Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 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.
My thoughts: From the first page, I was completely hooked. Noa wakes up on a cold table with no memory of the past three weeks and a surgical star that feels cold to the touch. She is further alerted to trouble when the men who are holding her act guilty and weird. That's where the action takes off. It is nonstop. Noa uses her street smarts and excellent hacking skills to escape, try to stay off the grid and evade recapture. Which is very difficult since whoever held her seems determined to recapture her. Additionally, Noa is a kid in the foster system. Nobody missed her while she was gone. Big red flag.
Meanwhile, Peter is a rich kid who used to have an older brother. His brother died of a disease that has the world befuddled. Peter is bored and at home when he decides to hack into his dad's files and see what's going on there. Immediately, his house is broken into and a bunch of militant brutes steal Peter's computer from his hands, threaten him, and leave with a directive to let his parents know that Mr. Mason stopped by. Peter is miffed and passes on the message which freaks out his parents.
Eventually, Peter and Noa cross paths. Somehow their experiences are related and they are trying to figure out what happened to Noa and why was she targeted. Noa and Peter hack into different systems and discover disturbing images and trends. The men after Noa and intimidating Peter are very, very bad men but seem to have a lot of latitude and power.
Noa's street smarts is impressive and her character stays true to itself. Peter develops more as a person and more people are introduced as the story moves along. This is part Young Adult, part mystery and a lot of action. Some medical terminology is used and explained and sets up the reader to be anxious for the next book to be released.
Set aside an evening to read this.
*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.