Look
Things Lulu Shapiro's 10,000 Flash followers don't know about her: * That the video of her with another girl was never supposed to go public. * That Owen definitely wasn't supposed to break up with her because of it. * That behind the carefully crafted selfies and scenes Lulu projects onto people's screens, her life feels like a terrible, uncertain mess.Then Lulu meets Cass. Cass isn't interested in looking at Lulu's life, only in living in it. And The Hotel—a gorgeous space with an intriguing, Old Hollywood history and a trust-fund kid to restore it—seems like the perfect, secret place for them to get to know each other. But just because Lulu has stepped out of the spotlight doesn't mean it'll stop following her every move.It's a story about what you present vs. who you really are, about real intimacy and manufactured intimacy and the blurring of that line. It's a deceptively glamorous, feminist, emotionally complex, utterly compelling, queer coming-of-age novel about falling in love and taking ownership of your own self—your whole self—in the age of social media.

Look Details

TitleLook
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 31st, 2020
PublisherDial Books
ISBN-139780525554264
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, GLBT, Queer

Look Review

  • Abby Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I never write reviews, but I felt like this book isn't getting the same level of hype as other 2020 releases and it needs to!This is a book about a social media influencer, Lulu, whose account goes viral after she accidentally posts a video of her hooking up with another girl at a party. Her original popularity had been from her boyfriend at the time, who is the son of a famous band frontman. She shuts herself off from most of her friends and family, and spends her life going through the motions I never write reviews, but I felt like this book isn't getting the same level of hype as other 2020 releases and it needs to!This is a book about a social media influencer, Lulu, whose account goes viral after she accidentally posts a video of her hooking up with another girl at a party. Her original popularity had been from her boyfriend at the time, who is the son of a famous band frontman. She shuts herself off from most of her friends and family, and spends her life going through the motions - posting lots of selfies and projecting an image of being perfectly together on the internet, going to parties, hanging out with the friends she should hang out with at only certain times, and ignoring her feelings with the help of substances. She meets Cass (our love interest; this is sapphic) at a party, who takes her to "The Hotel," where a trust fund kid is trying to renovate his family's old hotel to bring it into a modern age. They spend more and more time together, at this hotel, and plot ensues.I devoured this book. Maybe it's just the books I'm consistently exposed to, but there are so few wlw romances out there, especially soft romances and ones geared towards younger readers. I thought this book had really fantastic representation all around (Using the word bisexual to describe someone? Shocking. World tilting. Unerving. Am I living in 2019 or what?)- and the consistent thread is a discussion about how men use images of women. The reason this really spoke to me as someone who has grown up with social media, and doesn't really remember a time when it wasn't a topic of contention, is that it wasn't all about bashing those platforms. There is a tendency I've seen from adults to just condescend to their young reader audiences by writing about how social media induces mindless scrolling, social reclusiveness, cyberbullying, etc. etc. Surface level critiques by people who have rarely, if ever, been on social media, and even then they probably just have a Facebook account. Yes, sure, whatever. Social media is rotting our brains. There are other issues, however, that people talk about way less: literally selling your private life online, being unable to control the attention and invasions of privacy that come with being well-known, and the constant pressures to keep up a certain image. This books did a phenomenal job addressing this because it talked about what led to this moment. The ongoing thread of this book is the control that men have over women's images. Hollywood stars, portraiture, publishing rights, and so on. This is done so eloquently that I can't really do it justice in a review. Plus, it actually shows how young people are constantly connected. I'm really tired of contemporary romances ignoring cellphone use. The reason this is compared to Emergency Contact is not because they have very much in common; it's because they both effectively depict the way people text each other, have conversations in messages, and view each other's actions via the internet. Also, Lulu at one part was sad and locked herself in her room to binge Friends on Netflix and that is the most realistic portrayal of a teen girl that I have ever read. Themes aside, this book was so good. I don't know how to be much more honest or concise than that. All our characters were well developed and didn't feel like a caricature of how high schoolers act (can you tell that bugs me?). I was rooting for our love story, which captured the uncertainty of being into another woman but not knowing if she is also into women. The two mains had instant chemistry but it didn't feel forced or like insta-love which is really rare. Cass also had proportionate reactions to things, and didn't blow a gasket for the sake of plot and conflict, which was awesome. The conflict in the story made sense, and wasn't bombarded from all sides. Lulu has a poor relationship with her family, but it's not a super huge plot point. She gets to grow closer with her mother and sister as she learns to open up to people in real life and not just on the internet (main conflict of the story), but it isn't after blowout fights and unnecessary/ gratuitous cruelty.I also really like that there was a straight female best friend who was 1) supportive of Lulu's sexuality, so their conflict was not only about her being uncomfortable or betrayed or other irritating topes like that and 2) who stayed completely platonic and the main character was not harboring secret feelings for. While I am a sucker for a good friends to lovers story, I also like platonic friendships being allowed to be platonic and have that be considered just as valuable as a romantic relationship. Their friendship also felt real, where her best friend wasn't there for a funny line at the beginning and then ignored. There was conflict, there was resolution, and there was (later in the plot) effective communication! Yay!Tl/dr: This is a feminist book that is about teenagers but actually reads like they are real humans. With lesbians. It's impossible not to love it!
