Guest Review: Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Why I chose this book:
I chose to read this book because my students are obsessed with following YouTube channels and everything social media. I'm the right age for social media. I'm the right age for social media, but it has just never appealed to me. I thought that this book might give me some insight to how teen's minds revolve around social media. I also like books that feature real-world scenarios and how to deal with them.

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner
Publisher: Point
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
B&N  ||  Amazon  ||  Book Depository

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 to accept 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? (Goodreads)

My Bookish Likes:

Real world issues. 
Something very unfortunate happens to the main character Torrey within the first chapters of the book. I thought the reaction of the family and Torrey's inner thoughts were true to what could easily happen to any family. The inclusion of the Internet and Torrey's fashion vlog didn't feel too pushed and seemed realistic.

Voice of main character. 
Donna Cooner would often write what Torrey was thinking before she answered a question. Often the thoughts were very different from what Torrey actually said, which can be a reality for high school girls.

Light romance.
I liked that the plot didn't completely revolve around Torrey trying to get the attention of a boy. There was just enough romance and not too much.

My Bookish Mehs:

Voice of the main character.
Though I technically likes part of her voice, I always asked the question, "Why can'[t she just say what she's thinking?!" She is very fake; however, that's probably very accurate to how teenage girls think at times. While I understand the literary devices that the author was employing, it just made me a little mad, and I honestly wanted to reach through the book and shake Torrey's shoulders. Yet, this book could be good for teens to see that they are not the only ones who are not strong enough to just come out and say what they think.

It took FOREVER... I mean really forever for the main character to even consider changing anything about her behavior. It seemed at points that she wanted to but then would revert back to vain intentions.

Final Thoughts:
Overall I'd probably not recommend this book unless I thought that it would help someone see how their behavior affects others. Or maybe to someone who is going through a similar scenario as Torrey.

I gave this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

About the Reviewer:

Kristen is 28 years old and stays busy teaching 6th grade in a small town in Oregon. She loves her fiancĂ©, dogs, cooking, and Harry Potter books. If she had more time, she would create her own book blog, but for now, she collects books for her classroom library.

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