The Mirror Season

Feiwel & Friends. Mar. 2021. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250624123.
Gr 8 Up–In this novel inspired by their own experience, McLemore employs the device of magical realism as smoothly and artistically as protagonist Ciela creates pan dulce in her aunt’s panadería. This first-person narrative opens like a fairy tale, recounting how her great-grandmother passed the gift of matching specific Mexican sweet bread to each client’s needs. This ushers readers into the spring night of Ciela’s junior year when she deposits an unknown white boy at the ER. Both of them were sexually assaulted, something that she cannot think about, much less talk about, so she mentally ascribes her own narrative to avoid splintering. Afterward, she begins to notice the metamorphosis of beautiful things in her life, like flowers and leaves, into glass shards, the largest of which is wedged in her heart. This is also when she realizes that her gift is missing. The story unfolds like a puzzle being slowly pieced together through rich, symbolic descriptions strengthened by equally symbolic Spanish translanguaging. Readers feel the agony of injustices committed on queer brown people, and powerless white people, and will be compelled to read deeply until the book’s end, and then flip back to absorb more details.
VERDICT A masterpiece intertwining painful teen realities involving injustices based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender with trauma and healing within loving, supportive families.

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