booknook — Young Adult book reviewsA Young Adult sci-fi thriller book for computer nerds. YESSSS!! Where have you been all my life?If you read my blog regularly or if you've at least seen my Bitchin' Book Blog section, you probably know that I'm a huge computer nerd. I love coding websites, I love learning PHP (but I'm still a noob), I love watching my boyfriend write out complex code stuff that goes way over my head (I think it's sexy), and I was one of only two people who signed up for the Computer Science class in high school. Hi, my name is Ashley and I'm a computer nerd. Don't Turn Around called to me!This book is insane. There's conspiracy, crazy scary medical procedures, hacking, evil guys in suits, more hacking, and more hacking. It's awesome O_O The cool thing about this book is that it keeps you guessing. It's classified as a "mystery" because the whole point of the book is trying to figure out WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!! The main characters Noa and Peter have to hack into web servers to steal information, then try to decipher that information, and figure out who the hell is trying to kill/capture them!As a computer nerd, there were a few things about this book that didn't quite fit that I couldn't ignore. Most people probably won't be bothered by these things, but as a computer nerd who has a boyfriend with leet programming/web developing skills, they were small details that irked me. :P They just made the story a little less believable for me, but anyone who's less of a nerd than I am probably wouldn't notice! Really, I'm just nit-picking. So just keep in mind that these will probably only jump out at you if you're really into computer stuff!1) Noa uses a MacBook Pro for all her hacking.It's perfectly possible to hack with a Mac, but it's certainly not the norm. Most hackers use Linux because it gives them more control over the operating system.2) Noa didn't immediately recognize "WoW" as "World of Warcraft."Any teenage computer nerd would immediately know what WoW means, especially when said in context ("It's the name of my avatar in WoW"). Noa didn't seem to know what it was at all, and even when Peter explained it was World of Warcraft, she clearly wasn't that familiar with it, although she was at least able to identify it as "a video game". WoW is huge in the online community. Even if computer nerds don't play it, they all know what it is!3) Apparently Noa had never heard of a domain name being stolen.This happens all the time in the online world. It can be done a variety of different ways, the most common probably being social engineering. I'm not even a hacker and I've seen this happen to websites I work with many times.Okay, that's enough of my nit-picking! Other than a few details, this book had some really interesting computer elements that I loved! I was fascinated by the Anonymous references, because I know some people who have gotten involved in hacktivism. And if you don't know much about it, you'll probably love reading about it. It's interesting stuff! It's all about people who 'voice' their political opinions through internet hacking, which includes defacing 'evil' corporation websites, organizing denial-of-service attacks, hacking into private servers to leak information that they feel should be made available to the public, etc. It's illegal... but interesting.Don't Turn Around was actually a huge surprise for me, because it took a really unexpected direction.. but I loved it! I thought it was going to be all about computers and hacking and conspiracies, but I had no idea that Michelle Gagnon was going to throw viruses into the mix! It kind of came out of nowhere, but it was great! I love books and movies about viruses. That's probably why I like dystopian books so much, because they're so often about viruses killing off the population and society having to rebuild. Don't Turn Around combined my two loves: computers and viruses (but not the computer kind of viruses! LOL!).So why the three stars? Although I liked the characters, I never got hugely invested in them. I almost don't even know how to explain it. I just felt a little distanced. There is also a lack of romance. I'm the kind of girl who likes a little bit of romance in all my books, and Don't Turn Around was missing that. Finally, the ending wasn't very satisfying. I didn't feel like there was much closure or resolution. I was left with more questions than answers and that frustrated me. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series when it comes out, because I'm dying to find out what happens, but I would have liked more of a wrap-up at the end of this book.I loved this quote!! It's kind of funny, but it totally resonated with me!"You want to touch another hacker's computer?" She arched an eyebrow. "I know, I know," he said, grinning. "We don't know each other all that well yet, so it's early to be sharing computers—"[..]Noa was loath to let anyone else touch her computer. It was kind of a geek thing, the way chefs brought their own knives to work. No one else handled the tools of your trade. —Don't Turn Around, Page 222When I see someone else on my computer, it's like someone is looking into my soul. I feel naked and exposed. I feel like I need to supervise their browsing, or whatever it is they're doing on my computer. It's not that I have things to hide, it's just that it makes me feel uncomfortable. My boyfriend is the only person I allow on my computer unattended, lol!