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  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    for fans of Emergency Contact AND We Are Okay? Okay, i'll bite
  • emmy
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. I pulled it out thinking that it would be something kind of light and trashy to lose myself in for a day, and it ended up being something completely different. It is a keenly observed book. I can only describe it as a part-nostalgia part-relatable part-slow-burn-queer-romance coming-of-age creature... and I didn't want to put it down. Romanoff has an uncanny ability to describe the awkward, corporeal experiences of being a teenager - at least as I experienced it.It's I really enjoyed this book. I pulled it out thinking that it would be something kind of light and trashy to lose myself in for a day, and it ended up being something completely different. It is a keenly observed book. I can only describe it as a part-nostalgia part-relatable part-slow-burn-queer-romance coming-of-age creature... and I didn't want to put it down. Romanoff has an uncanny ability to describe the awkward, corporeal experiences of being a teenager - at least as I experienced it.It's essentially about snapchat, which is something that I didn't grow up with and that (as a 31 year old) I don't use regularly, so in some ways it felt very interesting to imagine my own adolescent life with the influence of that kind of social media, since there were other aspects of the main character's story that felt very true to my own. I also always relish a good overtly feminist bent, and with complex friendship navigation plotlines. Would definitely recommend picking this up. It's so much more than it seems at first glance.Mentioned in a blog post at https://booksbeyondbinaries.blog/2020...
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  • Esmée van der Weide
    January 1, 1970
    ''You could be nothing,'' Lulu says.''I could be anything,'' Cass corrects.I was sent an ARC of this book by a fellow booklover as she wanted to get it into the hands of a bisexual reviewer, mainly to take a look at the representation in this book. Her concern was how the representation in this book might be feeding some stereotypes around bisexuality and I was happy to take a look at this! So in this review, I am not just reviewing the book, but also giving my take on the bisexual ''You could be nothing,'' Lulu says.''I could be anything,'' Cass corrects.I was sent an ARC of this book by a fellow booklover as she wanted to get it into the hands of a bisexual reviewer, mainly to take a look at the representation in this book. Her concern was how the representation in this book might be feeding some stereotypes around bisexuality and I was happy to take a look at this! So in this review, I am not just reviewing the book, but also giving my take on the bisexual representation.I have put my extended opinion at the end of this post as otherwise the review itself would become way too long for comfort.This book is really flying under the radar, especially compared to other 2020 releases and especially compared to the queer and f/f releases. If it wasn't for this ARC, I would not have heard from it. Really, I have not seen anyone, except the person I got this from, talk about this book and it's a shame.Look is about Lulu Shapiro, a girl who has over 10,000 followers on Flash, a Snapchat like app. What her fans don't know is that behind the carefully crafted selfies and scenes Lulu projects onto people's screens, her life feels like a terrible, uncertain mess, that the video of her with another girl was never supposed to go public and her boyfriend was definitely not supposed to break up with her because of it.But then she meets Cass and she takes Lulu to this place called The Hotel—a place where no phones are allowed and Lulu doesn't have to worry about her public image. But just because Lulu has stepped out of the spotlight doesn't mean it'll stop following her every move.So, this book is absolutely beautiful. I am gonna quote a part of the blurb of this book directly as it comprises exactly what this book is without spoiling the plot:''It's a story about what you present vs. who you really are, about real intimacy and manufactured intimacy and the blurring of that line. It's a deceptively glamorous, feminist, emotionally complex, utterly compelling, queer coming-of-age novel about falling in love and taking ownership of your own self—your whole self—in the age of social media.''I loved how soft this book was. No