FICTION

Mirrored

384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062134516; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062134547.
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Gr 8 Up—The author of Beastly (HarperCollins, 2007) offers another classic fairy tale reimagined in a contemporary setting. The first part takes place in the 1980s and tells the story of Violet, an ugly duckling who discovers that she's a witch and makes herself beautiful so she can have everything she's been denied—especially the attention of her childhood friend Greg. However, despite her newfound beauty, Greg chooses popular Jennifer instead. The second section jumps to present-day and is told by Celine, Jennifer and Greg's daughter. After Jennifer's death in a suspicious zoo accident, Violet reappears and sweeps Greg off his feet. The stepmother's attitude toward Celine chills as she grows into a beautiful adolescent and the teen takes comfort in a new friend, Goose, who is a small person. When Greg dies suddenly in a car accident, an older witch intervenes and hides Celine, telling Violet that the girl has been killed, but eventually the evil woman uncovers the lie and suceeds in poisoning Celine. The third part follows Goose on his desperate attempt to wake his friend from her magical coma. Convinced that only a prince can save her, he sneaks into the hotel room of Celine's favorite pop star, Jonah Prince, to convince him to kiss her. This retelling of "Snow White" is at times clever but also heavy-handed. Celine has recurring nightmares about apples that make her feel "unsafe" and Violet has a fascination with mirrors that gets overplayed. The sympathetic backstory for the evil witch is an interesting twist. Realistic dialogue and a lively writing style will help readers gloss over the author's missteps.
VERDICT This title will be popular with younger teens who enjoy Flinn's previous books and are willing to overlook the overdrawn plot points.

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