Monday, August 19, 2013

ARC Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Publication: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (July 9, 2013)

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 Thoughts: From the time Noa wakes up on an operating table in a warehouse with an incision in her chest until the final page, the excitement doesn't let up in this heart-pounding beginning of a trilogy. Gagnon's website describes it as a technothriller.

Noa is a victim of the foster care system. She came to foster care after the death of her parents and she rotated between The Center and a variety of foster home placements before running away at the age of fifteen. Noa is a very skilled computer hacker and is doing all right for herself, having created a mythical foster family and an identity as an adult who works freelance. She manages, with great difficulty, to escape from the warehouse but a huge tech savvy organization is after her and she doesn't know why.

Peter, on the other hand, is the privileged son of indifferent parents. He is also a hacker who has formed an organization that exposes child pornographers, research using animals, and other abuses. When he is looking through some of his father's files one day he stumbles upon some information that draws the notice of the same tech savvy organization. Before that he contacts Noa, who he only knows online, to help research the organization. Pretty soon Peter is on the run too.

They soon learn that the organization is looking for a cure for a new disease - PEMA - which primarily attacks teenagers and works like chronic wasting disease in deer. This organization is snatching street kids from the streets to perform experiments on them that are almost always fatal. Noa seems to be the only exception which makes her even more wanted by the organization.

The story was really fast-paced and everyone will want to read the sequel - DON'T LOOK NOW - to find out what happens next. I enjoyed the story and recommend it to adventure lovers. 

Favorite Quote:
Noa lay on the futon, staring up at the ceiling. Her had kept going to her chest; she couldn't stop tracing the incision under her T-shirt. The rigid line felt colder than the surrounding skin. When Cody had first given voice to his suspicions, she'd raced to the bathroom, overwhelmed by the roar in her ears. Tiny spots of light dated around her peripheral vision, as if dancing in a concerted effort to make her throw up or pass out. She'd bent over the toilet, heaving. Tasted bile, but nothing came up.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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