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The Mirror Season

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An unforgettable story of trauma and healing, told in achingly beautiful prose with great tenderness and care. --#1 New York Times-bestselling author Karen M. McManus

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.

311 pages, Hardcover

First published March 16, 2021

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About the author

Anna-Marie McLemore

28 books3,116 followers
Anna-Marie McLemore writes stories as queer, Latine, and nonbinary as they are. They are the author of William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist The Weight of Feathers; Wild Beauty; Blanca & Roja, one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time; Indie Next List title Dark and Deepest Red; Lakelore, an NECBA Windows & Mirrors title; and National Book Award longlist selections When the Moon Was Ours, which was also a Stonewall Honor Book; The Mirror Season; and Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix. Venom & Vow, co-authored with Elliott McLemore, is out in May 2023 from Feiwel & Friends, and their adult debut The Influencers is forthcoming from Dial Press in 2024.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,271 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,474 reviews19.2k followers
August 19, 2021
This was a really hard book to read at times, but wow am I so glad that I stuck with it. Going into this one, I was really interested in the premise, but I didn't know if I would enjoy it because I have really struggled with McLemore's flowery writing style in the past. Luckily I am very happy to report that I absolutely LOVED the writing this time around and I actually ended up reading this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. With that being said, this wasn't an easy read. This book deals very heavily with sexual assault and even features depictions of it on page, so please tread with caution if that is something that you are sensitive to. But overall, I really enjoyed this and am definitely excited to try reading more from McLemore in the future!

CW: sexual assault, ptsd, homophobia
June 8, 2022

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THE MIRROR SEASON was one of my Pride Month picks (the heroine is pansexual), but I didn't know much about it except that it was a loose retelling of The Snow Queen, which is one of my favorite faerie tales of all time. It is that, but it is also so much more. The premise revolves around the heroine, Ciela, realizing that she and the new boy, Lock, were both sexually assaulted at the same party. The culprits are some of the most powerful kids in their private school, whereas she and Lock are incredibly low on the tier. The assault leaves its mark on them, inside and out. Ciela finds that she has lost her gift to predict the pastries people want at her family's pasteleria, and Lock has lost his quiet gentleness, and has instead become a fount of anger.

I don't want to say too much about this book because ~spoilers~, but I basically devoured it in a sitting. Some of this author's other works were too fluffy/light for me to pick up, but this is the best kind of hurt/comfort romance that has two people taking solace in one another while trying to move on from past trauma. The relationship between Ciela and Lock had so much depth, and even though third-act breakups usually make me roll my eyes, this one actually made sense.

I could go on and on about the visuals-- the way faerie tales are used as a motif to express danger and trauma in safe, childlike mode expression; the birds that symbolize happiness and freedom; the use of ice and glass to represent freezing over trauma and shutting down emotionally. I loved the focus on food as a point of comfort, and the love that Ciela and Lock both had with their families. I also liked that healing was a central part of this book's storyline, and how the author represented healing not as a linear path but one that moves you forward and backward, sometimes not equally.

I don't normally read the author's notes at the end, but I recommend reading this one. They wrote this story from their own experience as a survivor, including an incident that mirrors that of the characters in this book. It's a beautiful, heartbreaking story with a happy, hopeful ending. Picture SPEAK or I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER, but way more lyrical and intense.

4.5 to 5 stars
Profile Image for Maëlys.
277 reviews273 followers
June 25, 2021
☆ 5 / 5 ☆

“Every moment of our life, it goes with us. It lives forever. And a lot of those moments you don’t have much say over. So the ones you do, you’ve got to do everything with them. So that what lives forever is something you want to live with.”

This book is stunning and raw and sheds light on rape culture, the aftermath of sexual assault and the survival that comes with it. While heartbreaking it is more than that because there is so much love and hope in it, and finding magic in life again. I hope it finds all the people who might need it. This is a deeply personal book too and I’m begging everyone to also read the author’s note.

Ciela’s world comes crashing down one night when she and a boy she doesn’t know get assaulted at the same time in rooms mirroring each other. She loses her bisabuela’s gift: the ability to tell what exact kind of pan dulce someone will need, and the world around her turns into shattered mirrors.

“I hope he hasn’t put all this together, this thing we have in common that he can’t remember and I can’t forget.”

