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The Looking Glass

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  68 reviews

That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia renamed their favorite fairy tale book, way back when they were just girls themselves. Now, Julia has disappeared—and no one knows if she’s in trouble.

Sylvie is trying to carry on Julia’s impressive legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy, but Julia, ever the star of the show, can’t stay hidde
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by HarperTeen
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April Sounds like it -- there are supposed to be storybook characters who start showing up in the real world.

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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  277 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Kathleen Glasgow
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So poignant, imaginative, poetic, beautifully written and imagine--you will not be able to put this book down. It's drawn comparisons to Melissa Albert's "The Hazel Wood" and rightly so--a modern fable in the big city, a surprise road trip, adorned with fairy tales. If you missed McNally's debut, "Girls in the Moon," go pick that up, too, because she writes the kinds of books that are made for dreamy, rainy afternoons with nothing to do but read, read, read.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Looking Glass
by Janet McNally

4 out of 5 Stars.

I haven't got much to say about this book except that I liked it very much. the story was interesting, the characters were likeable, the chapters were short which are much appreciated nowadays, the plot was easy to follow and I devoured this book in a matter of couple of hours.

The story contains magical elements in it, poetry as well as Stevie Nicks with whom I became obsessed with a couple of years ago.
I loved how the modern world and fairy tale
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book comes out on my birthday and it is the perfect present.

Wispy, dreamlike, warm, and golden. A story about sisters and dance and Fleetwood Mac and fairytales and signs from the universe and random things we may read as signs from the universe.

It is a gentle, sweet, beautifully written daydream of book for those looking to bask in gorgeous language and well-drawn characters.

Don't read this book expecting to buckle up for a wild ride; read it in the grass under the sun, or curled up in bl
Riley Redgate
janet mcnally’s sentences levitate up into my heart and hang there like fireflies
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, edelweiss
This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Going into The Looking Glass, I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect. I knew it featured some of my very favorite things– ballerinas, a road trip, hints of magic, and Fleetwood Mac. However, I didn’t expect the beautiful writing or how much of a hidden gem it would be.

The story follows our protagonist, Sylvie Blake,
Samantha (WLABB)
Sylvie described her sister as "a red giant, blazing scarlet". She looked up to her and idolized her, and then, Julie disappeared. When Julie sent Sylvie her childhood book a year later, Sylvie believed it was a sign she wanted to be found. But, sometimes a girl in trouble doesn't need or want saving.

• Pro: As someone, who has lost a loved one to addiction, I really related to many of the things Sylvie and her family were experiencing. The pain, the anger, the despair -- it was all there.

• Pro:
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
Certain aspects of THE LOOKING GLASS were interesting enough for me to see it through to the end, but ultimately, this just wasn’t for me.
Rachel Strolle
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If MOSQUITOLAND, PAPER TOWNS, and Anna-Marie McLemore's writing had a baby, this would be it. G o r g e o u s
Zoë Maya
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how Janet always to write the stories I long to read, and this book is no exception! A story of fairytales mysteriously popping themselves up into reality. It's a heartfelt adventure twisted into a magic-like adventure of looking for someone loved and gone. It's delightful, wonderful, poetic in ways I aim to write! Now, I'm off to have a Fleetwood Mac binge!
Caleb Roehrig
More later, but this is beautifully written and exceptionally charming, and I can't wait to recommend it to people
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story was sweet and sad, and as eager as I was to finish the book, I didn't want it to end. I did expect a little more ballet in action, but I appreciated the copious amounts of Fleetwood Mac, the road tripping, and the maybe-fairy tale characters appearing throughout.

I actually found the fairy tales more believable than Jack and Sylvie's visit to that camp, but that's a personal bias from my own camp experience.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star
Read my full review here!

I was left with one question and that was why the heck is this book titled 'The Looking Glass?'

I kept waiting for something actually whimsical to happen in this book and it just never happened. It was a letdown.

I disliked how Slyvie was always 'I've got it covered' or 'I know just where to go', none of it felt planned when the author was writing it. Why would they go to a zoo?

Another thing that annoyed me was how all of the sudden this character whom we can only assume
Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forever-books
Much like her ballerina heroine, Janet McNally makes her effervescent writing seem effortless. But there's grit beneath the glitter of this charming road-trip fairytale. Stock up on highlighters: you'll want to underline every perfect sentence.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story based on an intimate bond between two sisters but also the challenge of finding your place in the universe with gorgeous writing and hints of magical realism. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I wish the fairy tale aspect was more prominent because it would've made the otherwise simple plot more interesting.
LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, ebooks
You can see my full review here!

