Title: CAN'T LOOK AWAY
Author: Donna Cooner
Pub. Date: August 26, 2014
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 loved this book so much I read it in one day... it was just really that good.
Torrey is dealing with alot at once. A big move after the loss of her little sister to a drunk driver. Along with a double betrayal by her best friend and boyfriend. She's a beauty guru on YouTube and public criticism is harsh. When a video of a very normal sisterly argument surfaces via her ex best friend, (who I wanted to reach in my Kindle and smack), Torrey has alot more to deal with. With even harsher criticism and trash talking from the general public.
On top of all that she's trying desperately to fit in at her new school which doesn't include hanging out with her own cousin Raylene. She finds herself being attracted to Luis who is avoided like the plague by the pops or popular crowd. He fits into Torrey's life though for multiple reasons and she can't deny what she's feeling long.
At home she is dealing with a vacant mom that is struggling with the loss of her other daughter and a dad who spends time away from the house mostly.
I like the incorporation of dia de los muertos, and I loved the obviously Latina abuelita of the swoon worthy Luis Rivera who surprised me with his secrets right along with Torrey. I have always thought it was a beautiful thing to do for your loved ones that have passed. Needless to say my fave character is definitely Luis but Torrey is a really complex MC and she was a very believable one too.
I loved the plot it was gritty and real and just demanded that you see what grief looks like and feels like if you have never experienced it up close. The progression of the story was steady though I never found out about the mother's author which makes me crazy LOL. Though I am pretty certain it was Mia or Blair. Who were great characters even if they were just snotty B's. And I'm just gonna say it... yay Ross! LOL okay.
Where the story goes and how it plays out made me proud of Torrey and I was really just spent in the end, at 2a.m. to be exact. The emotions tied to this read were intense. But I loved every second of it.
I most definitely will recommend it as one of my best YA reads in 2014! Definitely a fan of Donna Cooner who is a new to me author.
Donna Cooner was born and raised in Texas. She is a three time graduate of Texas A&M University. A former teacher and school administrator, she now teaches teachers and principals at Colorado State University where she is the director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her two labs and a cat named Stu. She's a big fan of chocolate and laughing (not necessarily in that order).
Donna is the author of over twenty picture books and was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators. She has also written children's television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. SKINNY is her debut novel for young adults.
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