Cooner explores the dark side of popularity.
Sixteen-year-old Torrey has become slightly famous with her fashion video blog, winning a large following on YouTube. However, she’s haunted by guilt over the death of her little sister, Miranda, killed by a drunken driver as the girl walked away from Torrey after a fight. With the family’s abrupt move from Colorado to Texas, Torrey faces the challenge of becoming popular in a new school. She quickly identifies the queen bee of the school, Blair, and thanks to her fashion sense, scores a seat at the popular table. However, she also finds herself attracted to Luis, whom she quickly learns Blair deems unacceptable. Torrey tries to conceal her growing relationship with Luis and continues to deal with her own guilt over her sister. Worse, Torrey begins to appreciate her dorky cousin, Raylene, a girl who appears to be oblivious to the social rankings in their high school. Finally Torrey faces a serious question: Just how important is popularity if it means hurting people she likes? Cooner demonstrates solid knowledge of the high school social system, both characters and their motivations ringing true. The story allows readers to reach their own conclusions about the moral choices Torrey confronts without shoving the right decision down their throats.
Insightful and absorbing. (Fiction. 12-18)