Bentley’s Grade: C-
Title: Mirror Mirror
Author: Cara Delevingne (with Rowan Coleman)
Publisher and Date: Harper Collins 2017
Page Length: 355
Genre: YA Thriller
Naomi, Mirror Mirror’s bassist and lead songwriter, disappears without a trace, leaving the remaining three band members in shock and confusion. Eight weeks later, Naomi is fished from the Thames bruised and broken—but alive. While Naomi remains in her induced coma, Red, Leo, and Rose attempt to solve the mystery of their friend’s disappearance and along the way, they find themselves face to face with their own troubled home lives and inner demons. With the help of Ashira, Naomi’s older sister and proud computer wizard-hacker, the band mates’ search for clues leads them around London, to Camden and back, and finally to the dark net, where they discover the unsettling and graphic truth of Naomi’s whereabouts and who lured her there.
Honesty, right? I promised to give you an honest critique, so here it goes: I did not enjoy this book.
The first two hundred pages slog on, and I often contemplated setting the book down and never picking it back up. I think part of the problem has to do with the writing structure: paragraph after paragraph of Red’s interior monologue; it becomes repetitive and cyclical, and it would likely improve with more “show” and less “tell”. I also find the profanity excessive and unnecessary; I realize they’re teenagers—I was once a teenager myself (in fact, I am still told I “swear like a sailor”)—however, after a while it feels forced and disingenuous.
The other problem, for me, is the predictability of the plot. I think it’s fairly obvious what happens to Naomi, though in the early chapters you may have trouble pegging the villain… I’m kidding—of course, you can. If you’ve seen even one episode of Law and Order SVU, Naomi’s abductor will be plain as day. If you don’t guess him straight away, I apologize. The plot is also fairly predictable, and Red is too often in the right place at the right time. If predictability and coincidence aren’t enough to dissuade you, the clichés that close the final two chapters will be the cherry on top.
Typos—this is a huge pet peeve of mine. For the length and reading level of this book, there should be relatively no grammatical errors; however, I tallied a handful of them including a rather confusing error on page 235 where, I believe, “Mr Mark” should read as “Mr Smith”.
Despite the novel’s shortcomings, I do appreciate one surprise twist. I won’t spoil it for you, but I made an assumption in regard to Red’s character, so I was completely shocked when the truth was revealed. I will say, however, while reading the novel—which is told from Red’s POV—I found myself thinking, a woman definitely wrote this because a teenage boy would not speak or act that way [insert wink wink emoji here].
What should be celebrated about the novel is its attempt to present both the advantages and disadvantages of social media in equal light. In addition, the novel seems to stress that as much as a person might feel alone, everyone experiences feelings of isolation; it might take time to find your people, but you will eventually find others to connect with. These are certainly some of the positive takeaways for any young teen who might come across this book.
Overall, Mirror Mirror was a miss for me. The improbable coincidences and cliché endings, combined with the predictability of the plot, do not add up to a recommendation. If you have read Mirror Mirror, I’d be curious to know your thoughts, so please share them with me below.