When a modeling agency tells fifteen year old Edwina (Ted) Trout that she has “the look” that they looking for and offers her a brand new career, she cannot believe her luck. But just as her career is put into motion, her older sister Ava is diagnosed with cancer. With their worlds turned upside down in more ways than they could ever imagine, two girls are forced to look deep inside, and figure out who they truly are, and what actually matters.
When I first picked up The Look by Sophia Bennett, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect even after reading the synopsis. Was this going to be a sugary-sweet story of a girl trying to make it in the modeling world while dealing with some personal things on the home front? Or was it going to be a heart felt story about the relationship between two sisters and the choices that come from that relationship? Ultimately, it was more the second option, which was wonderful but yet it was also so much more than that. It is a well thought out story that will bring laughter to your heart and tears to your eyes in so many different ways.
Ted has spent a majority of her life in the shadow of her older sister Ava who has always been the more popular, the more outwardly beautiful, and the more outgoing of the two sisters. Ava is also the more fashion conscious as well. So, it is a big surprise to both of them when Ted is spotted and asked if she would be interested in becoming a model. At first, Ted is completely willing to brush it off, and believe that it was a joke or a scam but, then her sister is diagnosed with cancer and she becomes willing to do whatever it takes to cheer her up, even becoming a model.
I really loved Ted as a character. She is quirky and fun and she really has no idea what she is getting herself into when it comes to this modeling business. All she cares about is making her sister happy, and helping take her sisters mind off of what is happening to her. The relationship between the two sisters is beautiful. There are so many scenes in the book that brought tears to my eyes because of the way that the two of them were bonded together. This is a cancer story but it is not entirely a sad cancer story. It has points of optimism and hope as well as truths and realities which hit you head on and make you think.
Another reason I really enjoyed the character of Ted was the fact that she was so heartfelt. She takes the rejection and the sting of the modeling industry to heart even as she is saying that it doesn’t really matter to her. She has always been insecure about her looks and being in the modeling industry pushes those insecurities even more to the forefront of her mind. The truth is that it does matter to her but how much it matters to her is all part of the journey that she goes on as she gets further and further into the business of modeling. I really liked the glimpse into the world of fashion and modeling because I felt that it was a very realistic viewpoint of modeling. Ted is not an overnight sensation by any means, and the journey that she goes on allows her to discover more about herself than she could have ever imagined. It makes her think, it makes her feel, and it also makes the reader think and feel as well.
I also enjoyed the character of Ava as well. At first, it appears as if Ava is living vicariously through Ted (just as Ted lived vicariously through her for many years prior) but in reality Ava is really using Ted’s modeling as a way to cope with her cancer. This is what Ted initially wanted but I don’t think either sister realized the magnitude of what was going on because even as Ava is trying to mask her emotions she is still going through a life changing event, and is still forced to decide the type of person she will be through it. I really loved the way that this was approached, and the different events that occurred because of it. It is very nicely done!
To say that I loved The Look would be an understatement. It is a wonderful story to read, and one that I think really pulls at your heart strings and makes you really think about the things you value most in life. I highly recommend you check it out!
Disclosure: Received advanced copy from Oblong Books for attending a signing
Other reviews of The Look by Sophia Bennett:
Queen of Contemporary Books: “Personally, I think every teen should read this heart-wrenching novel!”
Books, Biscuits, and Tea: “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.”
As a way of promoting my love for The Look by Sophia Bennett, I am going to be giving away my advanced copy to one lucky winner! This contest will be US only and will end March 7th, 2013. Good luck!