The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Mirror Season

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: Hispanic, Plus Size, Pansexual MC, F/f romance mentioned (MC past relationships and a current one by a side character)

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: Contemporary, magical realism, young adult readers

Genre: YA Contemporary (slight Magical Realism)

Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 311

Recommended Age: 15+ (Rape TW, Language, Abstinence Discussion, Bullying, Romance, Sex)

Explanation of CWs: Rape is heavily discussed and it’s something the MC and the love interest experience. There is slight language, Abstinence is also talked about, and there is heavy bullying. There is also 1 consensual sex scene and a few mentions to consensual sex.

Synopsis: When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season…

Graciela Cristales’s whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

Review: I really liked this book, even though it took a lot out of me to read it. The book heavily discusses rape and consent and abstinence, which are always touchy subjects to me. I thought the author did well to craft a story like I hadn’t read since Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The world building was well done, the characters were well developed, and the plot was heartbreaking. Furthermore, I loved how the author talked about sexual assaults on men and what they go through and I loved how well the author wrote a male character that does typically “feminine” things like crocheting or sewing. I also read this book in one setting, because the book demanded it of me, but I heavily advise if you’re wanting to read this and are touchy on these topics as well, please take your time. Also, because this is a McLemore book, there is a bit of magical realism in it and the writing is very poetry like.

The only thing I didn’t like as much about the book is that the format was a bit hard to know if I was in the then or now, but I think that was on purpose and if so it served it’s purpose.

Verdict: It’s really good! Highly recommend.