so-to-say hard edges in the character or story, nothing is out of place and everything makes sense on another level than just logical succession. The book is in no way a fluffy read though, as it addresses real issues around different topics and some can be a little heavy, especially if you are expecting a fluffy f/f romance. This book is so much more than a romance as it's about a journey to discover your true self and what impacts social media can have on your life. I am glad books like these are written in 2020 as the topics are so important and relevant. Look really moved me, especially as I saw a lot of myself in Lulu and helped me reflect on my own life and own self a little bit more.I highly recommend this book. It's soft, it has amazing queer representation and shows the process of young people figuring out who they are, what they feel and what they want. I love how all of these factors were parts of one big arc and none were specific plot points. Look has gorgeous writing and it let me enjoy a whole rollercoaster of feelings in one beautiful story. I don't read a lot of contemporary as it isn't my favourite type of story, but this book just grabbed me and didn't let me go until the very end. It felt pure and raw, and I am completely satisfied with the road the characters have taken from the beginning until the end of this book. Definitely a book that deserves more attention than it's getting and one of the better queer-coming-of-age stories I have ever read.Now about the bisexual representation.So, in the blurb you can read how Lulu was kissing a girl on video and accidentally shared it with her flash followers and her boyfriend broke up with her because of it. I am going to privide a little context which can be seen as mild spoilers. A few months before the events of the book, Lulu was dating Owen. Their relationship was starting to get a little dull, so Lulu wanted to spice it up a little by having Owen watch how Lulu kisses other girls. Before their relationship, Lulu did this girl-kissing-thing more often to get the attention from guys, either for herself or the girl kissing her. But Lulu is bisexual, and these things are part of really big stigmas around bisexuality, like 'bisexual girls that cheat on their boyfriends with other girls' and 'one romatic/sexual partner is not enough for bisexual people'.  This is why the person who sent me this book wanted to have a bisexual reviewer's opinion on this.Only looking at the shallow meaning of all this, yes it feeds into the stigma and it can be really harmful for the bisexual community. But while reading this book, I really kept my mind's eye open to make it make sense and eventually I did and this is what I figured out:Lulu spends the entire book figuring out herself and letting go of the Lulu the world wants to see. She is in a relationship with a guy, like girls are expected to be, and even though it was stranding, Lulu didn't let go of this relationship. Why? She still loved Owen, but not in a romantic way. The heteronormativity pushed into her and expected from her from the world never truly gave her room to even think about that loving something beside a boy was a valid option, I think? So when she discovers kissing girls is actually something she loves to do, she writes it off as a weird thing instead of being part of her sexual preference. She completely convinces herself that the girl kissing is something she is doing for Owen and their relationship, while really she is discovering herself. Lulu also mentions how she doesn't like labels and terms to describe herself and she only calls herself bisexual one time. The book doesn't even explore anything beyond that. I was thinking that perhaps Lulu isn't 100% monoamorous. Like, she can have one partner, but is not limited to just one, if you get what I mean? The stigma around bisexuality is that all bisexuals are polyamorous and even though that's not true, there are plenty of people who are bi and poly at the same time.Long story short, everything that could point to stigmas are explained well in the book and as a bisexual I can find myself in Lulu's actions, but you have to connect the dots yourself. If people are only reading the surface of the story, it can feed the stereotypes and be potentially harmful for the bi-community. I would have liked to see more context around this. But who knows, as this is an ARC and this context may very well be in the final product. The representation is well done and I can only recommend this book as we need more bi-rep in books.
