Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.
Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.
But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?
Sammy wakes up bloodied and battered with no recollection of where she is, or how she got there. This is further confounded when she can’t even remember her name, or who she is. Her family arrive at the hospital to reclaim her and that doesn’t jog her memory. Her brother Scott, his girlfriend Julie and Carson the sorta-boy-next-door all try and help her to piece back the memories of her life. She discovers that she wasn’t a very likable person and quickly realizes this is a ‘second chance’ that most don’t get.
Her best friend Cassie is still missing and her body is subsequently discovered prompting the police to begin a murder investigation, with Sammy prime suspect.
Her parents have a non-existent relationship and the family atmosphere is tense, heightened by Sammy’s obvious distaste towards long-term boyfriend Del and some serious crushing on Carson.She quickly discards the majority of her so-called friends, who are in the main nasty and bitchy.
Sammy’s mind is playing tricks on her as she suffers hallucinations/visions, surges of memory/recollections, eerie images of dead Cassie, and mysterious warning notes that are left in close proximity.
It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of JLA’s writing and I adore the Lux, Covenent and Dark Elements series. This is the first contemporary novel I’ve read from JLA and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, it didn’t hook me as much as the other books did. The romance is quite muted compared to her other novels, and I missed that. Because boy can JLA write great romance scenes.
However, she has deftly developed the mystery/suspense theme within this novel and as a reader, you constantly wonder whether Sammy is being told the truth by those around her, and continuously ponder who is trustworthy. I did guess the culprit pretty early on – the clues are subtly embedded throughout the story – but I constantly questioned myself, and switched my mind a few times.
The writing was sublime, and the pacing bang-on, as usual. I don’t think the dialogue was as engaging as normal, lacking the humorous/satirical element that is regularly found in her fantasy books, however I felt the characters were a bit more unique and individual as a result.
I finished this book in less than 24 hours, and that says it all really.
Another epic read from writing power-house Jennifer L. Armentrout.