Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering

Published: June 14, 2022

St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 314

Genre: Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Carola Lovering is the author of the novels Tell Me Lies, Too Good to Be True, and the forthcoming Can’t Look Away. She attended Colorado College, and her work has appeared in New York Magazine, W Magazine, National Geographic, Outside, and Yoga Journal, among other publications. Her novel, Tell Me Lies, is currently being adapted into a television series for Hulu. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

In 2013, twenty-three-year old Molly Diamond is a barista, dreaming of becoming a writer. One night at a concert in East Williamsburg, she locks eyes with the lead singer, Jake Danner, and can’t look away. Molly and Jake fall quickly and deeply in love, especially after he writes a hit song about her that puts his band on the map.

Nearly a decade later, Molly has given up writing and is living in Flynn Cove, Connecticut with her young daughter and her husband Hunter—who is decidedly not Jake Danner. Their life looks picture-perfect, but Molly is lonely; she feels out of place with the other women in their wealthy suburb, and is struggling to conceive their second child. When Sabrina, a newcomer in town, walks into the yoga studio where Molly teaches and confesses her own fertility struggles, Molly believes she’s finally found a friend.

But Sabrina has her own reasons for moving to Flynn Cove and befriending Molly. And as Sabrina’s secrets are slowly unspooled, her connection to Molly becomes clearer––as do secrets of Molly’s own, which she’s worked hard to keep buried.

Meanwhile, a new version of Jake’s hit song is on the radio, forcing Molly to confront her past and ask the ultimate questions: What happens when life turns out nothing like we thought it would, when we were young and dreaming big? Does growing up mean choosing with your head, rather than your heart? And do we ever truly get over our first love?

“What a small, small world.”

Molly has a whirlwind romance with an up-and-coming musician that spans several years. They weather several bumps along the way, but they try to make it work. Until it doesn’t. Sabrina has loved Jake for years and is willing to stop at nothing to get him back. When she finally succeeds, she has to make sure it’s final. So she sets her sights on exposing what she thinks she knows and plops Jake right back in Molly’s life.

I enjoyed how this story was told. The alternating narrators and timelines was engaging. I enjoyed the build-up and the characters.

I found the way relationships were handled in this novel interesting. The toxicity, the gas lighting, and the manipulation were well represented. I also found the way young love was expressed was accurate and raw.

I enjoyed how this story was revealed. There was a very “You” element, which was well executed. The way everything was eventually connected was interesting.

While there was always something happening under the surface, for a majority of the book, I would say this was a slow burn. Things picked up for the last several chapters, but it was a lot of cat and mouse games.

I enjoyed the plot and found the themes relevant and well done.

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