In Zan Romanoff’s young adult novel, Look, Lulu Shapiro has mastered Flash, a Snapchat-like app that shares her perfectly edited life with 10,000 followers. But a racy Flash, meant to be private, accidentally goes public, and now everyone has seen Lulu being intimate with another young woman. Her classmates think she just did it for attention, but Lulu is bisexual and fears what sharing this truth about herself could mean for her popularity.
Then Lulu meets the beguiling Cass and her friend Ryan, a trust-fund kid refurbishing an old hotel. With no phones allowed at the hotel, Lulu experiences a social life less focused on perfectly edited images. For the first time, she feels like she can truly be herself—until an abuse of trust brings it all crashing down.
Like a feminist film studies class in book form, Look poses intriguing questions about agency and self-commodification. Anyone who has engaged in any form of content creation—even just photos on Instagram—will have a lot to chew on regarding the praise and scorn women experience based on how they depict themselves. Most importantly, Look is a timely demonstration of how women can be violated by imagery that is controlled by men.
The cast of characters is almost entirely teens, but older readers will take a lot from Look as well. Self-commodification hardly started with Snapchat, after all.