Ciela is convinced that what happened, especially where it concerns Lock, is her fault and the guilt of it weighs on her. We slowly unwrap and discover the many layers of that guilt and what led her to believe that she was responsible. The starting premise was never uncomplicated or lacking but as the story progresses Anna-Marie McLemore gives it even more depth and explores more angles and perspectives.

When Lock comes back into Ciela’s life he doesn’t remember her but she can’t get him out of her mind. Their dynamic shifts a lot throughout the whole book but at its beginning Ciela knows his trauma and events he is not even aware of. This adds to her guilt and she is in an ongoing battle between knowing he should know what happened and not wanting to shatter his world even more.

“We cannot keep each other together. Neither of us can do that for the other. It’s our own work. But we help each other keep track of the pieces. We make sure nothing gets lost.”

Their budding friendship and relationship was really sweet though and while they bond over trauma, their relationship is more than that. There is a lot about finding your trust in other people again and opening yourself up in different ways. They take the time to learn about each other and discover their sanctuaries. It’s a slow buildup of trust and a very deep understanding of how the things that have happened to them can be navigated.

Together and separately we can see them as real people who exist beyond that night. Their storylines aren’t limited to it and we get to see them in a lot of different settings and contexts. I think it’s a very important point and is definitely emphasised by Ciela and Lock reclaiming bits and pieces of who they are throughout the book.

“They counted on any girl—especially a pretty-enough queer brown one—doing whatever they asked in exchange for their favor. Bearing anything, enduring anything, excusing anything. They wrote their assumptions into the curves and colors of my body.”

This is especially true of Ciela who is trying to get her magical gift back, but who’s also had the love and confidence she had for herself ripped away. Putting time and effort in her physical appearance was something she took a lot of pride in and that her family has also encouraged, but she can’t bring herself to do it anymore.

This is not only an exploration of what the trauma has taken from her but also showcases the commodification and hypersexualisation of brown and queer bodies. It is very apparent that the people involved during that night looked at her differently because of the colour of her skin, because of her curves and her demeanour. They had already taken that consent as guaranteed because in their eyes an out pansexual brown girl could never say no.

“Months ago, I didn’t cry, and I didn’t scream, because I thought if I started crying or screaming I’d never stop. But now I don’t care if I scream forever. If I scream forever, they will have to hear me forever.”

Anna-Marie McLemore also doesn't hesitate to highlight the power dynamics pre-existent to that night and how that continues to play a role in the choices Ciela and Lock make. No one would pick to listen to her voice as a brown queer girl against her white and rich classmates. Lock also holds no power there when they’re both poor against people who have their names written on the town’s buildings.

Lock’s situation also comes with the stigma and misconception that boys don’t get raped, that they have the power to stop things or that the way things happened to him simply don’t count.

Ciela and Lock are still both getting through that trauma but together they also find their voices. They share their stories with each other first and use that as a building block moving forward, but telling others and speaking up is not a straightforward path and there is no schedule to it. I think it struck the balance of showing there will be people to listen without shaming silence.

“Yes,” I say, and when I say it I am not afraid, of him or myself. This close to him, my heart is not scar tissue around a sliver of glass. It’s a living thing, hot and luminous.”

One of my favourite parts of the story was Ciela’s magic and how its strength paralleled her mindset and healing. Her gift leaves her but as she slowly starts helping out and standing up for Lock, and most importantly for herself, it comes back to her. As she lets go of the weight of a responsibility that is not hers, as she rediscovers the things she loves and enjoys and reclaims all the parts of herself she thought were lost, her powers bloom once again.

I also loved Ciela’s relationship with Jess, her ex and now best friend. Ciela ends up isolating herself from her family and friends by fear of being looked at differently, but once she tells her story to Jess she is met with nothing of the sort. It was just so important to see that she had a good support system to help her through and to see a strong and healthy friendship bring a little more light to her life.

Throughout this book, Anna-Marie McLemore refenres the fairytale of The Snow Queen and the story reflects itself in the shards of mirror warping the characters’ vision of the world but also in their love helping each other putting back the pieces together. It's this love, and care, and hope that stays with you throughout the whole story, and it took my breath away.


