REVIEW #88: Don't Turn Around (Persefone #1) by Michelle Gagnon

Title: Don't Turn Around
Series: Persefone #1
Author: Michelle Gagnon
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August, 28, 2012
Pages: 320, Hardcover

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.


"If you've found this, then you’re already one of us. This won’t be an easy thread to follow. Because of the people we're up against, you’ll have to work for it. We’ll always leave bread crumbs, but they might get swept away, or be too hard to track. But we're trusting that even if you only find this entry, you’ll pass it along. Because the one thing we have going for us is numbers. There are more of us. And if we work together, we can stop them. 

I don’t like talking about myself, but I don’t have a choice anymore. I was taken by them. Experimented on. And I’m not the only one. They're preying on everyone outside the system, the kids no one cares about. 

Well, I care. And I am going to fight them. We're building an army, both here and in the real world. We're going to beat them at their own game. Even if you think you’re safe, even if you’re one of those people with parents and a social security number and a warm place to sleep, you need to listen. Today, they're coming for us. Tomorrow, it might be you. So I’m asking for your help. I’m asking you to open your eyes, your ears. See what’s happening in every major city across the country. Kids are vanishing. Kids are dying. And the cops and the government are part of it. 

Follow me and we can save them. We’ll lead them back into the light. 

My name used to be Noa. But you can call me PER5EF0NE"

So I am hoping that quote will convince you how awesome this book is and make my job a little easier. I really found Don’t Turn Around to be an exciting , heart-racing action-adventure that didn’t disappoint. It doesn’t hurt that I have a fascination with hacking and wish I had that talent (can I admit that on the internet?). 

Noa wakes up on a cold bed in what looks like a makeshift hospital. There are guards on her, a big scar running down the center of her chest and she can’t remember the last few weeks of her life. She’ll soon learn that she was involuntarily experimented on by a corrupt underground organization looking to find a cure for PEMA. Let’s just say she’s not happy and is going to figure out what happened the only way she knows how - through shear computing force. 

Peter is a hacker on a mission - righting wrongs in the world where he can. But he doesn’t realize the importance of the site he’s stumbled upon until minutes later his door is broken down and very dangerous looking guys threaten him to mind his own business and leave with his computer. More pissed off  than scared, Peter calls on his merry band of hackers and starts digging for answers. But he doesn’t realize the magnanimity of what he’s discovered until it’s too late to back out. 

Fate or chance (who cares) brings Noa and Peter together and after realizing that they are both running from, and simultaneously investigating, the same bag guy, they decide to stick together. Soon they discover what was done to Noa and what else is being done to hundreds of other kids across the country, without anyone knowing or caring. Horrified and enraged, they make it their mission to stop it. 

This book has all the good elements of your run-of-the-mill action-thriller where someone escapes or someone discovers a corrupt organization and then vows to bring it down if the bad guys don’t silence them first. There is plenty of ambush and escape, large threats and subtle warnings, keeping a steady feel of danger and anticipation throughout the story. Better yet, there is some interesting science sprinkled in, an alliance of hackers who can accomplish some mighty awesome take-downs, and some pretty badass characters.

Years of taking care of herself has hardened Noa into a fierce and capable young woman but still likeable  in all her vulnerability and innocence. Peter has lived a life of luxury but has it far from perfect with parents who wish he had been the one to die instead of his brother. Both characters are strong but flawed and a little broken and, unknowingly at first, give each other strength and comfort. 

It you are looking for a good adventure that starts strong and never waivers, this is your book. Don’t Turn Around had my full attention and was full of suspense and intrigue from the very first words until the last page.



  1. Gah, I have this on a goodreads list of books that I want to read, but I haven't even bought it yet! You make it sound so good!

    1. its great when your looking for an action packed science-y government conspiracy-esque adventure. ;)

  2. Oh, how fun! It's always interesting to read books that involve conspiracies and action, and I think this sounds pretty good. I'll definitely have to check it out!

    1. Whenever I read a book with a conspiracy I always think 'Jason Bourne!'

  3. I hate it when people hack, but you got to admire their skills. Noa sounds like a good, multi-layered character :) Great review and I'll take a look at this one!


    1. haha that's true. I would only use my hypothetical skills to do good :)

  4. Yes please! I'm always looking for good action-thriller. Oh and that quote did your review justice, I was sold! And don't worry, I have wished I could hack computers as well, but alas, I know not a lot about computers to start with. It reminded me of when I watch the tv show White Collar and I'm convinced it would be cool to be a pickpocket or an art forgerer. Yup, I'm cool like that.

    Thanks for the great review! I have added this book on my TBR pile. Plus, that cover is creepy. If you liked this I'm sure I will too.

    1. hahaha no I totally wish I had a closet illegal skill. I secretly want to be really badass. :)

  5. Totally sounds like something I would fall in love with. It also sounds like it make an awesome movie too!

    1. I didn't think about that but yes definitely would make a great movie!


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