Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

can't look away


First, the Goodreads summary:

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?

I really, really liked Can’t Look Away, and I think Donna Cooner hit the nail on the head with her portrayal of Torrey. Yes, it takes a little while to warm up to Torrey – you wonder how it is that she can’t stop focusing on her followers and her popularity and how others perceive her, which all makes you want to reach inside the book and shake some sense into her. From my work with teenagers, though, Torrey as a character is a pretty astute commentary on teenage girls (and guy, frankly) and their need for social media attention which also leads to real-life attention. While Torrey’s case might be a little exaggerated due to her vlog fandom and due to the fact that she’s not real, it’s eerily close to reality.

Aside from Torrey, there are some great supporting characters including a sweet potential romance and an intriguing story that make you want to see how it all turns out. Can’t Look Away was a great, timely, very real story that teenage girls will easily identify with. Find Can’t Look Away here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.