Buddy read with Melanie
Profile Image for podczytany.
149 reviews1,021 followers
June 13, 2022
Na wstępie chcę podkreślić, że jest to książka poważna, o przerażających problemach, które niestety zapewne mają miejsce każdego dnia. Jestem tego świadomy i moja opinia jaka by nie była nie ma zamiaru umniejszać przesłaniu tej książki.

Niestety jednak po prostu mi się ona nie podobała. Elementy metafizyczne(?), realizmu magicznego to prawdopodobnie to co najbardziej odrzucało mnie od tej historii. Zupełnie nie podobał mi się motyw odłamków szkła. Również ten dotyczący wszystkich słodyczy, ciastek, ogólnie wypieków nie przypadł mi do gustu. Masa hiszpańskich nazw na te wszelkiego rodzaju wybory po prostu mnie męczyła i odrywała od historii. Sprawa znikających drzew wydaje mi się absurdalna i nie wyobrażam sobie jakby miało to wyglądać… Dodatkowo nie wnosi ona za wiele do historii… Miałem wrażenie, że było to poruszane na wielu stronach tylko po to, żeby na koniec podsumować to jednym zdaniem, które w mojej opinii było słabą przenośnią.

Podsumowałbym to tak: historia i jej przesłanie szalenie istotna, uważam, że powinno się o tym mówić, jednakże sposób w jaki całość została przekazana po prostu do mnie nie trafia. Wszelkiego rodzaju występujące tutaj zabiegi językowe, metafory i ten „realizm magiczny” nie były dla mnie.

Ocena: 2,0.
Profile Image for marta (sezon literacki).
242 reviews1,160 followers
January 2, 2023
Bardzo ważna książka, która oddaje głos osobom, które boją się mówić o doświadczonej krzywdzie. Bo nikt im nie uwierzy, bo będą musiały przeżywać tę traumę na nowo, bo... no właśnie. To równocześnie opowieść o Królowej Śniegu z piękną metaforą, w której w sercu - zamiast odłamka lodu - tkwi odłamek lustra. Trzeba tylko pamiętać, że cała ta historia to wielki, krzyczący trigger warning dotyczący przemocy seksualnej.
Profile Image for Not My High.
224 reviews577 followers
May 26, 2022
Mój patronat!

Jedna z najtrudniejszych i najważniejszych książek, jakie czytałam.

TW przemoc seksualna, zastraszanie (szantażowanie ofiary), trauma, opisy scen gwałtu, podanie narkotyków, queerfobia, rasizm, seksualizacja
Profile Image for bookhaus.
125 reviews1,881 followers
June 17, 2022
wow. książka mega wciągająca i mocna:/
Profile Image for book.olandia.
133 reviews1,533 followers
December 27, 2022
Daje 4.4🫶🏻 Ta książka jest piękna (jeśli w ogóle można ją tak nazwać), unikatowa, a przede wszystkim bolesna. Ciężko mi będzie napisać recenzje, aby nie pominąć żadnej rzeczy, którą chciałabym Wam przekazać😭
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,427 reviews8,337 followers
March 21, 2021
Loved the messages in this book even though I did not feel enamored with the writing style. In The Mirror Season, Anna-Marie McLemore writes about two young adults who were sexually assaulted at the same party (so big trigger warning for graphic depiction of sexual assault in the book as well as mentions of it in this review). Ciela, our protagonist, recalls the assault whereas Lock, the new boy at her high school, does not. The story follows Ciela as she befriends Lock and forms an intimate relationship with him, all while fighting off continued harassment from their shared rapists as well as feelings of guilt and anxiety from that one awful night.

I appreciated McLemore’s emphasis on the importance of consent. I also felt that they did an excellent job of portraying the emotions that accompany a sexual assault: the self-doubt and self-gaslighting, the guilt and shame, the confusion and the sense of there being no control. McLemore includes spot-on commentary about race and colorism (e.g., brown girls get treated much worse than white girls), class, and the power of friendship. The ending of the novel feels hopeful without sugarcoating the pain that follows trauma.

