Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

How did I get the book? Picked it up at BEA

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey’s sister is killed in an accident — maybe because of Torrey and her videos — Torrey’s perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn’t know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey’s internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there’s Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

200words (or less) review: Torrey is the girl that helps you with your hair and make-up. Her YouTube channel has a big following and she loved the high of getting thousands of likes on her videos. Now her younger sister is dead and online Torrey isn’t doing much better than real-life Torrey.

Books with unlikable narrators are interesting. Torrey isn’t endearing, she’s self-centered and vain. While her grief is convincing Torrey’s initial thoughts about speaking in court aren’t so much about her sister but about how this will redeem her. So much about Torrey’s life is tangled in image and it takes a good while for her character to grow.

Despite this I never wanted to stop reading Can’t Look Away. I wanted to know this would end and if Torrey would turn things around. Also I liked Raylene and Luis’s family.

Can’t Look Away is certainly worth a read. Presenting a perfect ‘image’ is so much a part of our world and Torrey is a good example of how lost you can get in this.

Recommend it?


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