Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Point-Scholastic
Arc: Scholastic

Today's teen girl is obsessed with two things: beauty and social media. The prevalence of beauty blogs and vlogs is not only a celebration of confidence but also of a lack thereof. Scroll down to any comment below a video, and you will see encouraging comments and cyberbullying. For sixteen year old Torrey, her YouTube vlog is her life, and it cost her sister's. 

Preparing for her video channel, Torrey is with her little sister, Miranda, when, after a fight, Miranda storms off into a crosswalk where she is hit and killed by a drunk driver. Distraught and wanting to start over, Torrey's parents move the family from Colorado to Texas, forcing Torrey to be the "new girl."

In Colorado, Torrey was the most popular girl in school. Now, she is the "new kid," although her face is recognizable by many. After moving across the street from her aunt and uncle, she meets her cousin Raylene, whose style is not quite up to par as far as Torrey in concerned. 

As every teenage drama includes a set of mean girls, Torry quickly realizes that Blair is the "it" girl, and she becomes torn between being popular and being true to herself. She finds herself drawn to Luis, a quiet, smart guy who seems to be into Torrey but doesn't fit with the popular crowd. Perhaps for the first time, Torrey must choose between being normal and quirky like Raylene or popular and fake like Blair.

Cooner brings one of today's most critical issues to the forefront of YA lit, highlighting the dangers of taking social media too seriously. The characters are believable, and even when Torrey seems to be at her superficial low, her true sense of self is redeemable. The plot is so engaging that it's difficult to put the book down.

You will definitely enter "one more chapter" mode.

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