Mirror, Mirror Review
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Cara Delevingne is known as a model, an actress, and a fixture in tabloids. But apparently that isn’t enough to keep her busy—so now, with the publication of coming-of-age novel Mirror, Mirror, co-written with Rowan Coleman, she adds “novelist” to her ever-growing resume.

The story follows the three remaining members of a high school rock band after one of the members, Naomi, goes missing and is found unconscious weeks later. As they sit by their friend’s hospital bed, wondering what could have happened to her, they all deal with their own issues. Leo’s brother is about to get out of prison, and it could cause serious problems in his family. Red has an alcoholic mother who can’t take care of her children. And Rose drinks to escape her own pain. And their search for answers about Naomi brings them to truths about themselves.

Mirror, Mirror explores the challenges of being a teenager—from difficult family relationships to friendship drama to the struggle to discover your true identity. And all of that is only magnified by peer pressure and social media. The novel has a lot to say about those challenges—but that often makes for a dark and heavy read.

The story is filled with misunderstood teenagers who are fighting to be seen and understood. There are some interesting characters in the bunch—like Naomi’s hacker sister, Ash—but there are also a number of characters who are just too moody and clichéd.

At the same time, the authors try a little too hard to be edgy and clever, trying to mislead readers into one perspective, then seemingly shaming them for falling for it. And that may leave readers feeling tricked instead of enlightened.

The pacing, meanwhile, is rather slow. Red and the others spend much of the novel visiting Naomi, practicing for their big benefit concert, and complaining about their families. Granted, their family situations really are messy—and the kids do have a lot to deal with—but the authors spend a little too much time trying to make a point. And, as a result, the story often gets bogged down in teenage drama when it could spend more time focusing on the mystery at hand. And, really, it isn’t until the final chapters—when the kids figure out who’s behind Naomi’s disappearance—that things really pick up.

Mirror, Mirror offers a look inside the darker side of being a teenager: at the challenges, the fears, and the drama. But while it has some stories to tell and points to make, it simply lacks balance.

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