Thursday, August 15, 2013

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Series: PERSEPHoNE (bk. 1)
Genera: Action Thriller/Suspense/Sci-fi
Subjects: hackers, computers, technology, experiments, foster care, Massachusetts
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 310 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover (and now in Paperback!)
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen
Summary/ product description: “In Michelle Gagnon’s debut YA thriller, Don’t Turn Around, computer hacker Noa Torson is as smart, tough, and complex as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.
The first in a trilogy, Don’t Turn Around’s intricate plot and heart-pounding action will leave readers desperate for book two.
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 hacking skills to stay anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in a 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 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.”

My Review: Kind of disappointed with this book. I was hoping it would be more sci-fi. There were a few things that were on the science fiction side, but also possible. PEMA, a made-up disease and what happened to Noa.
There were parts of this book that had a lot of action. Noa was on the run and Peter got his laptop stolen by guys in black suites. The main genera is definitely thriller. I though the hacking stuff was pretty interesting. I just got a MacBook Pro myself and was at the Apple Store setting it up. I could totally picture Noa just walking into the store and doing her thing. There were some funny parts too. Especially stuff that Peter said, or even Cody (a friend of Peter).
I enjoyed the setting in this book. I’m sick of books set in New York City or Los Angeles. I can’t think of a book that I’ve read set in Boston. It’s kind of refreshing. And with the events that occurred in Boston this year, kind of eerie. If I read this book last year, then I don’t think I would say that. This book talked a lot about foster care and runaways. This place called the Center, too. Noa spent a lot of time there and in foster home. When she learned to hack, she set up a fake family so she could live on her own.
This book is very well researched, clearly. I know the author isn’t a hacker herself, but she did a good portrayal. She actually used to work with foster care kids. I don’t think I’d compare this book to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I didn’t read the book, but the movie was kind of weird. I’d compare Noa and Alex to the hackers on TV shows I like instead. I really wish there was more romance between Noa and Peter. I didn’t care much for Amanda, Peter’s now ex-girl friend. And I didn’t see why the parts from her perspective were really necessary. There was a lot of disjointedness in the plot and tons of unanswered questions.
I enjoyed this book enough that I’ll read the sequel, Don’t Look Now.
Cover Art Review: I can’t decide whether I like the hardcover or paperback version. Both the orange or the blue works. The hand and grid are cool. The hair is okay. The like both type treatments.

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