Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevigne
|Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevigne|
|Reviewer: Stephen Leach|
|Summary: A dark and twisty debut from Cara Delevigne – not quite as complex or hard-hitting as it wants to be, but a dark and twisty tale with enjoyable characters.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 368||Date: October 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
If the news that Cara Delevigne had written her first novel (how did you miss it? Were you living under a rock?), all about a group of teens who go looking for their friend who disappeared, makes you roll your eyes and say well, that sounds a bit like Paper Towns , don't worry: you're not alone (seriously, spend thirty seconds on Goodreads). It's a pretty lazy write-off, though, so I was curious to read this to see what could be said about it.
For one thing, it's completely different in tone. Paper Towns is a fundamentally light and broadly uplifting book (and film) about unrealistic expectations and the danger of assumption. Mirror, Mirror is nothing like that. This is dark, man, dark – the plot practically screams it: Red, Naima, Leo, and Rose are all social misfits who find common cause with their band Mirror, Mirror. After Naima dies in mysterious circumstances, Red decides to try to uncover what led to her death, and who or what may have been responsible.
Maybe there needs to be a new subgenre about characters who are beautifully broken – actually, maybe there already is, it seems a pretty popular theme in YA right now – characters in emotional torment who turn to drink and drugs and partying to numb their pain. Forget Paper Towns, Skins seems a more accurate comparison. It seems almost absurd to even call the main characters misfits – they're in a band so popular everyone in the school wants to join it – but despite the plot not hooking me, I quite liked all of the four main characters. Red's the narrator, the others secondary, and Naima feels as real as the others even though we don't see her as much as them. There's lots of flashes of potential here.
Mirror, Mirror does feel shaky in places, though: mainly, it struggles to make the jump from being YA that's only really for teenagers to being YA that's accessible to everyone. I think Delevigne has got a good voice, but needs to spend a lot more time developing it. This still feels like a first draft in a lot of ways, but that's to be expected from a debut. That, along with the a-little-too-predictable ending, is the reason I can't give it higher than two stars.
The thing is, though – and I really didn't want to do this, but here goes – alarm bells started to ring when I saw another person's name on the cover. Google tells me they co-wrote it, which make me suspect she simply came up with an idea for the story and Rowan Coleman wrote it out into a book. I don't know whether this is the case, but it does explain the sense I got that the ideas in the story hadn't been developed fully. If Cara Delevigne did write this, though, I don't think this should be taken as incontrovertible proof that she should stick to modelling. I'd be interested to see what she does next.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevigne at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevigne at Amazon.com.
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