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.
Noa is a street-wise girl who was raised in various foster homes and juvenile hall. She’s self-sufficient and distrusting of others because of that hard life. When she wakes up in a strange place having been cut open with no memory of it, Noa’s experiences are truly terrifying and pulse-pounding. Meanwhile, Peter has some excitement of his own after he snoops through his father’s desk and attempts to investigate an organization called AMRF. Both are computer hackers, but Noa excels at anonymity where Peter seems to get caught.
Don’t Turn Around is an exciting, fast-paced thriller with a bit of science fiction. This was a bit of Dean Koontz for young adults. Though, adults can certainly enjoy too. The teen angst is kept to a minimum. Instead, the story focuses on the mystery of AMRF and Noa and Peter’s search for answers while on the run from unknown pursuers. With plenty of twists and turns, there is never a dull moment in this fantastic page-turner. And there is plenty left open-ended that begs for a sequel.