I just didn’t love the writing style in this book – it felt a bit heavy at times. A brief example includes when Celia has a conversation with her best friend Jess and McLemore writes “Jess sighs, like she’s summoning her patience.” I feel that McLemore could have just written “Jess sighs” to get the point across. These little additional phrases or descriptors that occurred throughout the book distracted me from the story and its characters. Though I felt the book a bit over-written, I still feel grateful for McLemore for addressing such an important issue, for drawing from their own experience, and for incorporating thoughtful commentary related to identities that are often marginalized and underrepresented in fiction.
Profile Image for lavenderews.
476 reviews678 followers
May 31, 2022
Ta książka zostawia po sobie pustkę w sercu i łzy w oczach.
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews961 followers
July 4, 2021

The Mirror Season is a magical realistic book (that is, a contemporary retelling of the Snow Queen) that follows Graciela Cristales after the events at a party she went to at the beginning of the summer, and is told from her perspective. Ultimately, The Mirror Season is a story about healing and growth after severely traumatic events that the characters experience, and how they learn to bounce back from them.

Initially, I was a little hesitant to read this book considering the sensitive subject matter that it regards, but as I got really into the story, I found that it was incredibly compelling and easy to read, because even though there are some dark moments, by the end, you really find yourself rooting for the characters.

Graciela, mostly referred to as ‘Ciela’, is the main character - a queer, Mexican girl who lost her ability to tell what type of pan dulce a person will want before they even know it - a gift passed down to her by her great-grandmother - after being assaulted at a party. Most of the dialogue, in the beginning, doesn’t even involve other people - it’s just Ciela narrating things in her head.

However, as the book progresses, so does Ciela. She learns to grow out of her shell, and comes closer to the person who she was before that fateful night. It’s clear that Ciela is compassionate, independent, and takes responsibility for her actions, which only makes her story all the more compelling to the reader.

Speaking of progression, this book is a character-driven novel. The pacing of the book ultimately reflects how the characters are doing, and how they grow as people, for the better or worse. The book begins with Ciela taking Lock to the hospital, directly after the events of the party. It’s there that she touches a mirrored rose, which shatters, a fragment of which buries itself deep into her, turning her as cold and sharp as glass. The summer passes, and Ciela begins the new school year. It’s there that she meets Lock again, a painful reminder of that night, but also poses an opportunity to regain her talent the more she gets to know him and help him out. Things seem to be going swimmingly between the two and Ciela completely regains her gift until the truth of what happened at the party comes out, and they decide to avoid each other. Things start winding down until the night festival of the swallows, in which Ciela and Lock finally confront the kids who perpetrated their assault at the party. The book closes with Lock and Ciela deciding to report what happened.

An event that took place in the story and was incredibly important to the growth of the characters was probably when Lock and Ciela stood up to the other kids in the forest. I can’t say much to avoid spoilers, but I will say this: by standing up to the kids that had caused both of them so much pain, Lock and Ciela were able to overcome the fear and control that they had over them, and it really made things take a turn for the better. I doubt the story would have ended as it did without this specific scene.

Apart from all that, there are also the interpersonal relationships that this book brings to the table, and how they grow and change over the course of the story. In particular, trust comes up a lot when these relationships are present. For one, there’s the relationship between Ciela, and her best friend, Jess. These two used to be in a romantic relationship before deciding to pursue a platonic one instead, and as a result, are really close. That being said, at the beginning of the novel, Ciela has a lot of difficulty talking to other people about what happened and remains closed off from everyone, keeping her feelings locked inside. The book progresses, and Ciela finally tells her what really happened - all because she trusted Jess enough to do so, seeing as to how she’s been standing by her side the whole time.

Something that really needs to be said about The Mirror Season is just how beautiful the prose is. Anna-Marie McLemore really knows how to write and they aren’t afraid to show you that. There’s figurative language sprinkled in everywhere, and it just makes the reading experience all the more impactful. Everything in this book is so incredibly vivid and clear, it’s like you’re actually transported there, into the book, alongside the characters.

