Gagnon, Michelle. Don’t Turn Around. HarperCollins. 2012. ISBN 0062102907 (Note: This is based off the advance review copy)
Reader’s Annotation: Noa wakes up on an operating table with a new scar on her chest and doesn’t know what’s going on or who to trust. Peter stumbles across an unusual corporation in his father’s business files & next thing he knows he’s being beat up and threatened. Can the two work together to find out what is going on?
Plot Summary: Noa is an orphan who has been in and out of foster homes for most of her life until she uses her computer hacking skills to create a fake foster family. One day she wakes up on an operating table in a warehouse not knowing what’s going on or who she can trust.
Peter is bored one night and starts searching through his father’s business files when his door is kicked down, he’s beat up and they steal his computer. Angry, Peter uses his hacker alliance to try and figure out what’s going on and he pulls in Noa aka Rain to help him out.
Soon the two realize their questions are all tied together and there are very few people they can turn to for help.
This book grabbed me from the very start. Noa’s character is a strong, street smart teenager who has not just survived being shuffled in and out of the foster care system but managed to get herself out, create a new persona and even gained a lucrative employment position. She’s quick thinking in situations that would leave most people stunned and unable to move and yet shows some vulnerability when she realizes she was chosen as a victim because no one would notice if she disappeared. Peter’s character was also interesting. He comes across initially as your typical spoiled rich brat who is incensed that he’s manhandled and his parents don’t react how he wants them to. We begin to see his other side as the founder of the ALLIANCE group of hackers who try to right injustices using their hacker skills. His family life is also sad to see and having a lot of money and being spoiled doesn’t make up for the miserable home life he’s been raised in.
The story itself is action packed and Noa and Peter are constantly on the run. Some of the twists are expected but still make for an interesting read. This is the perfect read that I think would appeal to both teenage girls and boys. There is a hint of romance but the focus is on the action and suspense with strong male and female characters.
About the author
Michelle is a bestselling author of adult thrillers such as The Tunnels, Boneyard and The Gatekeeper. Boneyard was a finalist for the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
Don’t Turn Around is her debut young adult book and is the first in the PERSEFoNE Trilogy and she will also be releasing a standalone young adult book in 2013.
Book talking idea
If you had the skills to do so what type of identity would you create for yourself?
Ages 14 and up.
Why did I include this book?
Hacker stories always have great appeal because really what teen wouldn’t want to have to skills to bring down those they feel have done them an injustice?