Zan Romanoff’s Look is a feminist exploration of identity in the digital age

LOOK by Zan Romanoff. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
LOOK by Zan Romanoff. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /

Zan Romanoff’s newest novel, Look, is a feminist exploration of how young women shape their identities in the digital age.

To some extent, all young adult novels explore how teenagers form their own identities. And Zan Romanoff’s newest release tackles that subject while looking at how social media and technology impacts that process — especially when it comes to teenage girls.

Look tells the story of Lulu, who has accumulated an impressive 10,000 followers on the social media app Flash. Similar to SnapChat, Flash allows users to upload photos and videos that will disappear after a certain amount of time — but that didn’t stop a video Lulu accidentally uploaded of her kissing another girl from circulating and becoming permanent property of the internet.

The book opens months after that unfortunate event, with Lulu still somewhat reeling from it. Her boyfriend has broken up with her, she’s stopped going out frequently, and she’s taken to hiding upstairs at parties — which is where she meets Cass.

The two hit it off immediately, and Cass introduces Lulu to a world outside of partying — one that’s mostly spent at The Hotel, a property that Cass’ rich, trust-fund-boy friend Ryan is rebuilding. While construction is in the works, the group hangs out and gets to know one another there. But the closer Lulu and Cass get, the more vicious Ryan becomes — until he betrays both of them in an unthinkable way.

Lulu’s story shows her becoming a feminist as she realizes how women’s stories are typically told, comes to terms with her sexuality, and begins to consider how she’s choosing to tell her own story. While identity is the central theme of Romanoff’s novel, though, there’s so much more to dive into after reading Look — from its analysis of revenge porn to its

Look may take a few chapters to find its footing, but once it does, it addresses and critiques so many of the ways society overlooks and takes advantage of teenage girls — while simultaneously telling the tale of two teenage girls coming into their own identities and embracing their strength. Anyone looking for a solid feminist read would do well to give this book a shot.

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Look is currently available in print, ebook, and audiobook formats.