Friday, March 1, 2013

Guest Post: Sophia Bennett + The Look

Today is an exciting day because it marks the US release of Sophia Bennett's young adult novel The Look, and she's dropping by the blog to share an exclusive excerpt. Win. It also happens to be my birthday. Also a win. I'm thrilled to have the chance to celebrate with Sophia, and I'm going to hand the reins of Supernatural Snark over to her now to introduce the snippet!

• • • • • • • • • •

When I wrote the first draft of The Look, Tina di Gaggia didn’t exist. Then I decided I needed a fashion character with a bit of bite, and she just … appeared. A little bit Tyra Banks, a little bit André Leon Talley, a little bit Cruella de Vil, she was such fun to write and even though she’s very slightly er, evil, I would love to be her for just one day.

In this scene, Ted has just been almost run over by a bus while out visiting art galleries in London. She also lost her dad’s hat, which she was wearing to cover her recently shaved head. She’s recovering from the experience when she finds herself in the middle of a crowd of eccentric-looking people, all heading in the same direction. Dazed, she follows them, and finds herself at the entrance to Somerset House, where they hold London Fashion Week.

I lean against a pillar and remember the rush of wind when that bus passed me. I never did say thank you to that man in the suit. I wonder why he stared at me like that.

And then I notice someone else staring. A little woman, just a few feet away. She’s the most extraordinary sight, but she’s looking at me as if
I’m the strange vision.

“JEANS E-BERK,” she says loudly as soon as she catches my eye.

Is she talking to me? Is she trying to sell me jeggings? Is she deranged? Looking at her, it wouldn’t be too surprising.

She is wearing a calf-length dress made out of leather patches held together with orange zippers, a gold silk Puffa jacket, a skull-print scarf so famous that even I now know it’s by Alexander McQueen, and boots with four-inch metallic gold platforms heels.

“Please tell me you’re a model,” she drawls in an exotic, American-type accent that I can’t place.

“Er, well, I suppose I used to be,” I say. I’m not sure I should be talking to escaped psychiatric patients in the middle of the street, but her eyes are holding me in a hypnotic grip.

“Thank God. Of course you are. Jeans E-Berk. Do you know her?”


“Oh sweet mercy! Of course not personally. She was an actress. In the sixties.
Á Bout de Souffle. Breathless to you. Jean Seberg!”

“Oh! Jean Seberg!”

“Ah! So you know her?”

“Not really.”

She sighs, very, very deeply. “This is going to take a long time. You don’t have a show, do you?”

“What, here? No. I don’t even have a pass.”

Her eyes widen. “Perfect!”

She puts a firm hand on my elbow and guides me into the doorway of a gatehouse to one side of the archway. It’s quieter here. She seems slightly less crazy now.

“Delicate face. Killer hair. Jean’s who you remind me of right now, but there are so many others. Sinéad, Aggy. Of course, Aggy . . . But you’re unique. And so young. What are you? Fifteen — nearly sixteen? How long have you had your hair like that?”

She got my age right to the month, practically. Nobody does that.

“Er, about two weeks,” I admit. “Except it wasn’t this long before.”

Oh sweet mercy indeed. I’m explaining the obvious about hair growth to some French-movie-obsessed, age-guessing weirdo. Why? Shut up, Ted. I wish Ava were here.

It’s only at this point that I fully realize what the woman’s looking at. I’ve been so busy thinking about the bus and the fedora, then being accosted by a lunatic, that I’d forgotten how I must look now that the hat’s not there. My hair is still less than a centimeter long. I must seem a bit . . . freaky.

“You’re incredible,” the woman says. “Who are you signed with?”

“Model City,” I say, “but —”

“Ah! Cassandra! How is she? We haven’t spoken in a while. She must be ENCHANTED with you. What have you done?” She looks at me accusingly.

“Er . . . nothing?”

“Nothing? No shoots? No campaigns?”

That kind of “what have you done?” Not the kind Dad gets from Mum when the answer is “I didn’t mean to, and anyway I can fix it.”

“No,” I answer. “I tried, but it didn’t work out. Then I got my head shaved and school started, so —”

“Wait! Does Cassandra know about this? Did you tell her?”

I shrug.

“My GOD! I’m a GENIUS! I’ve got you all to myself, you DARLING! Don’t tell anyone. Don’t say a word. I’m going to tell them. No, I’m going to
show them. Stand there. Not there — in the light. There!”

She shoves me around until she’s got some daylight on my face, whips out the fanciest phone I’ve seen in my life, and takes a couple of headshots of me. I know by now not to try and pose. This is one of those “just stand there” moments. Plus, I don’t really have any idea what’s going on.

When she’s done, she shoves her phone back in her bag, which is a vast, leather, studded affair, and holds out her hand.

“Tina di Gaggia. I make the next trends happen and, baby, YOU are the next trend. What are you doing right now?”

“Er, going home.”

“Are they expecting you? Is it urgent?”

“Not exactly, but —”

“Have you ever seen a catwalk show?”

