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.
©2012 HarperCollinsPublishers (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
This is a young adult novel about 16-year-old Noa and 17-year-old Peter, who meet due to their ongoing efforts through on-line organizations to promote good. But they meet in person when Noa finds herself inexplicably in a warehouse where she wakes up on an operating table with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there. She busts out, (ala Girl with the Dragon Tattoo type tactics) and connects with Peter, who finds himself running from the same people. At first they have no idea what has put them in danger, but the more they find out the more danger they are in. This is a thriller with the kind of wonderful teenage protagonists I wish I had known as a teenager. Peter, a rich kid, and Noa, a throw-away foster child living off the grid, find they have much in common as they use their computer hacking skills to stay just one step ahead of their attackers to stay alive. This is an excellent book I couldn’t put down. Strongly recommended.
I enjoy good stories no matter who the intended audience and was guided to this title by an Entertainment Weekly review of promising young adult lit. I was amused by the idea of a character like a "younger sister of Lisbeth Salander." However 3/4 of the way through I kept thinking I should have just re-read/listened to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I do think that if I were still a teen or preteen reader I would have enjoyed this story for its quick pace, wry dialogue and multi-character focus. The plot is quick moving, although many scenes play out like predictable movie or TV shows. The serious issue of homeless teens and their vulnerability is one of the stronger aspects of the book, clearly intending to add pathos and some larger value to the moral stakes. I suppose another pro is that some young readers may be motivated to research what the thalmus gland does. In this future world there is a scary pandemic disease that attacks only teens, although the only societal result appears to be illegal medical research expedited to human testing stage at the expense of kidnapped run aways.
For me, the plot had too many annoying flaws and I think some teens will find the book condescending. For example we are expected to believe world class computer hacking can be "picked up" in a few months by clever teens with "a knack for computers" (is there a more old fogey way to describe this trait). The actual tech skills displayed by Noa and Peter felt thinly researched and unbelievable. Its a quick read and if you are looking for a story to listen to as a family or with a young child it is tolerable. If you are looking to be entertained at a more substantive level I'd recommend The Raven Boys, the other book I downloaded and ultimately much preferred.
I read and review Young Adult lit!
Easily the best YA book I’ve read in a long time. While not perfect, it’s head and shoulders above most of what's currently out there and the lack of paranormal elements makes it a nice change.
It’s a techno-thriller but not too mired in cyberspeak and takes place more offline than online to keep you connected. There’s a large hunted/on the run element but the two main characters are smart and resourceful enough to keep it interesting and believable (not a lot of those obviously-stupid mistakes you usually see thrown in to create near-miss drama).
The central story/light mystery (no spoilers) stretches believability but is interesting and the author didn’t pull any punches with the serious subject matter. There were no easy-outs to undercut the set-up meaning things got pretty dark and, as an older reader, I respected that.
The book as fast-paced, very really lagged and I stayed so engaged in the action I could have gone through the book in a single listening.
I also loved the way the author didn’t front-load exposition – the story just started and we had to pick up back story as we went. It’s a little jarring to get major plot information popping up out of nowhere in the middle of the book (usually a big writing no-no) but I really liked not being spoon-fed.
Maybe it was a bit of a cheap trick to ensure that I couldn’t get too far ahead of the characters in figuring things out but I liked not being so far ahead I was bored, waiting for them to figure it out too. Basically, the story never talked down to readers, again something I think savvy and older readers will appreciate.
Unfortunately though, ‘Don’t Turn Around’ was clearly plotted to be part of a series so the end is a little anti-climactic in order to carry onto the next book. This is ABSOLUTELY my biggest pet peeve in YA literature today and I’ve knocked a star off of my story rating on principle.
Fortunately, the book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger so I can definitely recommend it and I’m looking forward to the next book (cliff-hanger for me means I won’t continue with the series and reward such cheap writing tricks)
Also in the negative, the overt attempts to draw parallels with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” are really unnecessary (I mean come on, name-dropping in the blurb??). I think the book would have been stronger if had just stood on its own. It has nothing to do with the plot or tone of the Millennium series but they felt the need to make the lead girl a younger, defanged version of Lisbeth (down to an almost identical physical description – piercings and tattoos aside)
The Millennium Series was set apart by its highlighting of social issues and while I really like “Don’t Turn Around’s” passion about homeless youth and the social services system the piggy-backing just wasn’t necessary. The book was good enough for me to let it slide but I could see this really bothering other readers.
Overall, 'Don’t Turn Around' is definitely worth a read and I highly recommend it for a number of audiences. If you’re into Cory Doctorow, like action or something fast-paced I think you’ll really enjoy it. If you’re just after a not-terrible read or maybe want a break from vampires, werewolves etc I think the book is well plotted and well-structured enough be at least an enjoyable read.
Hope there are more books to come. Loved the kids and want to "see" them shut the bad guys down.
I heart audiobooks! Best way to "read"!
Exciting action that begins to peter out at the end.
GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO
The opening grabs you from the get-go.
This is a fast, exciting read. The narration is terrific, Michelle Hicks really hits it out of the park. The action is NON STOP for the first 2/3 of the book and I really liked the characters. So much more human and real than many YA novels. I enjoyed this was NOT supernatural or dystopian. But once I realized this was just a set up for another book, I became a bit disappointed. I want to read a YA novel that is self contained. Also, the story starts to get VERY large at the end and I'm not sure I'm going to like where book two goes. But I'm sure I'll read it to find out!
The story is good enough, but the narration is a bit flat/emotionless/deadpan. When she's not voicing characters, her narration comes across as apathetic.
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