REVIEW: The Mirror Season


The Mirror Season
by Anna-Marie McLemore
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Released on March 16th, 2021
YOUNG ADULT FICTION—Fantasy > Magical Realism, Contemporary, Retellings > The Snow Queen

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Representation: Pansexual, Lesbian, Queer, mlm relationship(s), flf relationship(s), Mexican, Latinx, Gay

Trigger/Content Warning(s): Ableism, Blood, Body Shaming, Bullying, Drugging, Emesis, Panphobia, PTSD, Racism, Sexual assault (on-page/major theme), Slut Shaming, Trauma, Victim Blaming/Shaming, Violence

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.



I picked up this book based on Destiny’s (MyHoneyReads) recommendation, and as I always trust their opinion, I knew I wouldn’t be let down or disappointed. However, what I did not expect was to be completely destroyed by this book, while learning what it’s like to love reading again.

Writing Style –

Anna-Marie McLemore writes in such a flowery, almost poetic way. Their writing style is addicting and intoxicating. Once you get a taste of it, you won’t want anything else. I was completely pulled into their book, and I was not released until after I’d finished reading. That’s rare for me with books nowadays. It takes me a lot longer to fall into a story, but McLemore ensured that I’d be pulled in from the first page.

Characters –

McLemore wrote messy characters. They wrote them to be imperfect, and splintered, and prosperous. Ciela was a character I really empathized and felt for. Her entire story, all of her coping mechanisms, they all felt familiar to me–though under very different circumstances. She was written in such a way that you almost felt as though you were standing in her shoes, seeing through her eyes, feeling her exact emotions. It was scary realistic in that way, and I adored every second of it.

Meanwhile, Lock’s character was so different. McLemore handled toxic masculinity through his character, and they also pushed for that same messiness, that same splintering and imperfection. They made Lock be brittle but strong, and that’s something we don’t see often portrayed in Young Adult books. Either a side character is one or the other, or neither at all. But Lock’s character was both, and I loved seeing it on the pages.

Romance –

As I’m demiromantic, I’m probably one of the last people who should be commenting on the romantic aspects of a book. But for this one, it was like the relationship came alive on the pages. There were the ups and downs, there were the almost honeymoon-like phases. It was written in such a careful and attentive way that I yearned for more once it was finished at the end of the book.

Plot –

There were a few unexpected aspects to the plot that I hadn’t seen coming. A particular scene toward the end of the book came across a bit strange to me, in that it almost popped up out of nowhere. But for the rest of the book, I loved the plot that was given.

Magic –

This book came across as magical realism, and it was just that. This was a retelling of the Snow Queen, a story I’d never heard of prior to this. But one thing that stuck out to me was Ciela’s ability to tell what type of pan or pastry someone would want just by looking at them. The beauty of that magic was clear and outspoken on the pages. But when it got to the glass that consistently appeared throughout the book, I was a bit confused. It seemed like a coping mechanism for Ciela, but at the same time, there was no real explanation to it, and I felt a bit disappointed by that.

Overall –

This book was everything I could’ve asked for. There were some flaws to it, but the good parts outweighed those entirely. I am definitely a fan of Anna-Marie McLemore’s after reading The Mirror Season, and I fully plan on reading the rest of their books after this. For that, I rate this book 4.75 stars.

Separators (1)

DELETEAnna-Marie McLemore (they/them) was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of The Red Shoes based on true medieval events, is forthcoming in January 2020.


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