Sunday, March 31, 2024

NetGalley ARC | And Don't Look Back

I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐

Harlow and her mom have been on the run her entire life. She doesn't know why they're running, or what they're running from, only that they have to keep going. Each time they move, there comes a new school, a new name, a new personality. It's getting more and more difficult for Harlow to keep doing this.

We see this in real time as the story opens and they're leaving in the middle of the night once again. In the course of the latest escape, Harlow and her mom are involved in a fatal car accident. Harlow is frantic as her mom is dying, not knowing what to do. Her mom instructs Harlow to find the key to her safe deposit box, and to never stop running.

With no other choice but to say goodbye and leave her mother behind, Harlow does as she is told. When she locates the box, she finds money, insurance documents, and a plethora of fake IDs - things that would be expected. What Harlow is surprised by is a photo of her mom as a teen with two other girls, a deed to a house, and newspaper reports about the disappearance of Eve Kennedy, Harlow's grandma.

Harlow has to decide if she is going to keep running, or face whatever has caused her mother so miuch fear for the entirety of Harlow's life.

As we might expect of a lone teen who literally has almost nothing, Harlow decides to stop running. She heads to the house located in a town she has never heard of, to see what she can find.

One of the hardest things in the book for me, was Harlow's mental health. She has no time to even mourn her mother's death. She is completely alone in the world with this huge secret threat that was never hers to begin with, and having to unravel it on her own. Other characters do come in of course, though I do not want to say too much, so I don't spoil anything, but Harlow has to do so much on her own and that's a lot for someone who is still a child. Nothing in Harlow's life up to this point has prepared her for adulthood and she has so much to figure out without her mom around to guide her. On the other hand, her mom is the very person who has not helped prepare Harlow, so in a round-about way, maybe it is better that she is on her own? That sounds so awful to say. I don't know.

I've read enough YA thrillers that not much surprises me anymore, and that is mostly the case here. That did not stop me from enjoying the story though, becuase I feel it is well-written.


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