Title: The Look
Author: Sophia Bennett
Publication date: March, 2012
Publisher: Chicken House
Length: 327 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
Ted is fifteen, and…oh yes…tall. When she’s spotted by a model agency, she can’t believe it. At the same time, Ted’s fashionista sister, Ava, is diagnosed with cancer. With her world turned upside down, Ted has a lot of growing up to do, some of it in five-inch platforms. Should she be the model sister for Ava? Life in front of the camera is harder than it looks. And will they still be smiling when it’s over?
The Look is without a doubt one of those books that will make you roar with laughter one minute, shed a few tears the next but most importantly, it will make you think and re-evaluate your life. I loved everything about it, from the characters and the plot to Bennett’s writing style – just brilliant.
Writing from a 15-year old girl’s point of view is quite risky and and it can go horribly wrong since many times these teenagers sound a bit too mature, too adult-ish and I can’t seem get over the fact that I didn’t talk or think like that when I was their age, but Sophia Bennett pulls it off perfectly. Her ironic/sarcastic sense of humour definitely fits Ted’s personality and it’s one of the things that make this book as good as it is.
What I loved about this story, however, is the message that it’s trying to convey to its readers. I liked how different Ava becomes after she learns about her illness. She transforms from this stunning and popular older sister into someone brave and more mature. It’s interesting how different people think when they know they might lose the battle against the illness. I loved how she was behind Ted the whole time and encouraged her to go for it and give modelling a shot. It’s as if she said we only live once and we shouldn’t be afraid of taking chances…because what’s the worst that can happen? In the end we only regret the chances that we didn’t take and the decisions that we waited too long to take. The Look is an incredibly motivating and optimistic novel which will no doubt give hope to teenagers all around the world.
At the same time, it’s not a depressing and heart-wrenching novel which tells the story of a girl who’s trying to survive cancer, quite the opposite. Don’t be afraid to pick it up if you don’t like highly emotional stories because it’s not like that. If you like contemporary / chick lit novels then I can guarantee that you’ll love this one. The characters will really grow on you along the way and you’ll be amazed how much they change by the end of the story and how much the two sisters’ relationship itself changes.
The modelling world itself was very well researched and written – I’ve always had a soft spot for fashion so I was really excited about reading this book and it didn’t disappoint me one bit. If I had to make comparisons, I’d say it’s like America’s Next Top Model and The Devil Wears Prada rolled into one, sprinkled with a pinch of humour and topped off with a great sisterly bond, witty and amiable characters, and gripping storyline. What’s not to love?