Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Blue Mirror

The Blue Mirror by Kathe Koja

So my sister bought some discount books for a dollar each at Books-A-Million the other day, and one of them was The Blue Mirror.

Here is the book's synopsis: Some guys are more than bad news.  Sixteen-year-old Maggy's life consists of trying to be invisible at school, taking care of her alcoholic mother, and spending all the time she can at the Blue Mirror, a downtown cafe. She can lose herself there for hours with a cappuccino and her sketchbook, in which she creates a paper world she calls "The Blue Mirror." But everything changes when she meets Cole, a charismatic runaway. Maggy is intrigued by Cole's risky life on the streets and by the girls who follow him, childlike Jouly and strange Marianne. And when Cole says that he loves her, Maggy comes alive. But as Maggy becomes more entwined with Cole and looks at him with all her heart, she sees something far more dangerous than she may be capable of handling…

In poetic and evocative language, Kathe Koja draws us into the haunting, passionate world of The Blue Mirror.

Ok, so this book starts off kind of like every lonely girl's fantasy. She is having trouble at home, hates school except for art since she loves to draw, and just feels out of place everywhere she goes. So she goes to a cafe called The Blue Mirror, where she is friends with a guy on staff there and she feels like she belongs there. She has a booth by the front window she always sits in to look out the window and uses what she calls her z-ray to seeing the world outside the window. She draws what she sees in her sketchbook and calls her sketchbook “The Blue Mirror”. Now this right here is where I got a little thrown off. Why call the sketchbook the same names as the cafe? I think this story might have gone a better way if the cafe was called something else, and she called the sketchbook The Blue Mirror because the glass had a blue hue to it to keep out sun rays or what have you, and looking through the window the saw a world that mirrored our own. It's just how she made it in the book, it just kind of seems cliché to me.

Anyway, in the opening of this book, she sees a cute guy hanging out outside that was brought to her attention by a scene she saw when she first walked into the cafe. She thinks he is just amazing and rushes to draw him but he and his friends disappear before she can. This leads the story on to her coming back the next day to see him, sees him walking by with his friends, they come into the cafe and sit down with her. Here she learns they are homeless teens on the street, which in turn turns into a whole homeless community in the downtown area that this girl hangs out. She gets swept up by the attention her new guy friend is giving her and these leads her into a roller coaster of events she does and doesn't want to happen. In the end she is able to get away from Mr. Hunk by showing him who he really is and how everyone views him as.

Now this story is still very confusing to me because it is never really revealed who the guy is. He seems to be a normal guy who is homeless on the street just looking for the next girl he can use, but he also seems to have supernatural powers. But supernatural powers aren't really discussed in the book, she just kept focusing on how he held a sort of lusty power over her, but that made me think more of teen cravings than supernatural powers. So I'm not sure if the author meant for him to be supernatural or what. Another thing that made me wonder about the supernatural part is a lipstick he gives to all the girls he likes. It stains their lips blue, and it stays for a long time and has to wear off if you are with him and use it long enough. It just doesn't make sense.

I think this story has some good bones, but I feel like it was rushed and not thought out completely. The author is award winning for some young adult novels, so maybe I need to try reading some other ones before I decide completely if this author is not for me. Right now, it's standing at a no. But I'll try another book by her. Maybe this was just a one off.

So on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest I give this book a 4. It has some strong bones, but it just fizzled out in the middle and end of the book. Another reason for the 4 rating is I hated how the dialog was written. It just did not flow well and I had to sometimes pause to figure out who was speaking. That's not something I want in a book. I want smooth reading to keep me in the moment. So yeah, like I said, strong bones, not enough meat. I would say if you want to read this story, go to the library, or try to get it super cheap second hand or at Books-A-Million if they have it at yours for a dollar. I think you will feel cheated if you spend the 7 dollars it originally cost. Unless you are a fan of the author then you may feel differently. Both my sister and I felt that the plot was good but the story was seriously lacking. But I think I may try reading the author's novels Buddha Boy or straydog. I hear they both are good. So we'll see.

Writing away,

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