Today I have the pleasure of being a host on the Rockstar Blog Tours for CAN'T LOOK AWAY by Donna Cooner. I have been a fan of Donna's since I read her debut YA novel SKINNY. Her writing is funny, honest and filled with such emotion that you are immediately drawn in and held within it's pages until the very end. So, please stay and get to know this amazing author a little better and then enter the giveaway for a great prize.


Author: Donna Cooner

Publisher: Point

Pub. Date: August 26, 2014

Donna Cooner establishes herself as our own Jodi Picoult in this timely tale of sisters, loss, and redemption.

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

Donna Cooner was born and raised in Texas. She is a three time graduate of Texas A&M University. A former teacher and school administrator, she now teaches teachers and principals at Colorado State University where she is the director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her two labs and a cat named Stu. She's a big fan of chocolate and laughing (not necessarily in that order).

Donna is the author of over twenty picture books and was a founding member of the Brazos Valley Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators. She has also written children's television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. SKINNY is her debut novel for young adults.

To contact Donna try:   Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


1.     Can't look away while timely is quite different from skinny your debut why a novel but inspired you to write this novel?
SKINNY is about that internal, self-critical voice so many of us struggle with on a daily basis.  In CAN’T LOOK AWAY, I wanted to explore the external voices of criticism that are so powerful today in our internet world.  It seemed a natural progression to me.  The inspiration came from my experiences after the publication of my first novel, SKINNY.  I had no idea how immediate (and incredibly personal) emails and social networking could become.  Struggles with body image, and particularly obesity, was a lightning rod topic for many.  While most of the things shared by readers were moving and extremely positive connections to the book, some were personally directed toward me and my own appearance.  It was unexpected and sometimes even disturbing.  But it was also humbling to hear such powerful personal connections from complete strangers and it made me wonder what it might be like to experience that kind of internet attention, both positive and negative, magnified by millions. 
2.     Torrey Grey, the main character in Can't Look Away is an Internet fashion blogger.  What kind of research went into writing this story and what did you learn? 
I watched a ton of YouTube fashion videos!  I’d love to say I learned to perfect my cat eye liner, but it still eludes me. I did, however, come away with a huge respect for these creative teens who put themselves in the public eye on a weekly basis and garner a huge following.  The constant comments and criticism must be extremely challenging to even the strongest self-image. In researching this new story, I also became fascinated with El Dia de los Muertos and the idea of remembering the dead with celebration.  Sugar skulls were especially intriguing because they represented the horrible, scary reality of losing a love one, but were decorated with beautiful flowers and symbols to represent the life loss. Such a beautiful bittersweet image!  Much like the memory of a loss loved one.
3.     Cyber bullying is an issue in Can't Look Away and I admire Torrey's approach on not reacting with her tormentors. It is rare and wise choice. What made you decide to have your character demonstrate this restraint?
It is such a difficult decision not to interact with bullies online!  There have been so many times I’ve wanted to comment on internet postings, but know it wouldn’t result in a better outcome.  Thankfully, I have some amazing writer friends who talk me off the ledge before I jump into an argument online with a bully.  Hopefully, that’s what happens in real life, too.
4.     What can fans look forward from you next.
I’m absolutely loving the characters I’m creating for my next contemporary YA novel, but it’s a bit too early to talk about yet.
5.     Can you briefly describe what Can't Look Away is about?
It’s about a teen, Torrey Grey, who is a YouTube vlogging sensation.  Thousands of girls watch and copy her every hairstyle and outfit choice every day.  But when Torrey's younger sister is killed in a tragic accident, her personal life becomes every stranger's favorite topic.

6. I feel that Can't Look Away deals with grief in a very organic and natural way without the usual anger that typically accompanies this kind of death.
The first bits of writing and journaling I put on paper for CAN’T LOOK AWAY were about grief.  I was (am) still working through the death of my mother after a long battle with cancer.  While it wasn’t the sudden loss that Torrey experiences with her sister’s death, I did find myself describing much of my own personal grieving process through this story.  Grief is a very unique journey for everyone.  I certainly respect that others deal with loss differently and can completely understand how anger can certainly be a part of that journey.


Giveaway Details:

5 Finished copies of CAN’T LOOK AWAY US Only.

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

8/18/2014- Such a Novel IdeaInterview

8/19/2014- A Book and a LatteGuest Post

8/20/2014- The Book BellesReview

8/21/2014- BookHounds YA- Interview

8/22/2014-Fictitious Delicious- Review

Week Two:

8/25/2014- Shayna Varadeaux Books & ReviewsReview

8/26/2014- The Cover Contessa - Guest Post

8/27/2014-Katie's Book BlogReview

8/28/2014- Swoony Boys PodcastReview

8/29/2014- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview


  1. Sounds like quite the mystery, already on my TBR.


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