Recommended for ages 15+
A teenage girl is brutally murdered and left to be found. Mary was the daughter of a prominent pastor and was in love with Avery, a transgender teen. Shattered by Mary’s death, Avery is hell-bent on finding her killer, but it turns out that Mary’s murder was a message to Avery: repent, or you’re next. As the messages become more repulsive and the killer begins contacting Avery, letting him know that his every move is being watched, Avery has big decisions to make. Does he betray himself by doing what the killer wants? And will that really keep him safe?
Look Past is an intense, brutal book. Mary’s murder is the catalyst, setting everything in motion, and is relived throughout the book. Religious fundamentalism and the violence hate can breed play a big part in Look Past, as does identity and the importance of being true to yourself. There are points in this book where it’s almost too much to take. Avery is a character I wanted to scream at and root for; at the same time, the intensity of Devine’s writing made me want to put the book down and take a break to just breathe – and I couldn’t I finished this book in two sittings, broken up only by the need to go to sleep so I could get to work the next day.
Look Past is a gritty novel about murder in which the main character is transgender. That’s TREMENDOUS. Avery’s a strong, queer character with a supportive family that’s not without their struggles, but ultimately loves their son and supports him. Avery’s best friend and girlfriend stand with him, even when it’s a hard choice; even when it could mean their lives on the line. It’s an unputdownable novel that thriller readers will love and LGBTQ readers will embrace.
This is the second Eric Devine novel I’ve read, the first being Press Play, which looked at hazing and violence in team sports. Eric Devine attacks issues of the day with gusto and doesn’t shy away from grim details or uncomfortable situations. He writes compulsively readable novels that teens and adults alike should read – take a break from your run-of-the mill thrillers and give Look Past a shot.