The Look is a quick witted and excitingly written tale of a girl who is spotted by a modelling agency's talent scout -- against all her preconceptions -- at the same time that her elder sister is diagnosed with lymphoma, and has to begin a gruelling course of chemo- and radio-therapy. Ted (Edwina) has a fresh and engaging narrative voice which makes you instantly want to like her. In fact, Ted could tell pretty much any story and it would be interesting.
On the surface of it this is a rags to riches (and back again, to some extent) story, but it's the additional element of the terribly ill sister which lifts it above the run of the mill and makes it a tale worth telling. I spent most of the last year working in a children's hospital, and the story of elder sister Ava really resonated for me.
Although the writing is brilliant and this is a really enjoyable read, my feeling is that the plot lets it down in the final third. The climax isn't climactic and, what's worse, it's telegraphed beforehand and we pretty much guess what is going to happen. Somehow the emotional impact of the decisions late in the book doesn't work as well as the very detailed emotional work at the start. That, and the teenage dialogue falters in places, with things, especially the meaning of the word 'sick' having to be spelled out to the main character as if they were 30+, not 16.
All in all, this book isn't going to set the world alight, but it is a very good, compelling read which, once started, is hard to put down until it's finished.