed Merritts narration of this story and I look forward to hearing more of her work.

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