By Cara Delevingne with Rowan Coleman
354 pp. HarperCollins.
Published October 3, 2017
Easy as it is to get caught up in the twists and turns of a Young Adult novel, “Mirror, Mirror” by Cara Delevingne leaves the readers behind like Hansel and Gretel with nothing but a few breadcrumbs to make it through.
Red, Leo, Rose and Naomi are inseparable bandmates in high school finding solace in one another. When Naomi goes missing and turns up unconscious eight weeks later, the other three students are forced to grapple with their own personal demons in order to get her back and resolve the who-dunnit mystery.
In a letter that came as a companion to the advance reader’s copy of the novel, Associate Director of Marketing Stephanie Cooper said, “Cara Delevingne takes a plunge into the YA genre, with an edgy, ground-breaking story about sexuality, loss, the complicated world of social media, and the dangerous weight of appearances that are not what they seem.”
I believe that she is right. High praise there, but nonetheless, I found myself wondering about the labyrinth of trials that each of the characters, especially the protagonist, Red, face long after I had turned the last page.
The most memorable thing about this book is the prowess with plot that Delevingne shows. Not only is the reader racing to keep pace and solve the mystery, they must scale the plot mountain before reaching the inevitable climax and falling down the steep cliff face into understanding.
The mixing of social media images and prose text adds another layer of interest to the body of the novel.
On the back of the book, there is a question for potential readers: “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” It is a question that the three main characters must ask themselves again and again in order to succeed. They must decide whether or not they would prefer to hide beneath the comfortable veil of secrecy, or come out into the bright light and be recognized for who they are.
Through her vivacious characters, Delevingne challenges her readers to emerge from the cautious and cozy shadows, and to feel empowered to take the necessary time to discover their authentic selves; a daunting, and far more complicated task than it sounds.
This book is for the girls who like boys, girls who like girls, and girls who aren’t sure quite what they like at all. It’s for the good friends. It’s for the folks that don’t fit into a smooth, slim category. This novel is for the dreamers of a freer place. It is a kind shove for those of us that are inching slowly toward being seen in the light for who we are.