The Look

“blisteringly good” Lovereading4kids

“one word: BRILLIANT” Cathy Cassidy

” a beautifully glamorous masterpiece, full of dreams, hopes and heartbreak” Chicklish. THANK YOU, Chicklish!

“The book is well plotted and crisply and humorously written and also has two touching love strands. Ultimately what makes it so impressive is that a gripping story is also full of the messages young adults need in a superficial world.”

Martin Chilton. A Daily Telegraph ‘Top 10 YA book of 2012

Check out this trailer, done as a school project in 2015 by Olivia in Australia. I really love the wobbly shoe! Thanks, Olivia. xxx

The Look CoverIn June 2010 a girl called Elizabeth wrote to me, telling me she was thinking about becoming an English teacher one day: ‘the kind who wear pencil skirts and crimson lipstick’. That sounded great to me! But she’d been told she could maybe be a model instead – what did I think?

Well, I wasn’t sure what to think. At least, I knew what I thought (which was ‘No! Don’t do it! Be that English teacher instead!’), but I realised I didn’t know why. What’s it like to be a model? Who would enjoy it? Who wouldn’t? Is it really as glamorous as it sounds, or as seedy as some people say?

I was talking to some of the girls from Bliss magazine at the time and they said that whenever they run a modelling competition, they’re overwhelmed by entries. According to surveys, about 30% of girls consider it at some stage. Secretly. Nobody will admit to it. But they do.

And so I set off on my research. Meanwhile, a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and she had a whole set of new and different challenges to face. And I saw a stunning girl on the street with an arrestingly short haircut, and I instantly realised she was my main character, Ted. Gradually it all came together. Not the story I first had in mind, but a different one – a bit darker and much harder to tell. This story became The Look.

It took a year to describe Ted and her big sister Ava, and their adventures. I’m writing this in June 2011, just as I finish the line edits – the final word-tweaking rewrite that a writer has to do.

After all that work, I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s sad, and funny, and joyful, and – I hope – thought-provoking. It addresses the secret dreams that girls often don’t dare tell their parents about. I think it answers all the questions I originally had in mind. I adore the cover that Steve Wells has done for me. It comes out in the US in March 2013, and various other places in 2013 and 2014.

I hope you like it.

If you want to read an opening extract, you can find it here.

Updated March 2012. Some lovely reviews have started to come out. Something that always pleasantly surprises me is that book bloggers and reviewers are much better at describing what my books are about than I am. So you can find out more here:


Fluttering Butterflies

Sister Spooky: Book Fangirl

Totally Bookalicious

Cicely Loves Books

Amanda Craig in The Times (who chose it as one of her favourite YA books of 2012 – thank you, Amanda!)

Martin Chilton in The Telegraph (who chose it as one of his top 10 YA books of 2012 – thank you, Martin!)

Abouthappybooks (check out the beautiful photographic illustrations – but be warned, there are some spoilers)

Buginabook (Australia)

Also … I was lucky enough to do an interview about the book for the lovely Sugarscape online magazine. You can see the video here.

And FINALLY, when The Look came out in Italy in May 2013, I did an interview for Marta at the Bostonian Library blog. She asked some great questions about my writing that really made me think, and she illustrated my answers with the most beautiful pictures! She translated my answers into Italian, but also provided the originals in English and you can read them here.


Buy the book in the UK Buy the book outside the UK

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