A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Sourcebooks, asking if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing one of their titles on my blog. It was a little out of the blue, but I thought, well, why not? Not sure quite how they found me, but I guess the word 'reviewer' is in my blog profile given I'm a film reviewer. And I figure reviewing a book isn't that different...
So, here goes!
THE EYES IN THE MIRROR by Julia Mayer
When this book arrived, I knew nothing about it, so I read the back cover copy. As soon as I did, I was excited to read the book. It sounded fascinating, the story of two girls who were their reflections. I figured there was a slightly magical element since the blurb talked about the, falling through the mirror into each others' lives. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to its back cover copy. Yes, the premise was intriguing, and interesting, but the execution fell flat for me. The first chapter was slow to get started, bogged down with extensive backstory. The character of Samara didn't come alive for me in the first chapter at all because I felt like the reasons for her being a 'type' were being explained rather than being developed more organically.
Things picked up in the second chapter, and once the two girls met and began engaging with each other, things improved. I just felt there were so many opportunities that were missed. The idea of reflections switching places is intriguing and one that really piqued my imagination, especially once the choices of one girl in the other's life began affecting the other girl.
Overall though, it felt heavy handed. Every point was re-iterated to the point I began feeling like I was being bludgeoned. There are important issues raised in the book, about cutting, teenage sex and pregnancy and emotionally absent parenting. But they felt like issues. These things didn't happen to the characters in a natural, realistic way. They felt foisted upon them, and the scenes where they took place often felt like they were screaming 'issue'.
So while I feel there is an excellent idea in there, I'm not sure this book does it justice.
And the blogfest starts on the 31st! There's still time to sign up. I'd love you to.
I think overwhelming a reader with backstory is a common problem in novels. A delicate balance takes a tremendous amount of practice. I think I would like to hear more from you about the premise of two girls taking on the lives of their mirror reflections. How did it happen? Why those two girls?ReplyDelete
I've read a lot of books like this. A LOT.ReplyDelete
I've WRITTEN books like this, lol. They're either dusty, or have been overhauled.
The premise is fascinating - I've seen it around.