Apart from everything that I've mentioned so far, there are also some beautiful passages that were included in the book regarding Ciela's heritage/culture and how it impacts how she is treated by others, as well as her sexuality, which is often disrespected by her peers. I found it interesting and somewhat eye-opening to read about, and I think that there are many readers who will be able to personally relate to and heal from McLemore's words.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to others, keeping in mind the content of this book. It’s a book that really needs to be read, not just for the beautiful prose and captivatingly realistic characters, but also because it brings up a lot of important topics that aren’t necessarily spoken about as much as they should, like how the justice system often fails people of color. I'm so glad I read this book, and honestly wish I could give Lock and Ciela a hug for all they've been through.
Profile Image for geekyfangirlstuff.
118 reviews411 followers
June 19, 2022
myślę, że gwiazdki i jakiekolwiek oceny nie oddadzą prawdziwej wartości tej opowieści

jest ciężka,
jest cholernie ciężka, ale i cholernie ważna

tak jak powiedziała Alex w swoim filmiku - osoba autorska wali prosto z mostu, nie owija w bawełnę

i tak…to dotyka, atakuje czytelnika z podwójną siłą, ale i z podwójną siłą na nas wpływa, uświadamia nas

jeśli wiecie, że jesteście gotowi czytać o napaśc!ach $ek$ualnych - proszę, przeczytajcie Sezon Luster
Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books431 followers
February 7, 2022
"If I scream forever, they will have to hear me forever."

CW for sexual assault.

So What’s It About?

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.

What I Thought

I know that many people absolutely love Anna-Marie McLemore’s books, and this is the first of theirs that I have read. I really, really loved some things about this book, but a few others left me less than satisfied. The story’s strongest point is absolutely the relationship between Ciela and Lock - the way they support each other, laugh together, fight back against their perpetrators in silly and serious ways and develop a friendship that blossoms into love. Their relationship is incredibly sweet and a powerful demonstration of survivor solidarity and how transformative it can be.

McLemore also depicts the aftermath of sexual assault quite well, I think, in the way that Ciela pieces together her distorted memories over time and is convinced that keeping it secret is the only way to survive. The perpetrators have an entirely different view of the assault and don’t even think that they did anything wrong, instead believing that they did something friendly that was then maliciously misinterpreted and blown out of proportion.

The author is also keen on expressing that aspects of oppression and identity influence the experience of being victimized and being a survivor. Ciela makes it clear that being brown and curvy makes the perpetrators sexualize her, there is one line where one of the kids says that Ciela is only making a big deal out of what happened because she doesn’t like dick, and Lock expresses how he feels doubly victimized and shameful about his assault because he is a boy and didn’t think that boys got assaulted. Overall, I feel that the exploration of Lock's struggle was given the most care.

The only big possible caveat for the story’s treatment of sexual assault is that Lock and Ciela have sex while Ciela is hiding the truth that she is the one who performed oral sex on him while he was drugged. When he finds this out he is incredibly betrayed and makes it clear that he wouldn’t have had sex with her if he had known this. When we take into consideration the fact that consent has to be informed -meaning that no one is withholding any information that would prevent the other person from consenting - I don’t think it’s wrong to say that this could be interpreted as another huge violation for Lock, even if Ciela didn’t do it maliciously. I think this is a very interesting choice for the book to make, but it just kind of...fizzles when it’s dealing with the ramifications. Lock ends up just needing some time to work through it, Ciela apologizes, and then their relationship resumes by the end of the book. I can’t help but wish that the book had really dug deeper into this. Reader mileage will certainly vary regarding how this is dealt with by the book.

My other main problem is that the fantasy elements here don’t work very well for me. This is a very loose retelling of The Snow Queen - the key thing is that a mirror shard gets in the fairy tale character Kai’s eye just as it gets in Lock’s eye in this book, and it magnifies people’s bad features and doesn’t show their good ones. I think this parallels how Ciela filters the world after the assault, blaming herself and holding all kinds of cognitive distortions. In execution, the book just features scene after scene of mirror shards appearing, Ciela hiding them in her closet and describing her heart being embedded with shards. I know that hiding the mirror shards also represents hiding the story of the assault, but the whole thing just falls a little bit flat and repetitive for me. The one bit that really worked for me was the conclusion when the mirrors shows the perpetrators who they really are - Ciela thinks that she has to hide the mirrors, but they are actually the things that set her and Lock free.

I liked the other bit of magic in the story - Ciela is able to tell what kind of pan dulce bakery customers need to help them with whatever they’re struggling with, and this magic is influenced by how she stands up for herself in other areas of her life. My unreasonable quibble with this magic, though, is that lots of lines are spent rattling off the names of pan dulce without really describing them. This is just more of a missed opportunity than anything, I think, when I compare it to Robin McKinley’s Sunshine and how dedicated McKinley was to describing baked goods in mouth-watering detail!!!

