(20/4/2017) Book Review: Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin READY TO GO

Frances Leventhal’s brother Daniel has committed suicide at the exclusive Pettengill School. But there is more to his death than meets the eye…

I hadn’t intended to reread this, but I came across it when I was going through old books to give away, and thought that it was short enough to reread before listing it on readitswapit.com.

I remember the first time I read it, I was so enthralled with the twist, and that I just did not see the ending coming. The whole book turned out to be about something completely different than I thought, but that wasn’t a bad thing.

Black Mirror follows Frances as she tries to find her way in school without the presence of her slightly older but still in the same year as her brother, Daniel, who killed himself. She tries to get involved with the friends he left behind, and the charitable organisation taking America by storm with its scholarships and generous donations. But as she weedles her way in, not always to the warmest of welcomes, she soon finds it’s not all as it seems, and is in fact a front for something else entirely.

I enjoyed this again the second time round, though not as much as the first – I suppose knowing the end does take some of the enjoyment away. I actually found a review I’d written of when I first read it, and I raved about it, and I can see why, but it didn’t hold up the second time around.

Mainly, I loved how Frances, the protagonist, was half Japanese, as I’ve found that when trying to read more diverse books, Japanese characters are still hard to come by, especially at the time when I first read this book a few years ago. There was also the inclusion of Andy, who Frances referred to as ‘retarded’ for most of the book. There was no discrimination against Andy, and he’s the one who helps Frances figure everything out. But it felt uncomfortable reading her describe him in a way which I think we all feel is politically incorrect.

On the other hand, some of the dialogue was jarring, especially Frances’ own thoughts. There was a lot of ‘obviously…’ and ‘of course…’ and it’s only little things but she would follow these with statements which were not at all obvious to me as the reader. It was just a little grating to read and constantly think ‘have I missed something?’

Other than that though, I really enjoyed it, even a second time around.

Katie

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