A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Don't Turn Around deals fairly realistically with the subject of computer hacking. It certainly doesn't provide step-by-step instructions for online mayhem, but the author takes care to keep the story mostly within the realm of possibility.
The characters find the courage to continue their investigation in the face of mounting physical and emotional threats. The novel emphasizes working together for the common good and standing up to people and organizations that subvert personal freedoms and actively harm the unprotected.
Positive Role Models
Peter and Noa, the two main characters, engage in semi- and outright illegal computer hacking, but they do so mainly to protect themselves from the shadow forces that are actively seeking to harm them. At first understandably focused on their own predicaments, they come to realize that the injustices extend far and wide, and they work together in the face of great danger to save whomever they can.
Violence & Scariness
Although suspense is high throughout, there's not a lot of physical violence. Peter takes a beating, there's a shootout, and news of the death of a secondary character is relayed second-hand. Some body parts are disposed of in a disturbing, somewhat nauseating fashion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
It's implied that Peter and his former girlfriend were physically intimate. There's a spark of attraction between him and Noa, but neither has the opportunity to act upon it.
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Infrequent swearing includes "bastards," "hell," and "screw you." In a couple cases, stronger language is conveyed via acronyms like "FU" and "WTF?"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Peter, a teenager, drinks a little bit at home. The brother of his girlfriend, Amanda, died of a drug overdose.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Don't Turn Around is a fast-paced techno thriller featuring characters willing to break the law to save themselves and protect others. The novel raises questions about online privacy and medical experimentation. There's some violence: a beating, a shootout, the death of a secondary character that's relayed second-hand, and body parts disposed of in a disturbing fashion. Language includes "bastards," "hell," and "screw you," as well as acronyms like "WTF?" and "FU."
Is It Any Good?
DON'T TURN AROUND is an exciting techno-thriller, full of nonstop action from its opening scene. Peter and Noa, are well defined and reasonably realistic characters, despite their phenomenal computing skills. The villains, however, lack complexity, and Peter's parents seem one-dimensional in their awfulness, even though some explanation is given for their bad behavior. Although not advertised as the first book in a series, the novel ends with enough loose ends to suggest that the story will be continued.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.