Overall, I am very grateful for McLemore's courage in telling a story of survivorship that is clearly very close to their heart and their own experience of trauma. That is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and I think the world is better for it every time a survivor gives voice to their experience.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Maisha  Farzana (on hiatus).
549 reviews209 followers
November 20, 2022
》I'm standing in front of the mirror, staring at my reflection and I wonder - what did I just read...

"This thing we have in common that he can’t remember and I can’t forget."

"By fighting back, I put a crack in how their world worked. I took the gleam off the honors they bestowed.
And they still hate me for it."

The prose is so beautiful that it hurts to read...
The story is so haunting, so achingly real that it's hard to believe....

It's about a night, so horrific, that you can't forget it no matter how much you try.

"No" is a powerful word and we know it, don't we? So why do we sometimes play it off like it's only two letters that doesn't mean anything?

A tale so complex, so spell-binding, so disturbing that it makes you forget your identity. It makes you question everything you have ever known.

A terrible night, some wrong choices, a trauma that may last for more than a lifetime - doesn't define someone, does it? Can it? Should it?

"The mirrored glass has taken enough. It’s turned me into a girl who’s always searching the world for the glint of silver."

"The Mirror Season" is not a story of two teenagers who were both sexually assaulted at the same party. It's about how they survived. How they fought back. The book is about how they learned to trust again...

Clearly Anna-Marie McLemore does have a way with words. I never imagined imagined someone could reshape the fairy tale of The Snow Queen in such manner. But they have done it and perfectly so. The book deals with some very very sensitive subjects. But all of these have been handled with so much care and tenderness that I can't help but declare this book a masterpiece in its own unique way.....

"Every moment of our life, it goes with us. It lives forever. And a lot of those moments you don't have much say over. So the ones you do, you've got to do everything with them. So that what lives forever is something you want to live with.”

Now that I look back to my review, I see it scattered around like shards of a broken mirror. Sorry but I can't fix it. Maybe, some things doesn't need to be fixed.....
Profile Image for pageofbookss.
43 reviews1 follower
March 17, 2023
To jest ta jedna z historii co zostanie z tobą na długo i jakikolwiek komentarz jest zbędny tutaj…..
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,083 reviews17.3k followers
Shelved as 'on-my-shelf'
February 13, 2022
Loss of magic as a metaphor for violation is really fascinating and I'm excited to finally read this.
Profile Image for Kasia.
158 reviews73 followers
June 18, 2022
Nie umiem opisać tego, co czułam podczas czytania. Była to trudna lektura, pełna złości i bezsilności.
Profile Image for Renee Godding.
584 reviews559 followers
December 24, 2021
This book... This book shattered me like a dropped piece of mirrored glass, and then gave me the hope and the reminder that broken things will always be able to catch the light...

Imbued with elements of magical realism and written in their signature lyrical voice, McLemore tells the story of a boy and a girl who are sexually assaulted at the same party. They develop a cautious friendship and navigate together through the healing-journey that follows their ordeal. Filled with pain as well as love, their journey takes them through her family's magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, anatomically correct hand-puppets and a ceiling filled with condom-balloons…

If I were to critique this book on a technical level it would be a very short review: take any of the positive things I said in my reviews on AM’s previous books and apply them to this one. All are true: stunning lyrical writing, a raw and unflinching portrayal of hard hitting topic combined with magical elements that somehow feel “more real that reality”, and deep and complex protagonists will stay with you for a long time…
When it comes to structure, pacing, motifs and metaphors, and tone; I genuinely have nothing to add. As a book, it’s “technically perfect”, as far as I can tell.

That brings me to the more important part however: The Mirror Season was clearly more than just a book to AM themselves. They reveal as much in their epilogue, but it’s also evident through every word on these pages. This book is a journey of healing, a triumph of survival and a powerful take back of control that was crudely stripped away. It’s a reminder that love cannot “fix” you, but you do have the power to fix yourself, and loved ones can support you, and make that battle easier to bear.
I won’t pretend to relate or fully comprehend AM’s experiences, but I truly hope this book has brought them healing. What I can say is that it has brought a little bit of healing to me. AM passed that little shard of reflective glass on, and refracted its light out into the world. Regardless of the kind, the age or the depth of the trauma you may have: I hope that light finds you too.
Profile Image for jut.
472 reviews166 followers
May 5, 2021
if i could define this book with one word, it would be: painful.