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  • Little
    January 1, 1970
    bless sapphic books
  • Emily (emilykatereads)
    January 1, 1970
    "It's the things men do to women. The ways they think they get to be in charge of you. The way it never seems to stop."This was so powerful. I wasn't expecting this to be so impactful with its themes of the ways men hold power of women and control their images, but damn. I entered this thinking it would be a light contemporary with a social media star. I was so wrong, but I am so happy with what I got.This is by far the most powerful critique of social media I've seen. I find often social media "It's the things men do to women. The ways they think they get to be in charge of you. The way it never seems to stop."This was so powerful. I wasn't expecting this to be so impactful with its themes of the ways men hold power of women and control their images, but damn. I entered this thinking it would be a light contemporary with a social media star. I was so wrong, but I am so happy with what I got.This is by far the most powerful critique of social media I've seen. I find often social media is critiqued at such a surface level, and most of it makes me just want to roll my eyes. But this shows it holds power for good, but also for worse. It dove into misogyny in the culture, and further how woman's images are reflected in media by men. Lulu is a really dynamic character. She really, really developed from the start of this to the end and it was a beautiful transition. The writing really conveyed the uncertainty and internal struggle Lulu was going through, and I could feel the despair. We also get a wonderful coming-of-age story as Lulu figures out her sexuality and how she battled with the emotions until she figured out what it meant to her. The friendship between Lulu and Bea is wonderful, plus with her sister. Bea so wholeheartedly accepts Lulu, and her sexuality is never an issue. The problem is Lulu needs to learn how to authentically communicate with people, something she had never done as she was never being her authentic self. This story brings us through the process of her playing the game and putting on an act for how she wants to appear to everyone, to eventually learning what it means to let people in. Something I love is truly how feminist this story became. Often I take it with a grain of salt when a book is described as feminist; it's become a trend to capitalize off any somewhat strong female, and often attributed to things that don't actually critique misogyny in any way. This here, does. The ways in which men control women becomes a dominant theme, and the story fights back against that narrative. *ARC provided by publisher for honest review*
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    If books like this had existed when I was a teenager, I'd be a completely different person right now.
  • Lindsay Sproul
    January 1, 1970
    This book was delivered the day I got the coronavirus, and OH MY GOD I was so glad! It's been a long time since I've read a book about teenagers where the characters feel SO MUCH like real teenagers, especially in the present. This is a fierce and powerful critique of the impact social media has on young people, on girls. It shows us the ways in which girls struggle to maintain power and to fight objectification. The writing is killer. Lulu is one of the most realistic characters I've come This book was delivered the day I got the coronavirus, and OH MY GOD I was so glad! It's been a long time since I've read a book about teenagers where the characters feel SO MUCH like real teenagers, especially in the present. This is a fierce and powerful critique of the impact social media has on young people, on girls. It shows us the ways in which girls struggle to maintain power and to fight objectification. The writing is killer. Lulu is one of the most realistic characters I've come across in such a long time, and I deeply appreciate her honesty. Cass is also utterly readable, and likable. Get your hands on this book right now, people!!!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book started out a little slow but once I got into it I really loved it. This was a great queer, coming of age and finding your fierce feminist side story and I am here for it!I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shoshana G
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this quite a bit.Lulu is a high school student with a large following on a Snapchat-like app, where she posts beautiful pictures of her self and her beautiful life full of friends and parties. But what her followers don't know is that Lulu feels uncertain and unsure of most of the relationships in her life, despite crafting an enviable facade. When she meets the compelling Cass at a party and follows her to The Hotel, a building just as in-between and unfinished as Lulu feels, she begins I liked this quite a bit.Lulu is a high school student with a large following on a Snapchat-like app, where she posts beautiful pictures of her self and her beautiful life full of friends and parties. But what her followers don't know is that Lulu feels uncertain and unsure of most of the relationships in her life, despite crafting an enviable facade. When she meets the compelling Cass at a party and follows her to The Hotel, a building just as in-between and unfinished as Lulu feels, she begins to admit to herself what she wants and why her life feels off.Lulu felt like a genuine teenager struggling with desire and sexuality and learning about consent and feminism. Even when she made choices I didn't like, I understood where she was coming from and empathized with herI read an e-ARC through NetGalley.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    The feminist LA coming-of-age story of my dreams. It's so perceptive, so well-written, and eerily accurate when it comes to the experience of being a teenage girl. Plus it features a really gorgeous slow-burn romance.
