September 4, 2012

Review of 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 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.

Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
Publication Date:  August 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Read more about the book at HERE!
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** This title was provided to us by the publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinion **

Just by judging the story off the description on the back of the book, I was very excited to begin reading Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon.  It sounded like a fun, thrilling, and action filled read.  Guess what?  It totally was.  I expected the novel to be good and I have to admit that I’m far from crestfallen at the fact that Don’t Turn Around is better than good.  It’s great!  Never have I read a story with such badass character who are also highly intelligent hackers.  In most novels (and remember I said most) you get a badass who doesn’t have an equilibrium of brains and brawn—so not the case in Don’t Turn Around.

Don’t Turn Around revolves around main characters Noa and Peter, both of them have very different lives but have one thing in common: Computers.  Computers and being insanely skilled hackers.  Noa wakes up in a warehouse with an IV in her hand and a series of stitches on her chest and after an intriguing opening sentence, you find yourself reading (however in my case, I could see the scene playing out like a movie,)  about Noa as she escapes threatening guards who futilely attempt to keep her from leaving the warehouse.  The novel quickly switches to our second main character Peter’s point on view; Peter’s house is broken into by a menacing man known as Mr. Mason who strikes fear into the hearts of many characters throughout the novel and for reasons unknown Mr. Mason steals Peter’s computer and nothing else.

I personally liked the character Noa more than Peter, simply because Noa was a character I think female readers can take a lot of inspiration from.  Noa comes from basically nothing, she’s a foster child who managed to use her hacker skills to have a life where no social workers would come to hunt her down.  She has no family.  She has no friends.  She only has herself.  But despite those factors, Noa doesn’t panic or whine about her situation… especially when she finds out the reason why there’s an incision on her chest.  Noa makes up her plans as she goes along throughout the story (kinda like a female Indiana Jones) and when she’s hit with the unexpected she handles the situation rather smoothly.

Peter on the other hand, is a character who is more street savvy, but personally I found him a bit needy and naïve.  He’s the brains behind /ALLIANCE/ (which is a World of Warcraft reference, awesome-sauce right there) a vigilante internet group that is similar to the real world vigilante group Anonymous.  Peter sets up a series of hacker attacks against the group who kidnapped/cut open Noa to gather their data.  Like something out of a comic book, we learn that the bad guys have more nefarious plans than our characters have expected and watch them plot a way to bring the destruction of the company that has been using teenagers as human guinea pigs.

I would recommend Don’t Turn Around to fans of sci-fi and action.  Readers who have been having a hankering for fast paced thrillers will also fall in deeply in love with Don’t Turn Around. I know I did.

About the Author:

Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, bartender, dog walker, model, personal trainer, and Russian supper club performer. Her bestselling adult thrillers THE TUNNELS, BONEYARD, THE GATEKEEPER, and KIDNAP & RANSOM have been published in North America, France, Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Australia. BONEYARD was a finalist for a 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

In September 2012, her young adult debut novel DON’T TURN AROUND will be published by HarperCollins Teen. In May of 2013, her YA standalone STRANGELETS will be released by SoHo Teen.

Michelle lives in San Francisco.

Connect with Michelle:





Available for Purchase:

Chapters Indigo

Barnes & Noble

The Book Depository




  1. I have been so eager to read this book since I first saw the (creepy) cover & read the synopsis, it sounds so intriguing!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, the characters and plot sound amazing & I am all the more keen to get hold of it since reading your review.

    Thankyou for sharing :)

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    Fantastic review who wouldn’t love kick-ass hackers!

  3. Leigh

    Maybe I’ll give this a go especially because it has actions and it’s sci-fi!

  4. Michelle Gagnon

    Thanks for the great review, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it!

  5. Thanks for stopping by Michelle!

  6. CJ Listro

    Great review! The cover really grabbed me. I love books about hackers but I feel like I haven’t come across many. This sounds really neat, and I like that Noa is a strong lead.


  7. I’m going to have to give this one a second look. I totally geek out on video game or cult movie/tv references. You’re me second good review so I may just have to break down and buy this one :)

  8. Blogger Recap: DON’T TURN AROUND by Michelle Gagnon | Blog | Epic Reads

    […] 2. Gabby @ Chapter by Chapter says: “Never have I read a story with such badass characters who are also highly intelligent hackers.” Read the full review […]

  9. Barbara S

    new author to me, and a new series for me to put on my TBR list. thanks for the review and giveaway.

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