Don't Look Behind You

by Lois Duncan

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Don't Look Behind You is a suspense story in the best tradition. It examines a family which, overnight, must abandon home and friends to enter a government witness protection program. The move is hardest on April, the story's narrator, an eleventh grader who must leave her boyfriend Steve, the upcoming prom, and Steve's graduation without a word of explanation. The difficulties the family encounters are tremendous. Mrs. Corrigan, an author with a strong career, can no longer write and publish, third grader Bram must be fitted for contacts to hide his distinctive two colored eyes, and April cannot even play on the school tennis team because her skill will attract attention. It is too much for her, and she gives way to her own selfish desires with disastrous consequences.

While weaving a tale of drug dealers, hit men, and fear, the novel reveals something about human nature. All people are dependent upon a certain image of themselves and changing that image is almost impossible. Each change brings another, until the characters in the book do not know who they are any longer. The exciting climax helps them realize the best way to retain their identity is through each other. As a family, they can support one another through any changes.

April's tendency to see the world only from her point of view can be applied to all readers. It is easy to understand how she makes the near deadly mistakes which almost lead to a tragic ending. The values of family, love, and togetherness help each family member to come to terms with the irreversible situation.

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