  • Judith
    January 1, 1970
    No rating yes because while I did enjoy it, I need to read a second opinion on the bisexual rep first before I start praising it
  • mayday
    January 1, 1970
    i devoured this one on release day and i'm so incredibly glad i was able to. i know mary hk choi uses the phrase "highkey nothing happens" to describe her own books--and i think that highkey nothing happening is also an excellent hallmark of a zan romanoff book, and one that she pulls off incredibly well in her writing. what she gets so right isn't just the way her teen characters think and talk--it's the way they interact with one another in group settings; that sort of unstructured loose shape i devoured this one on release day and i'm so incredibly glad i was able to. i know mary hk choi uses the phrase "highkey nothing happens" to describe her own books--and i think that highkey nothing happening is also an excellent hallmark of a zan romanoff book, and one that she pulls off incredibly well in her writing. what she gets so right isn't just the way her teen characters think and talk--it's the way they interact with one another in group settings; that sort of unstructured loose shape a party night can have, but also the deliciously dangerous feeling that anything could happen, both the lazy, careless comfortableness and the conscious posturing to appear cool and effortless. the messy, real way her characters fall in love and how their relationships start and end, and the way her characters ultimately reinvent themselves to be better, more decisive, determined versions of themselves.i don't want to give anything away, but all i'll say is "look" is a brilliant book about social media, feminism, friendship, queerness and desire, art, the allure of old hollywood and the legacy of wealthy families, and the magic of los angeles. if you liked "grace and the fever" in particular i think you'll like this one. tl;dr zan romanoff is a wizard and i will read all of her books forever
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  • Rafa
    January 1, 1970
    Sweet YA coming of age story with queer characters (bisexual & lesbian). Lulu is a Social influencer whos currently going through the aftermath of posting wide something intimate that wasnt intended for her 5k followers. At first I rolled my eyes at her bicurious behavior but then remember what it was like being a teen girl and decided to follow her journey without as much judgement. Im glad I did, as it was nice to see her grow her confidence and figure out her path.I also really enjoyed Sweet YA coming of age story with queer characters (bisexual & lesbian). Lulu is a Social influencer who’s currently going through the aftermath of posting wide something intimate that wasn’t intended for her 5k followers. At first I rolled my eyes at her bicurious behavior but then remember what it was like being a teen girl and decided to follow her journey without as much judgement. I’m glad I did, as it was nice to see her grow her confidence and figure out her path.I also really enjoyed how fleshed out some of the secondary characters were, including the love interest, her sister Naomi, the best friend and ex-boyfriend. Reasons why this is not a 5 stars IMO: I wish we were privy to a bit more of Lulu’s relationship w Cass. Once they got together it felt like most scenes went on a fade to black, and I actually felt we got more from some of the other relationships. I was also disappointed when Cass reveals something close to the end... I don’t want to spoil it and it’s not treated as a big thing in the book itself, but it bumped for me.Still, I’d definitely recommend this one. I wish I’d had books like this in my teens years. :)Ps: I KNEW the podcast was a reference to “You must remember this”! Such greats storytelling of old Hollywood, and last season was all about female bodies being controlled by the entertainment business. Worth a listen
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    I received a ARC from the publisher at YallFest in exchange for an honest review.Lulu is a star on Look's version of Snapchat/Vine/TikTok, AKA Flash. A video of her kissing a girl gets out there and the world seemingly explodes. Lulu meets Cass, a girl from another school in the area, and instantly is friends with her. They start falling for each other without actually knowing that they like each other, but then the town's famous family's son creates a project that destroys their happiness.I I received a ARC from the publisher at YallFest in exchange for an honest review.Lulu is a star on Look's version of Snapchat/Vine/TikTok, AKA Flash. A video of her kissing a girl gets out there and the world seemingly explodes. Lulu meets Cass, a girl from another school in the area, and instantly is friends with her. They start falling for each other without actually knowing that they like each other, but then the town's famous family's son creates a project that destroys their happiness.I really liked reading Look. It was a raw and open telling of a girl who had her feelings exposed to the world and felt destroyed because of it. It showed a real depiction of how girls deal with the drama they experience throughout high school. I believe this book would also be a good book for someone who is questioning their sexuality as Lulu comes to terms with the fact that she's not kissing girls to kiss girls, but rather she has feelings for them. I really wish there would be a second book to see where Cass and Lulu are after the events of Ryan's party and everyone seeing intimate parts of their lives.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Zan Romanoff has a unique way of adding heft to a YA story. Her work provides deep examination of the personal experience of cultural phenomena without sacrificing a driving plot. Make sure to read Look!
