The Mirror Season / Anna-Marie McLemore / Book Review


Everything changed for Ciela the night of the party. Instead of driving home with her best friend talking and laughing about cute boys and the end of the school year, Ciela found herself fleeing the ER, leaving the cute boy behind. She lost something that night--a lot of things--and she can't admit to herself what happened to her, what happened to the boy she left at the ER. She doesn't even know his name.

Ciela tries to block everything out, to forget and move on, but the world won't let her. She can no longer guess the perfect pan dulce for the patrons of her family's store--a gift for guessing passed down by her great-grandmother. She can no longer wear red lipstick. Most frightening of all, she can no longer trust the world around her as it slowly turns to piercing glass, ready to shatter at her touch.

Ciela resigns herself to this cold, lonely existence until that boy from the party shows up at her school in the fall. With Lock in the hallways, in her classes, Ciela is forced to confront what happened to her, what happened to them in rooms just across from each other. But Lock doesn't remember the night like she does, and Ciela fears the world of shattering glass got to him before she could.



Boys Too This book tackles the difficult topic of assault, and even more importantly, it brings boys into the picture--boys as victims with girls as abusers. If it is hard to make the larger world believe a girl who has been assaulted, it is all the more difficult for a boy to speak and be believed when he says he didn't want it. This book brings not just Ciela's story to light but Lock's too, and a narrative like this one is just one step in helping others, regardless of gender, speak up about what happened to them, what they didn't consent to do.

Fairy Tale Flavor Though this book never fully falls into the fairy tale mode, it is full of poignant allusions. It holds the strains of fairy tale--the Snow Queen--like a distant refrain, an inspiration, an echo of that tale that is shattered and pieced together in our world. The author beautifully combines metaphor and magic into the scaffolding of this story. A slow-silvering world, courage-inducing sweet breads, and a magical forest of stolen trees: the pieces are beautiful and beautifully combined as well.

Class, Race, Sexuality Not only does this book tackle the difficult topic of assault, it also draws into the mix several reasons why someone may not report--or feels they cannot report. Assault is definitely the focus of this book, but it encompasses so much more--class, race, sexuality. This book offers a poignant view of how socioeconomic class affects the choices we have or think we can act upon. It brings race and racial expectations into the picture, and sexual orientation also plays a role in what can happen and what has happened. The white, straight, non-scholarship students most definitely have more privilege in this book, but their privilege manifests not in major ways, necessarily. It manifests in the little ways, in ways that mirror reality in a way often ignored in fiction.


This book takes a hard stance on assault, and it is a stance that needs to be taken. The author writes from a place of personal experience, drawing all of that pain and confusion into the mix. Though this narrative is important, it will also be difficult for a lot of people to read, and it may be too difficult for some readers. And that's okay. Triggering Content

Sex and sexuality are used as a coping mechanism in this book--as a way to fight back, to reclaim what was taken from the main characters. There are antics involving condoms and lewd anatomical puppets that make sense within the story but that may be a bit too much for some of the YA crowd. There is a definite tone and flavor surrounding sex that isn't for every YA reader. It is plot-necessary but may be too much for some. Risqué Content

This book does a lot of toeing-the-line, a lot of dodging the details for the sake of Ciela's (and the reader's) sanity, but this book doesn't always dodge the issue. There are definitely some scenes that are explicit. These scenes are far from glorified. They involve assault, after all, but for the age category, many will find it too much. This is a book for older readers. What at the start may be somewhat triggering evolves to become more explicit and on-the-page as the trauma is unraveled and the horrible scenario finally brought to light. Explicit Content



Anyone who liked the idea of Natalie Walton's Revenge of the Sluts but wanted a more nuanced execution should check out this 2021 contemporary. Those who appreciated the slow-healing of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak should look into this new narrative about reclaiming a voice and bringing horror to the light.


Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: March 16, 2021
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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