Review: Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry

Look Both WaysTitle: Look Both Ways

Author: Alison Cherry

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: June 14th, 2016

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Interest: Contemp

Summary (From Goodreads):

The story of a girl hoping she’s found a place to belong . . . only to learn that neither talent nor love is as straightforward as she thinks.

A summer away from the city is the beginning of everything for Brooklyn Shepard. Her theater apprenticeship at Allerdale is a chance to prove that she can carve out a niche all her own, surrounded by people who don’t know anything about her or her family of superstar performers.

Brooklyn immediately hits it off with her roommate, Zoe, and soon their friendship turns into something more. Brooklyn wants to see herself as someone who’s open to everything and everyone, but as her feelings for Zoe intensify, so do her doubts. She’s happier than she’s ever been—but is it because of her new relationship? Or is it because she’s finally discovering who she wants to be?

I’ve been in kind of a reading funk lately because I’m so focused on my 21 Day Fix journey. Most of my non-work related focus and energy has been on eating well and working out. Over spring break I tried reading a few different books, but none of them were holding my attention the way I needed them to. On a whim I picked up my copy of Look Both Ways.

I can’t say exactly what it was that did it, but I was hooked instantly. It was fun being thrown into Brooklyn’s theater-driven family right away. It really set the stage (see what I did there? ;)) for the novel. Even though Brooklyn’s family appears very open and accepting, it was immediately apparent how much pressure she’s under to measure up to them. These expectations haunt and affect Brooklyn throughout the novel.

Reading Alison Cherry’s novel made me realize that I haven’t read many books about drama kids. I was never involved in theater, so it’s fun reading from this perspective. The school where I teach has an excellent drama program, so I know my theater kids will eat this up.

Look Both Ways is a well-balanced novel. So much ties in with Brooklyn accepting and discovering who she is. This part of the story came through with her relationship with Zoe and her understanding of herself as a person and thespian. I was afraid her blossoming relationship with Zoe would overshadow the rest of the novel, but it never did. Almost every scene with Zoe led back to Brooklyn working through her own worries about being inadequate and what her family and friends will think of her true passions. Teens, regardless of their participation in drama, will enjoy Cherry’s novel because it deals with real teen concerns and trials. Actually, much of it reminded me of Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. I can see a lot of teen girls appreciating Brooklyn’s gray area when it comes to her friendship/relationship with Zoe and how she often tries to visualize what she wants to happen.

I blew through Look Both Ways. It kept me up late as I told myself “Just one more chapter.” I can’t remember the last time a book did that to me! I’ve never read any of Alison Cherry’s books before; after reading her upcoming release I’m going to remedy that.

Here’s a list of some other positives about the book:

  • The summer setting
  • A boarding school feel since it takes place at a summer camp
  • Fun characters
  • A fresh story

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