February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Don’t Turn Around

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Orange Book cover with handprintGAGNON, Michelle. Don’t Turn Around. 310p. CIP. HarperCollins/Harper. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210290-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210292-8. LC 2012009691.
Gr 8 Up–Teen runaway Noa has managed to make a tolerable life for herself. She has an apartment, a job as a freelance computer security specialist (she’s a hacker), and a fake foster family to make it all legal. Most importantly, she is off the grid and all but invisible–until she wakes up on an operating table with no memory of the past three weeks, a strange scar, and a ton of questions. She needs help and she needs answers, but first she needs to escape. Peter, a privileged suburban kid who leads a computer hacktivist group called /ALLIANCE/, has stumbled onto a terrible secret that may involve his whole family. Suddenly the two of them are on the run, chased by a powerful company willing to do anything to catch them and keep their secrets. Don’t Turn Around is a tight, well-written thriller from a best-selling adult writer. The story opens quickly but then takes a while to gain momentum. However, by the time Noa and Peter get together, the action and the developments come fast and furious all the way to the end. The teens come across as authentic young adults and deftly walk the fine line between teenage hard-headedness and being appropriately sympathetic. There is a certain amount of computer jargon but it never slows the action, and everything is reasonably explained. The ending is left open for a possible sequel, which will surely excite anyone who reads this first installment.–Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX

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