Profile Image for Aleksandra.
128 reviews70 followers
June 23, 2022
Na wstępie zaznaczam, że moja opinia nie ma zamiaru umniejszać historii opisanej w książce, bo nie podlega dyskusji, że temat napaści seksualnej jest rozdzierająco trudny i istotny. Niemniej jednak mam wrażenie, że często dzieje się tak, że istota tematu przesłania wszystko inne – warsztat na przykład, a ja nie umiem pominąć niedociągnięć, być może dlatego, że przeczytałam dużo non-fiction na podobne tematy, a być może dlatego, że w książkach szukam czegoś więcej niż ważny temat.

A szukam dobrego pióra i umiejętnego kreowania bohaterów oraz świata przedstawionego, czego w moim odczuciu tutaj zabrakło, zwłaszcza w kontekście pisarskiego warsztatu. To w ogóle chyba wspólne wielu książkom YA, że mają tendencję do nadużywania kwiecistych opisów i budowania patetycznych, pretensjonalnych zdań. Tutaj to wszystko znalazłam, odbijając się jednocześnie o wyjątkowo proste, surowe momenty. Stylistycznie mi to po prostu nie zagrało, podobnie jak wykorzystanie niektórych tropów, które być może doceniłabym w innej historii albo gdyby w tej zostały inaczej napisane. Koniec końców daleka jestem od zachwytów, ale rozumiem, dlaczego innych ta książka zdobywa. Od wystawiania gwiazdek się jednak powstrzymuję, bo nawet nie wiem, jak miałabym zdecydować się na konkretną ocenę.
Profile Image for bartek.
43 reviews55 followers
October 9, 2022
Jaka to była piękna a tymczasem ważna książka! Czytając ją odczuwałem tak wiele emocji 😩
Zdecydowanie należy do najważniejszych książek w tym roku.

To opowieść o traumie, jaką pozostawia po sobie napasc seksualna. Do tego książka po części jest oparta na przeżyciach autorki. Uważam, że jest ona bardzo potrzebna w naszym świecie. Polecam, aczkolwiek przed czytaniem zapoznajcie się z trigger warnings, a także nie sięgajcie po nią, jeżeli nie jesteście na nią gotowi.

Styl pisania autorki jest przecudowny, a hiszpańskie wstawki — uwielbiam!
Profile Image for katie ❀.
120 reviews471 followers
January 17, 2021
i am speechless. and crying :')


the high-pitched noise you hear in the distance is most probably me screaming about how much i need this book <3
Profile Image for books.of.youth.
56 reviews83 followers
December 27, 2022
Ja nawet nie wiem od czego zacząć swoją opinię. To była bardzo bolesna i przykra historia, taka na którą większość czytelników raczej nie jest gotowa. Wszelkie metafory i porównania z motywem lustra, szkła itd były tak pięknie napisane że na pewno zostaną w mojej głowie na dłużej. Tak samo losy głównych bohaterów.
Profile Image for elise (the petite punk).
388 reviews117 followers
February 14, 2022
Truly at a loss at how to describe my experience of reading The Mirror Season. Admittedly, I had no plans of reading it because I was under the impression that this was a fantasy novel (it's not--it's contemporary fiction magical realism). I'm glad I just couldn't resist the pretty colors of the cover because...well, this was a journey.

The Mirror Season takes everything I love and appreciate in fiction works and compresses it all into one beautifully angry novel. Although this is a story about sexual assault, at its core, it is about everything I could have hoped for and more. Sexual assault, yes, but also anger, autonomy, truth, healing, love, race, sexuality, friendship, and family. This book looks you in the eye, grabs you by the shoulders, and says, Hear me. I exist. And I deserve to be believed.

There is such a wonderful mix of rage and tenderness. You will be built up and broken down again into tiny little shards.

Beautiful. All of it. Theme, writing, characters, metaphors, development--even the cover, which drew me in. 5 shining, sad stars from me.

new favorite book. rtc, after i collect myself.
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