Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

cant look away Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it released on 8/26.

Can’t Look Away is the story of Torrey Grey, a YouTube star, famous for fashion and beauty advice.  Torrey has just moved  with her family to a new town after dealing with the tragic death of her little sister.  Torrey is struggling with guilt and feeling responsible for what happened to Miranda, all while trying to adjust and create a new normal for herself—a new normal that still includes elements of her old life and fitting into the popular crowd again in a different school.  Throughout the story, Torrey is haunted by memories of Miranda and she becomes fascinated with learning about The Day of the Dead after making friends with Luis, the son of the town’s funeral home owners.  Luis, though somewhat of an outcast for reasons that Torrey doesn’t yet know, helps her learn more about El dio de los Muertos, which in turn helps her begin to heal.  She is also becoming friends with her cousin Raylene, who is not necessarily part of the in-crowd, but also doesn’t care to be. While trying to be accepted by the new popular group, she learns what real friends should be like and begins to worry less about popularity and YouTube fame, and more about being happy.  I assume that Can’t Look Away is titled so because Torrey cannot seem to stop thinking about the tragic accident and repeating it over and over in her mind, especially after a video of the moments before Miranda’s death surfaces.  I have had Skinny by Donna Cooner on my To-be-read list for quite some time and have yet to get to it, but after reading this title, I am more eager to do so.  This is written in a way that teens will be able to easily relate to.  While they may not immediately like and care about Torrey, they will see how they could want to be like her and eventually will be able to have compassion for her and begin to like her character.  My students love to read realistic fiction that involves some drama, so I am happy to be able to send this one their way.

My rating: 4/5

Who would I recommend to?  I will be buying this title for my high school library and recommending it to many, especially those who already like Jennifer Brown’s books, since I feel they are kind of similar writing styles.

Drugs/Alcohol: The character does attend a party or two, but there is no mention of drinking or doing drugs that I can recall.

Sexual Content: Nothing other than a kissing scene or two.

Language:  There is nothing to be concerned about here.

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