  • Camille Pum
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in the giveaway! I was hesitant to commit to Lulu and her peer group simply out of fear that this would be another mean girls novel. I am pleasantly surprised that Zan Romanoff used Look to express intimacy, vulnerability and true compassion. I absolutely loved this book.
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  • Dom
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this one. The teenagers actually felt like real teenagers and I loved the added layer of feminism. And of course really appreciated the LBGTQ+ representation.
  • dearlittledeer
    January 1, 1970
    Really really good. Tackles a lot of issues...selfie culture, male gaze, sexuality. Three dimensional secondary characters and a cool setting too!
  • Queer Reader
    January 1, 1970
    I was given a review copy of this book, and it deserves a lot more attention that it's getting! I wish the characters, other than Lulu, were more three dimensional... I found myself wanting to know a WHOLE lot more about Cass, Bea, Owen... sadly, Ryan is the most developed character besides Lulu. However, I absolutely loved the turns the plot took and the way it engages with the male gaze, and women as subjects and objects. (I also love the hidden detail in the cover!) It's a smart, realistic I was given a review copy of this book, and it deserves a lot more attention that it's getting! I wish the characters, other than Lulu, were more three dimensional... I found myself wanting to know a WHOLE lot more about Cass, Bea, Owen... sadly, Ryan is the most developed character besides Lulu. However, I absolutely loved the turns the plot took and the way it engages with the male gaze, and women as subjects and objects. (I also love the hidden detail in the cover!) It's a smart, realistic book with a somewhat unlikable but utterly readable main character and sharp prose.Highly recommend!
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    As someone who works professionally in social media and spends a lot of my personal time on Instagram and Twitter, I am constantly thinking about that line between who we are and who we present ourselves as on the internet and the performative nature of it all. Am I buying this latte and fancy toast to enjoy it or because I know it will make a great Instagram Story to show all my friends what a ~cool~ weekend I'm having? What is our relationship with social media look like and what effect is it As someone who works professionally in social media and spends a lot of my personal time on Instagram and Twitter, I am constantly thinking about that line between who we are and who we present ourselves as on the internet and the performative nature of it all. Am I buying this latte and fancy toast to enjoy it or because I know it will make a great Instagram Story to show all my friends what a ~cool~ weekend I'm having? What is our relationship with social media look like and what effect is it having, in particular, on teenagers during a vulnerable time in their lives?Few writers understand this issue and write about it in such a compelling way as well as Zan Romanoff. I loved GRACE AND THE FEVER and this just took the best parts of that and elevated it to such a smart level. This book is sharp and thoughtful in its approach to a topic (social media) that can often be dismissed as silly or unimportant by an older generation. But Zan just gets it and I can't tell you how refreshing that is to read. I realize this review isn't so much about the plot of LOOK and more so just about how the book made me feel, but I think that speaks to how much I enjoyed it. I can't wait to see where Zan goes from here!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Why isn't this book getting more buzz??? The writing is so good on the sentence level, and the story crushed me. Such a wonderful book.
  • McKayla Moors
    January 1, 1970
    Hey y'all! I discussed my thoughts on this book in my January 2020 Wrap-Up video over on booktube. Feel free to check it out!
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    A thoughtful meditation on social media fame, commodifying your own objectification, and the male gaze. It was a very slow burn, and there was a lot going on without a lot actually happening. I was drawn in, but I honestly don't know if I liked it. I don't even know if "liked it" is the right way to phrase my feelings in the first place. I'll leave it at this: I felt things, but it took a while to get there.
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