*I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

There was something about this story that was simplistic and charming wrapped up in a very pretty bow. It flowed and weaved together and before you know it, I was at the end. The very abrupt end. Sylvia as the main character was cool. She had her quirks, but she felt real to me. Jack was cool, too. I appreciated that he had his own issues he was dealing with and
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an imaginative, well written story of sisterly love and so much more. I couldn't put it down. Janet McNally has a true command of poetic language!
Luke Reynolds
My favorite books are the ones that take you on journeys. Some are emotional, some transport readers to exciting new worlds, and others take place in a world like the one we inhabit. What's always fascinating is when authors blur the lines between these journeys and create something otherworldly yet steeped in reality, hard-hitting yet sweet. Janet McNally seemed to be going in that direction when the first synopsis for The Looking Glass was released. From ballet to a road trip to find a missing ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, lib18
a really beautiful book, about sisters, and loss, and ballet, and young love, and trying to save someone only to find that they need to save themselves. It dances on the edge of fantasy, but never quite crosses over into the impossible. Lovely.
Laurie Brumbaugh
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
After trying, and failing, to articulate my various thoughts about this book without rambling, I think I’ll keep it simple. This wasn’t the story I thought it was going to be, and, ultimately, it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, thoughtful and imaginative! A must read❤ ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The fact that this has chapters with Fleetwood Mac titles sold me. All in all a good book about a girl trying to find her sister Julia, who disappeared with the help of a boy in an old beat up car.
Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)
Real rating-hmmm...I’d say about 4.25 stars.

I’ll admit that I had semi-low expectations for this book. I forget exactly where and how I found out about it, but I put it on hold at the library for a while, and patiently waited for it to arrive (even though by then, I had forgotten what the book was even about).
Fast forward to when I actually read it, and man, I really enjoyed it! “The Looking Glass” is simultaneously heartwarming and gutwrenching, with beautiful writing and characters with hear
Teenage Reads
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, advance-copy

On the outside, they were a perfect family. A father’s who is a wealthy businessman, a mother who throws the best charity dinners, a son and two daughters, who were both exceptional ballet dancers. The first crack in the family was when the son, Everett, dropped out of college to become a comic book artist. The second when Julia’ addiction to pain medicine hit the spotlight after the accident. The final crack was when Julia left in the middle of the night, never telling her family where she
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As gorgeous as her first book. Beautiful, lyrical writing and a charming spunky story of sisterhood make for a perfect read. Have a highlighter ready to underline all the poetic sentences!
Susan Mesler-Evans
Mar 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish, arcs
NOTE: This book has not yet been released. I was given a free Advance Reading Copy by HarperCollins and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on August 14, 2018. If you would like to send me an ARC, please see this page.

DNF'd at 101 pages.

The main reason I end up not finishing books is because they bore me, and unfortunately, that was the case here. While I didn't find Sylvia to be unlikable, per se, she didn't really interest me, and I didn't know enough about t
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
THE LOOKING GLASS by Janet McNally is a young adult novel set in the highly competitive world of aspiring New York City ballerinas. The book begins on Sylvie’s birthday when she gets a mysterious gift from her sister, Julia, who’s been missing for a year. Believing this is a call for help, Sylvie decides to go in search of her to bring her home to safety. Jack, her unlikely ally and best friend’s older brother, is her chauffeur, and together they set off on a road trip, following what Sylvie bel ...more
Marta Barrales
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-need, favorites
It’s been so long since I read a book this good I could cry. It’s just wonderful. I loved it. It had just the right amount of magic, melancholy and joy.

The story follows Sylvie, she’s a seventeen-year-old girl, rapidly approaching a professional ballet career. Apparently, her life is perfect, but on the inside her heart has been torn ever since her greater-than-life, big sister, Julia skipped town. Nowadays Sylvie navigates life with uncertainty, wondering if the strange things she sees are real
Jessica Vallejos
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
💭 My Thoughts: I saw this book go on pre-reserve on my library app, and snatched it up. When I finally saw it on my shelf, I picked it up right away. I finished it in under three hours! It was sooo good! The writing was beautiful, the fairy tale touches were magical. Honestly, the book feels wispy, almost like a dream as you read it. I loved it. I loved that everything doesn’t wrap up into a perfectly happily ever after at the end because that’s not real life and it felt important to acknowledge ...more
S.M. Parker
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book thinking it would be a great read over my lazy vacation but then it arrived early and I devoured it in one (nearly sleepless) night. The Looking Glass is a contemporary novel infused with magic and poetry and the very badass Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. I was in awe as McNally wove together elements of fairy tale retellings in modern day New York, magical realism and the secret language of sisters forged in childhood. Oh, and there’s a lovely, swoony romance too. This book t ...more
I'm pretty sure that this was my very first magical realism book (crazy, I know!) and I absolutely loved it.

Sylvie Blake's older sister Julia left one year ago without much explanation. Sylvie continues life on. Yes, her heart still aches for Jules, but there isn't much she can do about it, right? One day, when Julia sends Sylvie a book of fairy tales from their childhood, Sylvie is launched into a whole new adventure. With the help of her best friend's brother, his car, and her dog, is there a
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Though her family is not rock and roll royalty, Janet McNally has always liked boys in bands. (She even married one.) She has an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and her stories and poems have been published widely in magazines. She has twice been a fiction fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Janet lives in Buffalo with her husband and three little girls, in a house full of rec ...more