Thursday, 15 January 2015

Review for Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner 
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release: 8th January 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Grief, YouTube
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Torrey Grey is famous – at least, she is on the internet. Thousands of people watch her beauty vlog for tips on how to be popular and pretty. But when Torrey’s sister is killed in an accident her world implodes, especially as she feels partly to blame. And that’s when the trolling starts . . .

How can Torrey mourn her sister in private, when her bubbly public persona is all over the web? Then she meets Luis, whose family owns the local funeral home, and he challenges all that Torrey thought she knew about love, life, and loss."

Torrey Grey’s beauty channel 'Beautystarz15' is a YouTube sensation. Her online reputation is built on having the perfect life; every viewer either wants to be her or feels like she’s their best friend, so when Torrey’s younger sister Miranda dies it’s impossible for her to keep up that perfect carefree image anymore. Her thousands of followers once made Torrey happy but now the internet is watching her grieve and the haters are harder than ever to ignore. Can’t Look Away is Torrey’s journey as she figures out who she is now that she’s no longer that perfect girl and discovers that beauty can be found in the ugliest of times.

At the beginning of the book Torrey is not the most likeable character to read about. She’s very vain and cares way too much about what other people think of her which is understandable as her whole YouTube channel is based on people liking her. Personally I’m okay with unlikeable characters especially if there is character development throughout the story. Torrey definitely goes on a journey to find out who she is so my advice is to stick with her.

The turning point in Torrey’s grief is when she meets Luis whose family run the local funeral home. Luis is a guy who has lived with death his whole life and so he shows Torrey how to live with it too. Luis was my favourite character and I loved his and Torrey’s relationship. There were some deep moments where he’d show her a different side to death but they were also balanced out with some really cute scenes.

What impressed me most with Can’t Look Away was how perfectly Donna Cooner captures Torrey’s grief in her writing. Not only did I physically feel Torrey’s loss as I was reading but I also felt her feelings change as she grew. All of the relationships were done so well here but seeing how Torrey’s relationship with Miranda in both life and death affects her as a person was the real highlight for me.

Overall I thought that Can’t Look Away was a brilliant read that covers a lot of important current themes.
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