ARC Review – Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

20578970Title:  Can’t Look Away

Author: Donna Cooner

Rating: ★★★

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?

Huge thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I originally picked up this book because I used to be into fashion and beauty blogging, so that aspect of this book really appealed to me. I also wanted to find out how Torrey’s vlog video might have contributed to her sister’s death.

Overall this was a really sweet book with a lot of emotional punch to it. Torrey and her family are dealing with the death of the youngest member of their family. Torrey was fighting with her sister moments before she was hit by a car, and this haunts her — even more so because it’s caught on video and even later put online.

I liked the family dynamics and the thought of losing a sister really broke me. I can’t imagine losing my own sister. I could totally connect with Torrey on her relationship with her sister too. Much like Torrey and Miranda, I also fought with my sister A LOT growing up. We were very different and had a lot of trouble being sisters. Later in life we found our way and became friends and now we’re super close. So my heart really broke for Torrey.

The vlogging aspect of the book was really interesting. I know how Torrey felt about wanting to become popular online for her videos (in my case it was my blog), but sometimes her age didn’t really mesh well for me. I guess it’s because I barely had the internet when I was sixteen, but I also did NOT have $300 jackets and Marc Jacob’s purses at that age. I really wanted to know where Torrey was getting the money for this stuff (her parents? It was never really addressed where the money was coming from, but it also was never really shown that her family had money either).

I really liked a lot of the side characters in this book too. Luis and Raylene were both great characters and not only were they important for Torrey to grow and come to terms with how her life had changed, they were both fleshed out pretty well and could hold their own. Even the old women were interesting (I LOVED everything that had to do with them and the Day of the Dead festival).

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