• • • • • • • • • • 


Can she be a supermodel and a super-sister? She finds her answer in just one look.

Two sisters, both beautiful in different ways: Fifteen-year-old Ted has got "The Look." That's what the scout for the modeling agency tells her, and she can't believe her luck. But just as Ted's jet-setting off on her new career, Ava is diagnosed with cancer. Can Ted be a supermodel and a super-sister? Or will she have to choose between family and fame? With their worlds turned upside down, the girls have to look past appearances, look deep inside, to figure out what really matters


  1. Woot that sound wonderful!! I'm truly looking forward reading your Review Jenny... The blurb sounds great!

    1. Doesn't it? The line about jeggings made me snort:)

  2. Oh I actually haven't read many books about supermodels so I guess I should..right? This one sounds really good and interesting. Thanks for sharing Jenny :)

    1. I haven't either! I'm sure it's a fascinating and cut throat world:)

  3. Wow, this is so different from what I usually read, but it seems like a lot of fun. Plus, I really enjoyed the excerpt, so thanks for sharing and putting this on my radar, Jenny!(:

    1. You're welcome Keertana! Glad you enjoyed it:)

  4. What a great excerpt!

    I have to admit when I saw the title--The Look the next thing that popped into my head "the feel of cotton". Hey it goes with the whitish cover. I am a goof!

    1. Hahahahaha now that song is stuck in my head! THANKS A LOT FELICIA!

  5. I saw something on this recently and it looks really awesome! I don't know what it is but I love model books.

    1. I haven't read any, so I'm looking forward to this one:)

  6. This sounds like a fun book! This excerpt is awesome, I love the lovingly described outfit. I will give any book a try that breaks into spontaneous fashion speak every few pages.

    And eek, happy birthday, Jenny! Hope you have an AMAZING day (and weekend—if you're birthday's on a Friday, it's automatically a three day birthday weekend, right? Those are the rules!). :-)

    1. Thank you Lauren! And yes, a birthday on a Friday definitely means an automatic 3 day birthday weekend. Bookstore, here I come!

  7. Oh my goodness, this book sounds utterly heartbreaking. For me, the choice between my sister and my career would e a simple one to make, but that's not to say it wouldn't hurt me to have to give up on my dreams. I'm very curious about this, not my usual read, but one I'll definitely be on the lookout for.

  8. Oh, this book sounds like it could be heavy...:/ The cover threw me a little but it will for sure go on my TBR.

    AND did I read its your Birthday??? HAPPY BIRTHDAY AWESOME! That was me singing to you.


  9. Whoa. First can I just stare at the cover? That's pretty frickin' cool.

    I love that she said the character is a mix of Tyra, Andre, and Cruella. That's just diabolical and fun all at once. So cool!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lots of love, hugs, kisses, puppies, and books for you today! :)

  10. Wow, I hadn't heard of this before and it sounds amazing! I really love the cover as well. Thanks for sharing, I think I'm gonna add this one to the list!

    Happy Birthday Jenny!!!! Hope you're having a fabulous day!

  11. Cool book! I hadn't heard about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I can why it grabs me, Two sisters, different. Hmm, I'm gonna have to read this.

  12. Oh interesting! I admit the cover is also really interesting as well. That lady who "discovers" her cracks me up. I gotta know more.

    And what is this? Birthday? Now aren't you glad this isn't a voice comment. I'd sing "Happy Birthday" to you and you would have to try to not cringe at my off key singing. :D So... in audio form: Happy Birthday! (no, it's not me singing... you are safe)

  13. This sounds like an interesting and unique read....definitely new to me, so I will keep my eye out for it. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! I hope you have a great day. Enjoy it!

  14. wow sounds like a really good book, and I am sure it will be very touching <3

  15. Sounds goo. But what a tough situation

  16. I have not heard of this one before. It sounds like it would be an emotional read and a growing novel. I will definitely be on the look out for it! Thanks for sharing this today and introducing me to this book! Happy weekend, Jenny.

  17. I love the sound of Tina, and this book is 100% new to me, so thank you for sharing it!

  18. This was published in the UK first? I thought I recognised the title! This isn't something I would normally go for, but that excerpt has me interested. Thanks for sharing, Jenny! :)

  19. Happy Birthday, Jenny! Hope it was a fabulous day. This book sounds quite interesting!

  20. Happy Birthday! I have seen this book and have been wondering about it. I didn't realize it was about two sisters. Great guest post!

  21. I've learn some just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you set to make this sort of fantastic informative web site.

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  22. I think she looks better with a shaved head and less makeup! Orange zippers huh? Quite a picture being painted in my mind. Fashion, never understood the catwalk looks. Sounds like a very intense contemporary. I haven't even heard of it. Hope you review it!

    Happy Birthday!


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  24. Oh, I like the sound of this one? Have you read it, Jenny, and if so, what did you think?

    P.S. Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you had a great one and got tons of awesome presents!

  25. Sounds so good!

    Happy belated birthday!